Alumni Elected to Michigan House, U.S. Congress
Nov. 4 was a day of celebration for three Alma College alumni who were elected to state and national office.
At the state level, Dan Scripps ’98 was elected to represent the 101st District in Traverse City in the Michigan House, while Jennifer Mounts Haase ‘97 was elected from the 32nd District, which covers portions of Macomb and St. Clair counties. Both were Bruske Hall residence assistants during their time at Alma.
At the national level, Gary Peters ’80, former two-term member of the Michigan State Senate and state lottery commissioner, was elected to the U.S. Congress representing Michigan’s 9th U.S. House District in Oakland County.
an Alma student, Peters was a residence advisor in small housing and
Bruske Hall, president of the junior class, and a member of the Zeta
Sigma fraternity. He spent the fall of his senior year studying abroad
at the Alma College program in Paris.
Peters recently responded to the following questions:
What are your goals as a first-term Congressman, and what are the priority issues you hope to tackle as you join the U.S. Congress?
"Job number one is clearly the economy, and finding a way to create jobs and help families here in Michigan. After graduating from Alma, I got a job at the Merrill Lynch in Rochester, and I earned my MBA in finance a few years later. With the ongoing crisis in the financial sector, I would like to put that background to work, helping to create and implement a 21st century regulatory structure that protects consumers while enabling businesses to grow. I am also committed to bringing new jobs to Michigan through investing in alternative energy technologies — like next generation vehicles — to make us a world leader in clean, renewable energy."
On election night, when did you first realize that you had won the election, and how did you react?
"There was huge turnout on Election Day, with lines that stretched around the block in many areas, and because of that, the results took longer than usual. I had a good sense that we were leading for most of the evening, but it wasn't until after 11 p.m. before I knew that our lead was going to hold. I was watching the returns with my family, and as we realized that we were going to win, there was an incredible combination of excitement about the victory coupled with an appreciation for the challenges that still lay ahead. After over 18 months of work on the campaign, the real work of getting Michigan's economy moving begins on Jan. 6th when I get sworn in as a Member of Congress."
In what ways did Alma College prepare you for your career, and, more specifically, to be a U.S. Congressman?
"Throughout my career, both in public service and the private sector, I have found that my liberal arts education from Alma has served me well. My major was Political Science, but the wide range of courses that I took, and the experiences that I was exposed to, have given me a broad perspective that has made a difference in my life and work. This will be particularly important as I approach the challenges ahead in Congress, from dealing with the economic crisis to addressing health care, job creation, and foreign policy."
Who were the most influential faculty (or staff) members you had at Alma College?
"In my very first year at Alma, I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Burnie Davis for Political Science 101. From that class onward, as my professor in many other courses and as my advisor, he helped to instill in me a love of public policy. He showed me how politics can be an engine for helping to improve peoples' lives — a lesson that I have carried with me ever since. Dr. Davis is retired now, but he and I have continued to keep in touch, and I have been proud to have his support and counsel throughout my career in public service."
Posted: Mon, November 24th, 2008 at 8:40AM