Photo Advisory: Kowall bill combating aquatic invasive species signed into law

LANSING—State Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, and Gov. Rick Snyder (seated) hold Public Act 537 of 2014 at a ceremonial bill signing by the governor on Tuesday. The measure, sponsored by Kowall, is part of a package of bills addressing the problems caused by non-native species to Michigan’s ecosystems.

Note: For a print-quality version of this or other Kowall photos, click the image or select the Photowire link under the Media Center tab, above.

Sen. Mike Kowall comments on State of the State address

LANSING—State Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, offered the following statement Tuesday after Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his 2015 State of the State address:

“We’ve had four years of bold innovation that has given Michigan a solid platform for continued success in 2015. As we look back, I’m proud to say that more than 300,000 private-sector jobs have been created since December 2010 and we lead the nation in new manufacturing jobs.

“I look forward to working tirelessly to make Governor Snyder’s vision of a state government focused on people rather than programs a reality. I’m excited to take the lead developing policy that will make Michigan number one in the nation for connecting, educating and preparing Michiganders for well-paying careers in skilled trades.

“Furthermore, I fully support the plan to combat heroin and opioid use—an issue that is proving to be particularly challenging in my district.

“We’ve heard an aggressive plan that aims to make Michigan an even better place to live, work and raise a family. I am eager to get to work on behalf of the constituents I am proud to serve.”

Sen. Kowall available for comments following State of the State address

Who:
State Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake.

What:
Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

When:
Immediately following the address, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Where:
House Appropriations Room
Third Floor
State Capitol
Lansing, MI

Brief:
Kowall will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor in the address.

Please call Kowall’s office at 1-517-373-1758 prior to 5 p.m. on Jan. 20 to schedule an interview time with the senator.

Audio remarks will be available for broadcast after the address. Click on Audio under the Media Center tab.

Kowall sworn in as 15th District state senator

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Mike Kowall was sworn in as senator of the 15th District for a second term on Wednesday during a ceremony at the state Capitol. Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. administered the oath of office.

Following the swearing-in ceremony, the 98th Legislature convened for its first day of business, and Kowall directed the floor proceedings as the new Senate majority floor leader.

“I expect 2015 and beyond to offer new opportunities for growth in Michigan—as well as new challenges,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “I am excited about meeting my legislative challenges head on in my new role as Senate majority floor leader. I am humbled to have been chosen by my Senate colleagues for this position.”

Kowall was re-elected in November to a second term as senator for the 15th District. On Tuesday Kowall was appointed to serve as vice chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. He also was appointed to the following Senate committees: Government Operations, Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, Michigan Capitol Committee, and Regulatory Reform.

Note: For a print-quality version of this or other Kowall photos, click the image or click Photowire under the Media Center tab, above.

Spinal Column: Looking forward to challenges, opportunities in 2015, beyond

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

With the close of 2014 came the close of the 97th Michigan Legislature. It has been a pleasure working the past four years with my colleagues in the Senate and House, along with the current administration, to effect significant changes that have put the state on the road to recovery. We have witnessed substantial decreases in unemployment while at the same time seeing production and personal income continue to increase.

I expect 2015 and beyond to offer new opportunities for growth in Michigan—as well as new challenges. I am excited about meeting my legislative challenges head on in my new role as Senate majority floor leader. I am humbled to have been chosen by my Senate colleagues for this position.

I look forward to serving Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and the Senate as a whole in this role as I help lead the chamber and set policy.

One of my tasks will continue to be shining the light on the importance of the automobile industry in Michigan. We remain the leading auto-producing state in the U.S., and the domestic auto industry accounts directly and indirectly for one of every ten jobs in the nation.

The health of Michigan’s automotive industry remains vital to the economic health of the state as a whole. Likewise, the success of the industry will always be critical to Michigan’s success.

The continuing significance of the auto industry prompted Sen. Steve Bieda and me to form the Michigan Legislative Automotive Caucus, which Sen. Bieda and I co-chair. The focus of the caucus is to highlight the impact the auto industry has had in shaping our state, its history and its culture as we know it today.

Related to my work on the auto caucus is my number one priority for 2015: a focus on skilled trades and career technical education (CTE). Last year the governor signed a CTE initiative that includes schools, local businesses, public-private partnerships, trade organizations, universities and community colleges working together to make information about career and technical education more accessible to students and families through a new website.

This law will help prepare all students for success and help them meet the skilled workforce needs of a growing economy through hands-on career and technical education.

Some of the jobs that will be in highest demand in Michigan in 2015 will not require an advanced degree but will require job skills that CTE can provide. These positions include truckers, welders and high-tech sales and marketing associates.

Another one of my top priorities is to find better ways to deliver government services to Michiganders. While we have accomplished a great deal over the past four years to bring Michigan back from its decline, we cannot pat ourselves on the back and rest on these accomplishments. Now is the time to focus on good government.

If you have any questions or suggestions for me or my staff regarding the new legislative session or the future of Michigan, please do not hesitate to contact me. You may reach my office through email at OfcMKowall@senate.michigan.gov or by phone at 517-373-1758.

I look forward to hearing from you, and I look forward to serving you as a member of the 98th Legislature.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Senate Majority Floor Leader. He serves the citizens of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.