The May 5th Ballot Proposal: Is it Good for Michigan?​

​Monday, April 20, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Central Michigan Univer​sity
Park Library Auditorium
View p​rogram


Chris Hackbarth
Chris Hackbarth is the Director of State Affairs at the Michigan Municipal League. From 2009-2011 he acted as a legislative associate, and recently rejoined in January of 2015. Between 2011 and 2015, he worked in the Michigan Secretary of State as the Director of the Office of Policy Initiatives and lobbied for the Midwest Strategy Group. Hackbarth received his Bachelors of Arts in International Relations from Michigan State University’s James Madison College. 

John LaMacchia
John LaMacchia is a legislative associate for the Michigan Municipal League. He handles transportation and infrastructure issues. John joined the League in January of 2013 and has nearly a decade of experience in Lansing serving with former Sen. John Gleason for six years as chief of staff and previously working in the office of former Senate Minority Leader Bob Emerson. In those roles he developed, negotiated and secured passage of multiple public acts. John has a strong background in the areas of transportation, agriculture, and health policy.

​Paul Mitchell
Paul Mitchell is the retired chairman and CEO of Ross Medical Ed​ucation Center, which provided vocational training for adults. After leaving Ross Education in 2011, he dedicated his time to politics and his family. He ran in the 2014 4th Congressional District race. Mitchell is from Thomas Township and is a previous employee of Chrysler. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. 

Dr. Jason Taylor
Dr. Jason Taylor is a professor of Economics at Central Michigan University. Dr. Taylor specializes in 20th century American economic history, focusing on the Great Depression and World War II. He has been published in multiple arenas such as The Journal of Law and Economics and The Journal of Industrial Economics. Dr. Taylor has also appeared on several television and radio shows as a Professional Economist, including Michigan Radio Network. He was Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Virginia from 1998-2003. He joined the faculty at ​Central Michigan University in 2003. He received his Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Georgia and his Bachelors of Science in Journalism from Ohio University in 1994.

Senator Wayne Schmidt
Senator Wayne Schmidt serves the 37th Senate District in Michigan, encompassing sections of both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. He is the Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and also sits on the Agriculture, Economic Development and International Investment, Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, and Legislative Council Committees. 

Senator Wayne Schmidt was unable to attend due to funeral activities for Senator Robert P. Griffin.


Rick Pluta​
Rick Pluta is managing editor and state Capitol bureau chief at Michigan Public Radio. He previously worked for WJR-AM (Detroit), The Oakland Press, United Press International and The (Elizabeth, N.J.) Daily Journal. A supporter of public radio, he also hosts “It’s Just Politics” on MPRN with Zoe Clark. A well-known voice within the Michigan political arena, Pluta has reported on various topics including “pay-to-play,” same-sex marriage recognition and various governor administrations. Recently, he hosted Terri Lynn Land, former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, on “Michigan Calling” to field questions from voters during the 2014 election.​

Event Sponsors

The Griffin Policy Forums are hosted twice yearly by the Robert and Marjorie Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government, the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the Department of Political Science at Central Michigan University.

​For more information, contact the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences at 989-774-3341 or CHSBS@cmich.edu​.

About the Griffin Endowed Chair

The Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government at Central Michigan University was established through generous gifts from alumni, faculty and friends of the university. It provides continuing support to fund the salary and associated costs of a government and public policy expert to serve as a faculty member in the Political Science department and to host twice yearly forums addressing public policy issues.

The endowment is named to recognize the significant public service and contributions of distinguished CMU alumni Robert P. and Marjorie Griffin. Robert Griffin, '47, is a former U.S. Senator, and his wife, Marjorie, '44, is a former Clarke Historical Library board member.​