Michigan State University's newest class of Michigan Political Leadership Program Fellows recently met for the first time to begin their 10 months of training in the nation's premier leadership program.
"We are proud to welcome the Class of 2014 to MPLP at MSU," said Douglas Roberts, director of MSU's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.
MPLP makes its campus home at IPPSR, which specializes in leadership training, public policy and social research as a part of MSU's College of Social Science.
The first sessions focused on the economy as MPLP Fellows heard from Roberts, a former Michigan Treasurer with more than 20 years of experience in guiding the state through some of its toughest economic times.
Future sessions will take the Fellows around the state and through the challenges of campaign advertising and finance, media relations and policy analysis.
MPLP was established in 1992 to help prepare rising leaders for state, local and regional office. Since that time, more than 500 people have been granted MPLP certificates and an estimated 45 percent of them have been or are in elected or appointed positions.
"There are 14 currently serving in the state House," said MPLP co-director Steve Tobocman, a former Majority Floor Leader, the second-highest position in the Michigan House. He is currently is managing partner at New Solutions Group, LLC.
A total of 17 MPLP alumni plan to run for state House in 2014, including three from the Class of 2013. Six MPLP graduates are, to date, on record as seeking state Senate seats and one is running for U.S. Congress, Tobocman said.
"That's an exceptional record and one we¹re all immensely proud of," said MPLP co-director Anne Mervenne, an executive in the administration of former Gov. John Engler. She most recently served on Gov. Rick Snyder¹s Transition Team. She is president of Mervenne & Company, a governmental relations consulting firm.
MPLP Fellows and alumni are also rallying to gather for some of the state's largest multipartisan gatherings two events featuring two national political leaders and providing majority support for the Fellowship program. Each Fellowship is valued at about $12,000.
This year's keynote speakers are former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. MPLP¹s 19th annual dinner takes place March 6 at Laurel Manor in Livonia. The 12th annual breakfast takes place the next morning March 7 at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids.