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Michigan Political Leadership Program

Since the 1992 implementation of term limits in Michigan, the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University has recruited, trained, and inspired public policy leaders, offering them the vision, commitment and skills necessary to govern effectively.

In a bipartisan learning environment, a diverse group of 24 individuals from across the state engage in a public policy and leadership curriculum. The 10-month program incorporates practical politics, public policy analysis and process, personal leadership development and effective governance. More than 700 MPLP graduates have put the skills acquired through the program to work in their communities.

Advisory Board and MPLP Co-Directors

Rudy HobbsRudy Hobbs currently serves as an Oakland County Deputy Executive. He oversees the departments of the Central Services (including the Oakland County International Airport), Health & Human Services, and Public Services. He also oversees government relations at all levels for the county. Hobbs served two-terms in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2011-2014, where his colleagues elected him the Democratic Floor Leader. He represented Southfield, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Beverly Hills, Franklin, and Royal Oak Township.

Tonya Schuitmaker Tonya Schuitmaker served in the Michigan State House for three terms (2004-2008). During her terms in the House, Tonya held a number of leadership roles including Assistant Minority Floor Leader. In 2010, Tonya was elected to the Michigan Senate and was chosen by her colleagues to serve as President Pro Tempore, where she was only the second woman to ever hold this leadership position. Tonya served on the Senate Appropriations Committee and as Chairperson of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education. She also served on the Judiciary, and Energy & Technology Committees.

MPLP Advisory Board

  • Chair : Bill Jackson^ - Associate, McAlvey Merchant & Associates (MPLP 2007)
  • Vice-Chair : Sara Wurfel^ - Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, Michigan Chamber of Commerce (MPLP 1999)
  • Jason Allen, Owner, Captain’s Quarters and Former State Senator
  • Susy Avery – Former Co-Director, MPLP and Former Republican Party Chair
  • Dianne Byrum* - MSU Trustee and President, Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications
  • Brian Calley – Former Lt. Governor, State of Michigan and President, Small Business Association of Michigan
  • Jim Cavanagh - Senior Counsel, Warner, Norcross, & Judd, LLP
  • Craig M. DeRoche* - Former Speaker, Michigan House of Representatives (MPLP 1992)
  • Debbie Dingell* - U.S. Representative, 12th District, Michigan
  • Jen Flood^ - Deputy Chief of Staff, Governor’s Office, State of Michigan
  • Matt Grossmann, Ph.D. - Director, Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, MSU Professor, Political Science Department, MSU
  • Patrick Harrington^ - Managing Member, Muchmore Harrington Smalley & Associates, and former Representative, Michigan House of Representatives
  • Gary C. Heidel* - Executive Director, Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MPLP 1993)
  • Lynn Jondahl* - Former State Representative, Michigan House of Representatives
  • Anne M. Mervenne*, CEO, Mervenne & Company, Former MPLP Co-Director, MPLP
  • Aaron A. Payment, Ph.D.* - Tribal Chairperson, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (MPLP 1992)
  • John T. Reurink - Publisher and Co-Owner, Michigan Information & Research Service, Inc.
  • Herasanna Richards^ - Legislative Associate, Michigan Municipal League (MPLP 2017)
  • Douglas B. Roberts*, Ph.D. - Former Director, Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, Michigan State University, and former State Treasurer, State of Michigan
  • Emily Schwarzkopf^ - Director of Legislative, Appropriations and Constituent Services, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MPLP 2016)
  • Amy Scoby (Baumer)* - Vice President, The Christman Company
  • Jacqueline Taylor*, Ph.D. - Consultant, Pondera Advisors, LLC
  • Steve Tobocman – Former Co-Director, MPLP and Partner, New Solutions Group
  • Brad Ward - Vice President Public Policy and Legal Affairs, Michigan Realtors
  • Arnold Weinfeld – Associate Director, Institute for Public Policy & Social Research, Michigan State University
  • Richard N. Wiener* - Attorney, Retired
  • Catherine Wilson* - Executive Director State Governmental Affairs, Consumers Energy*

In Memoriam :

*Emeritus Member ^MPLP Alumni

  • Jacalyn Hadden
  • Gary Olson
  • Bill Snow