senate concurrent resolution no. 15

Senator Shirkey offered the following concurrent resolution:

A concurrent resolution of tribute offered as a memorial for Tom Casperson, former member of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Whereas, It is with great sadness that the members of the Michigan Legislature learned of the passing of Tom Casperson. A steadfast public servant, he worked tirelessly during his legislative tenure for the residents of the Upper Peninsula and all Michiganders; and

Whereas, A life-long resident of Escanaba, Tom Casperson worked in his family's log truck business for 27 years, 12 as owner/operator. He was proud of the fact that he was the third generation to participate in the family business. Hours of working in the woods and driving log trucks through the Upper Peninsula forged his respect and sense of responsibility for the natural resources of our state and instilled a passion for their sustained and strategic use. He was active in his profession as a member of the Michigan Association of Timbermen and the Timber Producers Association. A log truck accident and his subsequent efforts to pursue safety measures and design changes in the industry inspired him to run for elected office; and

Whereas, Tom Casperson served for 14 years in the Legislature, relying on his experience in business and forestry, his faith and passion for the interests of the Upper Peninsula, and his willingness to work with all interested parties to address the problems facing our state. First elected in 2002 to the House of Representatives, he served 6 years representing the One hundred-eighth District. In the House, he held the position of Assistant Majority Whip. During this time, he served as chair of the Conservation, Forestry and Outdoor Recreation Committee and the subcommittee on Forestry and Mineral Rights. He was vice chair of the Transportation Committee and minority vice chair of the Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources Committee. He also served on the Agriculture, Energy and Technology, and Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security committees, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation; and

Whereas, In 2010, Tom Casperson was elected, and reelected in 2014, to the Michigan Senate, representing the Thirty-eighth District for 8 years. In the Senate, he served as chair of the Natural Resources and Transportation committees. He also served on the Outdoor Recreation and Tourism; Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing; Families, Seniors, and Human Services; and Finance committees; and

Whereas, Tom Casperson's ability to listen and courteously discuss contested issues provided him with an avenue to champion matters important to his constituents. He worked hard to find common ground and consensus on contentious issues, such as mining and land management, that allowed economic development in northern Michigan while also protecting the natural resources that make the Upper Peninsula a special place. He took the lead on incorporating the castle doctrine in state law, protected the autonomy of the Mackinac Bridge, and required the state to implement a Land Management Plan. He secured funding for a wide variety of key Upper Peninsula projects, including repairing infrastructure in Houghton County following the "thousand year flood," aiding numerous communities impacted by the historic Freeze Crisis in 2014, and rebuilding a breakwall in Grand Marais Harbor that had been in disrepair for decades. His perseverance and ability to work across the aisle resulted in his sponsoring 118 bills that became public acts during his 14-year tenure as a legislator. Moreover, he was recognized by many organizations as being an effective legislator, with several awarding him Legislator of the Year including MIRS News in 2013; and

Whereas, Tom Casperson loved helping people. He was willing to listen and forge relationships and give the time to mentor the next generation of leaders, and he was humble and passionate in these efforts. His devotion to the people of Michigan and his passion to provide a voice for the Upper Peninsula will not soon be forgotten. The Senator's sincere faith in God, concern for people, and legislative efforts and achievements will impact the state for many years; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That we offer this expression of our highest tribute to honor the memory of Tom Casperson, a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 2003 to 2008 and the Michigan Senate from 2011 to 2018; and be it further

Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Casperson family as evidence of our lasting esteem for his memory.