Bay City, Mich. -- Associate Speaker of the House Pro Tem Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Williams Twp., in his second term representing parts of Bay and Midland counties in the state House of Representatives, Friday announced his candidacy for the 31st District state Senate seat comprised of Bay, Lapeer, and Tuscola counties, which is currently held by term-limited Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville.
Green earlier this year told the Midland Daily News that he "would be a strong supporter of Gary Glenn" to succeed him in the Senate.
Glenn made the announcement surrounded by supporters at three events held in Lapeer, Caro, and Bay City. Former state Sen. Joel Gougeon, R-Bay City, will chair Glenn's campaign in Bay County, while Phil Green, the current senator's son, will chair Glenn's organization in Tuscola County. Mayfield Twp. Supervisor Dianna Ireland will chair the campaign in Lapeer County.
Glenn said he was persuaded to run for the position by "individuals and major area employers who believe my long-term leadership and impact on public policy, especially energy policy, will help make Michigan more competitive in the future for new industry and new farm and manufacturing jobs."
"The single biggest cost of doing business for Dow Chemical, the single largest employer in mid-Michigan, and for large agricultural processing plants, is the cost of electricity," said Glenn, who serves as chairman of the House Energy Policy Committee. "Among those I asked for counsel, the verdict was unanimous that the chance to serve eight years in the state Senate would allow me to have more impact on that issue and be of more value to mid-Michigan families, farms, employers, and our economy than serving one remaining two-year term in the House."
Michigan's term limits law allows a maximum of three two-year terms in the state House, and two four-year terms in the state Senate.
But Green may vacate the seat as soon as next month, a year before the end of his final term, if and when he receives a long-anticipated appointment to a position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with Gov. Rick Snyder expected to call a special primary election to fill that vacancy as early as the first Tuesday in February, with a special general election following in late March or early April. Snyder could also decide to let the Senate seat remain vacant until filled by the regular election process in November 2018.
First elected in November 2014, Glenn was chosen by reporters with the state Capitol's oldest daily news service from among 55 first-term state representatives and senators as "Freshman Legislator of the Year," based on his leadership and impact on energy policy and civil asset forfeiture reform.
The Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative, whose president is Tuscola Intermediate School District Supt. Gene Pierce, last year presented Glenn an award for his leadership in successful legislative efforts to preserve schools' ability to purchase electricity from sources other than the state's two monopoly utilities, Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison, saving public schools $17 million a year. Bay City Schools saves $200,000 a year, and Lapeer Public Schools in recent years have saved $2 million.
Glenn was also named "Legislator of the Year" by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan and by the Propane Dealers Association of Michigan.
He received the American Conservative Union's "Award for Conservative Excellence" for compiling the most conservative voting record in the House on fiscal, social, and veterans-related issues and is consistently ranked by numerous scorecards as among the most conservative members of the House.
In 2015, Glenn was a leader in the campaign against Proposal One, the $2 billion fuel and sales tax increase overwhelmingly rejected by Michigan voters on a statewide ballot in May of that year.
Former state Rep. Kevin Daley, R-Lum, who will be Glenn's opponent in the Republican primary for Green's state Senate seat, voted in favor of the $2 billion tax hike proposal.
Senate District 31 voters overwhelmingly agreed with Glenn and disagreed with Daley on the issue, rejecting the massive tax hike with 85 percent voting NO in Bay County, 88 percent voting NO in Tuscola, and almost 90 percent voting NO in Lapeer!
Glenn was reelected to a second term in November 2016 with over 60 percent of the vote, winning 48 out of 50 precincts in the 98th House District and losing the remaining two by a combined total of six votes. He won all precincts in the Bay County portion of his district.
As chairman of the House Energy Policy Committee, he has pledged to protect the authority of local townships and counties to decide whether to allow the development of industrial wind projects in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Glenn has also sponsored or cosponsored legislation to:
* Repeal Michigan's ballast water release regulations, which are blocking development of Bay City as a deep water port for the export of farm and manufacturing products from mid-Michigan.
* Repeal so-called "Common Core" standards and allow each local school district to set its own standards.
* Repeal the requirement for a government fee and permit to carry a concealed weapon.
* Repeal the senior citizens pension tax.
Prior to being elected to the House, Glenn had served as president of the American Family Association of Michigan since 1999, during which he coauthored the Marriage Protection Amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2004, and as a School Choice project manager for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Glenn faced a major health challenge during his first term. In January 2016, he was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer which had consumed the next to the last vertebrae in his spinal column. Doctors declared him to be in remission five weeks later, and cancer specialists at the University of Michigan this year characterized the remission as stable. Glenn has never missed a vote, committee meeting, or caucus in Lansing, even while undergoing radiation and five months of chemotherapy which doctors recommended as an insurance policy after his remission.
Glenn was so fatigued by the chemotherapy that he used a wheelchair at the Republican National Convention in July of last year. Now nearly fully recovered, he undergoes an intense workout multiple times a week with a former Army fitness instructor and race walks two or three miles multiple times each weekend.
His destroyed vertebrae, which a neurosurgeon initially said would have to be surgically replaced with a titanium cage, grew back naturally instead, out of nothing. Doctors termed Glenn "unusually responsive," but he credited his recovery instead to the thousands of prayers offered for him and his family and said he again has the strength, energy, and stamina for what's expected to be a hotly-contested primary and general election.
Glenn is expected to face Daley in the Republican primary, and Bay County Clerk Cindy Luczak will run for the seat as a Democrat in the regular November 2018 election process, but will not be a candidate in a special election if one is held earlier next year. If no other candidates file for the seat, Glenn will once again be the only veteran in the race, having served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserves and Army National Guard. He is serving his second term on the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
Glenn and his wife Annette and five children moved to Larkin Township in Midland County in the spring of 1998. After their last child left home in May of this year, the Glenns began looking for a new home and downsized in August to a townhouse located in Williams Township in Bay County. Their second oldest son played two years of football and graduated from Bay City Western High School in Auburn.