Meekhof announces staff changes

LANSING– Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, today announced the promotion of Majority Counsel Scott Hughes toGeneral Counsel and Deputy Chief of Staff and Jennifer Merchant to Legislative Director.  Connor Spalding will officially take over as Deputy Legislative Director and former Representative Amanda Price will serve as District Director for the Senate Majority Leader’s office.

“I am very fortunate to have so many capable and knowledgeable staff who will easily transition to new roles and additional responsibilities.  Scott Hughes is an invaluable member of my staff and an asset for our caucus.  The addition of ‘Deputy Chief of Staff’ to his list of responsibilities will be a new challenge and one that I am certain he will handle with ease,” said Meekhof.

Scott Hughes started with Senate Majority Leader Meekhof in 2015 as majority legal counsel.  He previously worked in private practice.  Hughes resides in Byron Center with his wife, Staci, and their three children.  Hughes is a graduate of Michigan State University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

“Jennifer Merchant has had years of experience in the House and previously worked for the House Floor Leader’s office.  She hit the ground running in my office and this new title accurately reflects her skill set,” said Meekhof.  “I am happy to be able to recognize her abilities with this promotion.”

Jennifer Merchant began her career in the legislature in 2011 in the office of former Representative Lisa Lyons, R-Alto.  Merchant then moved on to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and later returned to the legislature in the office of former House Majority Floor Leader Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton.  Merchant is a graduate of Michigan State University and resides in Lowell with her husband, Rusty.

“Connor Spalding has been a constant in the majority leader’s office since last term.  He started as an intern and has worked in every role on his way to the position of Deputy Legislative Director.  Connor is meticulous, knowledgeable and accessible.  This new title better reflects his role in my office and his significance as a member of my staff,” said Meekhof.

Connor Spalding is a graduate of Michigan State University.  Spalding began his career in the office of former Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe.  Spalding is a resident of Lansing.

“Amanda Price is a welcomed addition to my staff.  She has served in the legislature and knows the unique skill set necessary to serve constituents.  I know that she will help me serve the residents of the 30th Senate District well,” said Meekhof.

Former Representative Amanda Price was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2010 and served until the end of her third term in 2016.  Price is a resident of Holland where she lives with her husband, Rodger.

Price replaces long-time staffer Dennis Van Dam who passed away last year.

Former Deputy Chief of Staff Craig Ryan was recently promoted to the position of Chief of Staff upon the departure of Robert DeVries.

Meekhof joins with colleagues to repeal prevailing wage

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof

LANSING—Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, today announced the introduction of legislation to help save schools and communities money.

Meekhof joins Senator Pete MacGregor, R-Rockford, and Senator Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, as sponsors of Senate Bills 1, 2, and 3 to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law.

“Since my days as a township official, I have viewed prevailing wages laws as an unnecessary burden on our schools and local communities.  It does not make sense that our taxpayers should have to pay more for improvements to our school and municipal buildings,” said Meekhof.

Current state law requires all construction firms deployed to a government worksite to pay employees union scale wages, costing taxpayers, schools and local communities millions of additional dollars each year.

“I remain committed to repealing Michigan’s prevailing wage laws,” said Sen. Pete MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Our state has experienced remarkable economic growth in recent years, and we have worked hard to enact reforms that will continue moving Michigan forward. Getting rid of burdensome, outdated prevailing wage laws will help those efforts to make our state the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

If passed, Michigan would join 20 other states that do not have a prevailing wage law.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to come up with an agreeable solution and save taxpayer dollars,” said Robertson.

“At one time, this law was meant to ensure fair and equitable wages, but it has long since morphed into an obligation that only costs taxpayers more money,” said Meekhof.

The bills were referred to the Senate Michigan Competitiveness Committee upon introduction.  The bills may be viewed online via www.legislature.mi.gov.