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Six State Lawmakers Poised to Make an Impact in 2017

These six state legislators — Rep. Julie Calley, Rep. Laura Cox, Rep. Diana Farrington, Rep. Donna Lasinski, Rep. Sylvia Santana, Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker — are working this year to improve economic development, strengthen education policy, and increase opportunities for students, seniors and Michigan’s workforce.

Rep. Laura Cox (R-Livonia)

Laura Cox will serve as the state’s Appropriations Committee chair. Entering her second term, Cox currently serves on the Appropriations Committee and chairs the subcommittee on General Government. Cox began her public service career as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection special agent and received a degree in criminal justice at Michigan State University. Cox will continue to work to lower taxes and remove excessive regulation in favor of a smaller, more effective government.

Rep. Sylvia Santana (D-Detroit)

After obtaining her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, Sylvia Santana, wife of state Rep. Harvey Santana, worked in the financial industry for more than 15 years helping to manage loan and funding portfolios. In the financial industry, Santana learned the importance of helping small business owners thrive and making sure that they have the right tools to succeed. It is because of her work that Santana plans to keep dollars in communities through local businesses and job opportunities. Santana will also seek extra funding for police and fire departments to ensure they have the proper resources to keep neighborhoods safe.

Rep. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton)

Tonya Schuitmaker earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Michigan State University and a law degree, graduating cum laude, from the Detroit College of Law. Before her election to the Michigan Senate, Schuitmaker worked as an attorney for Schuitmaker, Cooper and Schuitmaker. First elected in 2011, Schuitmaker is entering her second term. Her focus is on helping disadvantaged citizens, including children, senior citizens and the mentally ill. She has worked aggressively on legislation to protect seniors from abuse. Schuitmaker supports limited government regulation and a pro-business environment. She was a key voice in the Legislature’s decision to repeal the Michigan Business Tax.

Rep. Diana Farrington (R-Utica)

Diana Farrington, a mother of two sons, understands the importance of education and how it can lead to a stronger community. That is why Farrington has made it a priority to lower college tuition rates and to allow parents to choose the K-12 education that their children receive. Farrington is also a strong proponent of healthy communities through combating opioid addiction and human trafficking. As a mortgage auditor with decades of experience, Farrington recognizes the importance of reducing Michigan’s debt. She also supports accountability for transportation infrastructure funding and repealing the harmful senior pension tax.

Rep. Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.)

Donna Lasinski leverages years of education experience as a PTO leader and an early education appointee by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Lasinski has made education a priority, helping to grow early childhood education programs and supporting strong investment in Michigan schools. Lasinski is also founder of the small business ThinkStretch, which works to address summer learning loss among youths. She recognizes problems that people face outside of school and works to provide access to training and living wage jobs, and to grow opportunities for local farmers.

Rep. Julie Calley (R-Portland)

Julie Calley brings a strong political background to the Michigan House of Representatives. Calley, the wife of Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Michigan Community Service Commission in 2011, and was elected Ionia County Commissioner after serving 10 years in real estate management. Calley advocates for limited government regulation and expanding fiscal conservativism, protecting life at all stages and protecting constitutional rights. Economic growth and education are among her top priorities.