**Save the Date** Sens. Zorn and Kowall announce June 20 event honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich.Sen. Dale Zorn and Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall have announced that they are sponsoring a Vietnam veteran lapel-pinning ceremony on Monday, June 20 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans served our country with honor, yet they were often forgotten when they returned home,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Senator Kowall and I already hosted two emotional events to give long-overdue recognition to the Vietnam War era veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. I am proud to announce we will be holding another ceremony, and I invite all interested residents and veterans to join us.”

The event will take place at the Vietnam Memorial located in Monument Park, 436 E. Maumee St., in Adrian on Monday, June 20 at 11 a.m.

“It has been an honor throughout my career to work and participate with our vets, especially on the Vietnam Veterans Museum and the Memorial Park projects in Monroe,” Zorn said.

If weather does not permit, the ceremony will take place the same day and time at the Adrian VFW Post 1584 at 726 N. Main St., in Adrian. A light lunch will be held by the post following the ceremony.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “This lapel-pinning ceremony is a way to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

The ceremony is made possible by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. Kowall said the symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant.

“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” Kowall said. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

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Sen. Kowall and guest honor Michigan’s fallen soldiers

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, and retired United States Army Major Oakman Hurd paid tribute in the Senate Thursday to those who gave their lives defending our country.

Hurd was Kowall’s guest for the Michigan Senate’s 22nd Annual Memorial Day Service. Each year, the annual ceremony honors the servicemen and women who fought with bravery to defend our nation’s freedom.

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Kowall, colleagues sponsor autonomous vehicle legislation to increase road safety, strengthen economy

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — A package of bills introduced in the state Senate on Wednesday would update the law on autonomous vehicles to provide safer transportation, better mobility and a stronger economy, said the lead sponsor, Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall.

Senate Bills 995 – 998 would reduce barriers to further research and “real world” testing of autonomous vehicles to move safer technology into the marketplace more quickly.

“Advances in autonomous technology will allow Michigan drivers and their passengers to be safer on the road,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “In addition, a robust and free environment for testing and development will ensure the Michigan economy benefits from this new technology and changes in mobility.”

Kowall sponsored SBs 995 and 996.

SB 995 would allow open operation of autonomous vehicles beyond restricted testing to allow real-world development for all conditions. It would also authorize vehicle platoons and on-demand automated fleet networks for efficiency in delivery and transportation and create the Michigan Council on Future Mobility to keep Michigan at the forefront of mobility developments.

SB 996 would establish critical standards for on-demand vehicle networks to satisfy, including requirements for data collection and crash information that would help companies and transportation researchers evaluate how these networks work and what improvements may be needed.

SB 997, sponsored by Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, would authorize the creation of the American Center for Mobility at the old Willow Run factory site. The center is expected to assume a vital role in research and education on autonomous vehicle technology.

SB 998, sponsored by Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, would extend the liability protection in current law, which shields manufacturers from liability when an unauthorized person attempts to modify autonomous technology, to a licensed mechanic who follows the manufacturer specifications in working on the technology.

Kowall said Michigan’s current autonomous vehicles law, which took effect in March 2014, is out of date.

“The law is becoming more outdated day by day as technology advances and other states seek the new automotive industry for themselves,” Kowall said. “Michigan’s dominance in auto research and development is under attack from several states and countries who desire to supplant our leadership in transportation. We can’t let that happen.

“More importantly, these bills will increase road safety. Ninety-four percent of traffic accidents are caused by human error. Autonomous vehicles will reduce such errors and decrease the number of traffic deaths annually in the U.S.”

Senate Bills 995 – 998 have been referred to the Senate Committee on Economic Development and International Investment.

Kowall responds to news that Google will open a self-driving test center in Novi

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall said that Google’s announcement on Wednesday that the company will be opening a self-driving test center in Novi is great news for the state’s economy.

“This is very exciting news for the 15th Senate District and all of Michigan,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “I am continuing to work with Google and other automakers to ensure that Michigan remains the auto capital of the world now and far into the future.”

Kowall is the lead sponsor of a package of bills introduced on Wednesday that would update the law on autonomous vehicles to provide safer transportation, better mobility and a stronger economy.

Senate Bills 995 – 998 would reduce barriers to further research and “real world” testing of autonomous vehicles to move safer technology into the marketplace more quickly.

“Google is one of the leaders in this technology,” Kowall said. “These bills will enable autonomous vehicle technology to advance in the state.”

Vietnam vets honored in ceremony marking 50th anniversary of war

From Fox2 News

There are more than seven million Americans Vietnam veterans still among us today. They made sacrifices and fought in an unpopular war but are just now getting the recognition they deserve.

During a special ceremony on Monday, soldiers who bravely served the United States go the ‘thank you’ they should have gotten years ago. It was part of a pinning ceremony in South Lyon held by state Sen. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake).

“It’s nice to be recognized. Little late but nice anyway,” Vietnam veteran Charles Harmon said.

On Monday Kowall held a pinning ceremony in South Lyon to honor Vietnam vets during the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“They were so poorly treated when they came home. I know it’s late but at least they get acknowledged for what they did, service and above all thank you and welcome home,” Kowall said.

Chuck Harmon did three tours of duty in the Navy during the Vietnam War. The conflict put the communist regime of North Vietnam against South Vietnam and its main ally the United States.

For many in the U.S., the war was unpopular and some vets say when they returned home they did not feel appreciated.

“It was a very bad coming home,” Harmon said. “People who I went to high school with, went to college and didn’t understand what we went through. So that was pretty hard.”

Harmon wasn’t at the ceremony alone. His family was there as well, wearing t-shirt designed specially for the ceremony.

“All the trials and tribulations that he’s gone through since he’s been home we try to support him any way we can,” his wife Niki Workman, said.

The ceremony for the veterans comes as President Barak Obama drops an arms embargo on Vietnam

“I understand what the President is trying to do as far as increasing relations but I’m leery about opening arms treaty with Vietnam considering what’s going on in China and China Sea,” Kowall said.

Harmon says the physical and emotional pain of Vietnam still lingers and that’s why this thank you pin means so much, so many years later

“(I) hope people recognize that we are still here, still having problems, and it’s nice to be recognized finally,” Harmon said.

Kowall, Senate honor 2016 Fitzgerald Award winners

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Tuesday honored 2016 Frank Fitzgerald Public Service Award winners (from left) Nathan Kissling, Joseph Brennan and Jason Nichol.

The three men were recognized for their excellence as scholars, communicators and volunteers.

“These young gentlemen have shown exceptional talent, dedication and service in their work,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “Their personal futures are bright, and their excellence in leadership bodes well for the future of our nation as well. It was a distinct privilege to honor these men today.”

The Frank Fitzgerald Public Service Award recognizes talented young people active in Michigan government who have shown extraordinary dedication and willingness to help others. The award is named for the late Frank Fitzgerald, a state lawmaker in the 1980s and 1990s.

Brennan interned in the Michigan House of Representatives and graduated in May from the James Madison College at Michigan State University. He has interned in Washington D.C. and studied overseas in Turkey.

Brennan earned the Vern Ehlers Award for his volunteer work in the Michigan House and also received the Gordon and Norma Guyer Summer Internship Scholarship.

Kissling is a policy advisor with the Michigan House Republican Policy Office. He has also been an aide to Rep. Tom Hooker and to Rep. Ed McBroom. Before that, he was a runner and an assistant to the House clerk.

Kissling earned the John Quincy Adams Award from the Student Statesmanship Institute. He is also certified as a Community Emergency Response Teams trainer. He donated several hundred volunteer hours in Mississippi and Texas after those states were damaged by hurricanes.

Nichol graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and now is a law clerk to Judge David McKeague in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He was student body president at Central Michigan University, where he majored in music, business administration, and finance.

Nichol competed on the CMU speech and debate team and helped the group earn several national awards. He is also an accomplished musician. He played for the Midland Symphony Orchestra during his undergraduate studies at CMU.

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Kowall announces Homer event on Memorial Day weekend honoring Vietnam era veterans

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Thursday announced that he is sponsoring a Vietnam veteran lapel-pinning ceremony on Sunday, May 29 — Memorial Day weekend — in Homer in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

A representative from Kowall’s office will attend the event and conduct the ceremony. Kowall is encouraging his constituents and all interested Michiganders to attend.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “This lapel-pinning ceremony is a way to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Kowall said the event, made possible by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 29, at the Lighthouse Village RV Park, 1001 24 Mile Road, in Homer.

The symbolism attached to the Commemoration’s Vietnam veteran lapel pins is significant, Kowall said.

“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” he said. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

In addition to the lapel pin, Vietnam era veterans will be provided with “A Grateful Nation Thanks You” bumper stickers.

Kowall has held numerous lapel-pinning ceremonies, both in Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are often held in a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall or American Legion post. Kowall partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

Reminder: Kowall sponsoring event in South Lyon on Monday honoring Vietnam era veterans

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Wednesday reminded interested parties of a Vietnam veteran lapel-pinning ceremony being held on Monday, May 23 in South Lyon in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Kowall is encouraging his constituents and all interested Michiganders to attend.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “Lapel-pinning ceremonies are a way to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Kowall said the event, made possible by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 23, at the Salem-South Lyon District Library, 9800 Pontiac Trail in South Lyon.

In addition to the lapel pin, Vietnam era veterans will be provided with a poster for their branch of service and “A Grateful Nation Thanks You” bumper sticker.

Kowall has held numerous lapel-pinning ceremonies, both in Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are often held in a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall or American Legion post. Kowall partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.

Reminder: Kowall conducting events in Detroit and Pontiac on Saturday honoring Vietnam era veterans

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall on Tuesday reminded interested parties of Vietnam veteran lapel-pinning ceremonies being held on Saturday, May 21 — Armed Forces Day — in Detroit and Pontiac in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Kowall is encouraging his constituents and all interested Michiganders to attend.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “Lapel-pinning ceremonies are a way to thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Kowall said the events, made possible by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held on Saturday, May 21.

The Detroit event, sponsored by the Detroit VA Healthcare System, will be at 10 a.m. at Cass Park. The formal lapel-pinning ceremony will be held across the street on the steps of the historic Masonic Temple.

The Pontiac event, sponsored by the VA Post 101, will be at 6 p.m. at the Lafayette Grande.

In addition to the lapel pin, Vietnam era veterans will be provided with a poster for their branch of service and “A Grateful Nation Thanks You” bumper sticker.

Kowall has held numerous lapel-pinning ceremonies, both in Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are often held in a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall or American Legion post. Kowall partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.

Commerce Walmart donates to Open Door backpack program

From Spinal Column Online

Thanks to a generous donation of backpacks and various school supplies, approximately 75 children will receive the supplies they need for a positive school year this summer.

Lee Crawford, store manager for Commerce Township Walmart store #2618, and Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall presented dozens of backpacks containing various school supplies to the Open Door Outreach Center on Friday, April 22.

“It really brings such joy to the heart to be able to know that you are part of helping the community, and that’s why I love Walmart because they give me that opportunity,” Crawford said.

The backpacks will be used to support Open Door’s back to school program, which last year distributed backpacks stuffed with age-appropriate school supplies to 50 of their client’s children. In addition to supplies, the backpacks include vouchers to shop for clothes at the center’s resale clothing store and a local retailer. The program kicks off the second week of August.

“Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Lee Crawford from Walmart Store #2618 are community builders,” said Karen Myers, director of Open Door. “These backpacks help create a successful school experience building a strong future for our children. This is how you build our community.”