Save the Date: Kowall and Proos announce Bridgman event honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. John Proos on Wednesday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Friday, Feb. 24 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Proos, R-St. Joseph, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Bridgman to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration (VWC), will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, at the Bridgman American Legion Post 331, 4241 Legion St., in Bridgman. RSVP to American Legion Ladies Auxiliary President Kim Knuth at kimbrly567@aol.com.

Bridgman American Legion Post 331 Commander Dave Mutz will attend the ceremony, which will include light appetizers and a cash bar.

The lawmakers will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin 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.”

The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events that thank and honor the veterans and their families.

“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,” Kowall said. “This 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.”

Proos agreed.

“We must never forget that America remains the beacon of liberty and hope in the world because courageous men and women have risked — and continue to risk — their lives for freedom,” Proos said. “All our veterans deserve our respect and appreciation. I encourage Southwest Michigan residents to come out and help us salute the enormous sacrifices and selfless dedication of our Vietnam veterans and their families.”

Kowall has held numerous events, both in Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often 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.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Oakland Press: Driverless vehicles at the auto show and on Michigan’s roadways

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

We are now at the tail end of the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), the premier event of its kind.

The NAIAS, which runs this year from Jan. 8 through Jan. 22 at the Cobo Center downtown, is the most significant and important automobile trade show in the world.

Beginning in the early 20th century, Detroit hosted a regional auto show for several decades. In 1989, the show was opened to an international audience and became the NAIAS.

Today, the NAIAS provides the general public and industry experts access to tomorrow’s vehicles and the most innovative automotive technology on the planet.

For much of Michigan’s history, the state’s economy has been closely tied to the automobile industry, which has had its highs and lows. Now is a high point both for the industry and for automobile consumers as we enter the era of driverless vehicles.

I fully support Gov. Rick Snyder in his goal of establishing Michigan as a leader in driverless vehicle technology, and I have happily been at the forefront of legislative efforts pertaining to these autonomous vehicles.

Last month, Gov. Snyder signed two of my bills and two others that modernize guidelines for driverless vehicle research and operation and keep Michigan at the cutting edge of automobile technology innovation, growth and design.

The new laws allow “real world” testing and operation to determine the technology needed to safely introduce these vehicles into the marketplace. As technology emerges, companies will be able to operate a driverless vehicle on public roads so long as an operator is able to supervise and control the vehicle.

The laws also establish standards that these vehicles must adhere to. These include requirements for data collection and feedback from crashes from autonomous vehicles that are members of a fleet so that information can be used to further advance the technology and ensure that they are safe for consumer use.

The development of autonomous vehicles has the potential not only to bolster our state economy significantly, but to greatly reduce the number of auto accidents and make the nation’s roads safer.

Three autonomous vehicles have highlighted this year’s auto show: The Ford Fusion Hybrid, Google’s Waymo, and Chrysler’s autonomous Pacifica minivan. I expect we will see many more similar vehicles at future North American International Auto Shows as well as on Michigan roadways.

As senator for the 15th District, I represent thousands of residents who work in the automobile industry as well as countless auto manufacturing and supplier companies. I am happy that Michigan is becoming the epicenter of automated vehicle technology, which will improve the lives of millions of Americans and strengthen our economy.

This column first appeared in the Oakland Press. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Photo Advisory: Holly veterans present Certificate of Appreciation to Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Vietnam veterans from the Karl Richter Veterans Resource Center in Holly presented Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, (center left) with a Certificate of Appreciation Wednesday in his Senate office for two Vietnam lapel-pinning ceremonies held in Holly last year.

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

Pictured, from left: Art Ingraham, Marine Corps; Ray Pfenning, Navy; Kowall; Ina Golden, Navy; Joe Mishler, Army; and Bruce Freimark, Air force.

Spinal Column: Driverless vehicles at the auto show and on Michigan’s roadways

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

It is the middle of January in Detroit, and that means we’re smack in the middle of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), the premier event of its kind.

The NAIAS, which runs this year from Jan. 8 through Jan. 22 at the Cobo Center downtown, is the most significant and important automobile trade show in the world.

Beginning in the early 20th century, Detroit hosted a regional auto show for several decades. In 1989, the show was opened to an international audience and became the NAIAS.

Today, the NAIAS provides the general public and industry experts access to tomorrow’s vehicles and the most innovative automotive technology on the planet.

For much of Michigan’s history, the state’s economy has been closely tied to the automobile industry, which has had its highs and lows. Now is a high point both for the industry and for automobile consumers as we enter the era of driverless vehicles.

I fully support Gov. Rick Snyder in his goal of establishing Michigan as a leader in driverless vehicle technology, and I have happily been at the forefront of legislative efforts pertaining to these autonomous vehicles.

Last month, Gov. Snyder signed two of my bills and two others that modernize guidelines for driverless vehicle research and operation and keep Michigan at the cutting edge of automobile technology innovation, growth and design.

The new laws allow “real world” testing and operation to determine the technology needed to safely introduce these vehicles into the marketplace. As technology emerges, companies will be able to operate a driverless vehicle on public roads so long as an operator is able to supervise and control the vehicle.

The laws also establish standards that these vehicles must adhere to. These include requirements for data collection and feedback from crashes from autonomous vehicles that are members of a fleet so that information can be used to further advance the technology and ensure that they are safe for consumer use.

The development of autonomous vehicles has the potential not only to bolster our state economy significantly, but to greatly reduce the number of auto accidents and make the nation’s roads safer.

Three autonomous vehicles have highlighted this year’s auto show: The Ford Fusion Hybrid, Google’s Waymo, and Chrysler’s autonomous Pacifica minivan. I expect we will see many more similar vehicles at future North American International Auto Shows as well as on Michigan roadways.

As senator for the 15th District, I represent thousands of residents who work in the automobile industry as well as countless auto manufacturing and supplier companies. I am happy that Michigan is becoming the epicenter of automated vehicle technology, which will improve the lives of millions of Americans and strengthen our economy.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Sen. Mike Kowall comments on State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, offered the following statement Tuesday after Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his 2017 State of the State address:

“One of the governor’s goals has been to establish Michigan as a leader in driverless vehicle technology, and I was delighted to hear him reiterate the importance of this auto sector tonight.

“I have been at the forefront of legislative efforts pertaining to autonomous vehicles. With the governor signing two of my autonomous vehicles bills and two others into law last month, guidelines for driverless vehicle research and operation have been modernized, and Michigan will remain at the cutting edge of automobile technology innovation, growth and design.

“The governor emphasized the need for a strong infrastructure, including the importance of upgrading the Soo Locks. The numbers surrounding the Soo Locks are staggering. Billions of dollars of steel and other materials are shipped through the locks each year, and more than 650,000 thousand jobs depend on the iron ore shipments through the locks.

“Unfortunately, only one of the four Soo Locks — the Poe Lock — is large enough to accommodate the modern vessels that commonly traverse the Great Lakes. It is of critical importance that the locks be upgraded.

“Another pressing concern is cyber security. The state of Michigan blocks more than 650,000 cyber attacks daily. In addition, the state blocks 2.5 million web browser attacks, 5.2 million intrusions, 79.5 million network scams, and 179.5 million http-based attacks.

“In response, the governor has established October as Cyber Security Awareness Month to increase the understanding of cyber threats and empower residents to be safer and more secure online. Because of this and other initiatives, Michigan is a national leader in cyber security, and we must maintain this leadership.

“Finally, Michigan must pursue public-private partnerships. There are 33 states, including all the states in the Great Lakes region, that have some level of legislation approving public-private partnership. Similar legislation in Michigan will not only give us an opportunity to gain project delivery experience by authorizing a limited number of projects, but keep Michigan competitive nationally as well as within our region.

“I am encouraged by the governor’s address tonight and look forward to working to accelerate Michigan’s recovery.”

Note: Audio remarks from Kowall will be available for broadcast from this website. Click Audio under the Media Center tab, above.

Photo Advisory: Sen. Kowall welcomes guest to Capitol for State of the State

LANSING, Mich. — State Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, stands at the Senate rostrum with Ford Motor Company Environmental, Safety & Regulatory Counsel Emily Frascaroli (left). Frascaroli joined Kowall for Gov. Rick Snyder’s seventh State of the State address Tuesday night.

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

Media Advisory: Sen. Mike Kowall available for comments following 2017 State of the State address

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall will be available for comments following the governor’s 2017 State of the State address on Tuesday.

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

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

When:
After the address, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17.

Where:
By phone or in:
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.

He also will be available by phone. Please call Kowall’s office at 1-517-373-1758 to schedule an interview time with the senator.

Audio remarks will be available for broadcast from this website. Click Audio under the Media Center tab, above.

Photo Advisory: Kowall welcomes the Rev. Dr. Prues to Capitol on first day of session

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, welcomed the Rev. Dr. Louis Prues of Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church of Detroit to the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday. Prues gave the invocation to start the first Senate session of the 99th Legislature.

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