Lunch Plenary Panel Discussion

The Workforce and Higher Education in Michigan:
Legislative Perspectives


We were pleased to have two Michigan legislators share their perspectives about education and workforce development in the state of Michigan. Senator Goeff Hansen (R) and Representative Jon Hoadley (D) joined us for a panel discussion with Chastity Pratt Dawsey of Bridge Magazine.

Sen. Goeff HansenSenator Goeff Hansen is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Michigan families and working in a bipartisan manner to help stimulate job growth, protect valuable local jobs, establish high standards in education, and support early childhood development programs.

Sen. Hansen learned the value of hard work starting in high school, when he started working at his family’s grocery business more than 30 years ago. He was co-owner and partner of Hansen Foods in Hart. Goeff’s community involvement includes 20 years as a first responder, EMT and firefighter – as well as numerous local government, civic and education-related positions.

After four years as Hart Township supervisor, Sen. Hansen was first elected to the House in 2004 representing the 100th District. Following three terms in the House, was elected to the Senate in 2010 & re-elected in 2014 to represent the 34th District.

Sen. Hansen presently serves as Chair of the Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee. He is also a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee where he serves as the chair of the subcommittee on K-12, School Aid, Education; chair of the subcommittee on Transportation; and member of the subcommittee on Capital Outlay. Sen. Hansen was also elected Assistant Senate Majority Leader by members of the Senate Republican Caucus.

A champion for Michigan’s seniors, Sen. Hansen shepherded major nursing home reforms through Public Act 322 of 2012 that protects our most vulnerable Michigan residents and allows the state to fulfill their regulatory responsibilities in a more efficient and customer-friendly manner. He’s also stood for students in his district by authoring Public Act 210 of 2013 which streamlined the State Promise Zone education scholarship program and specifically allows the Muskegon Promise Zone to expand their offerings.

Sen. Hansen was fortunate to have partnered with parents, community leaders, educators and local officials from Detroit in helping lead the Senate’s efforts to help restructure and stabilize the Detroit Public School system. The result is a comprehensive bipartisan proposal, passed by the Senate in March 2016, which would ensure strong, thriving educational options for Detroit families.

Sen. Hansen has received numerous honors for his work in the Legislature, including Legislator of the Year awards from the Michigan Council of Maternal & Child Health, Michigan Primary Care Association, Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association, Michigan Library Association, and Michigan Community Action Agency Association. Sen. Hansen was also honored to receive the 2016 Michigan College Access Network Impact Award. As the Senate’s lead sponsor and negotiator of the Detroit Public Schools education reform package, the Detroit Branch of the NAACP recognized his efforts with the 2016 Mary Church Terrell Freedom & Justice Award. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Center for Rural Health.

Goeff and his wife, Tamara, live in Hart and had two grown sons and four grandchildren.

Rep. Jon HoadleyJon Hoadley is in his second term as the representative for the 60th House District, which includes Kalamazoo and portions of the city of Portage and Kalamazoo Township. He currently serves on the appropriations committee, including the following subcommittees: Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Democratic vice chair), Higher Education (Democratic vice chair), and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Rep. Hoadley fights for a Michigan that invests in people. Rep. Hoadley is a leading voice in the fight for nonpartisan redistricting, reducing the influence of money in politics, and term limit reform. Additional priorities include increasing education funding, lowering student debt, raising wages for working people, paid sick leave, protecting the environment, and ending discrimination.

Rep. Hoadley is a small business owner and serves as president and owner of Badlands Strategies, a progressive public affairs firm. He has a track record of running ballot measures advancing LGBTQ equality and regularly consults on nondiscrimination campaigns across the country. Previously Hoadley has served as Executive Director of National Stonewall Democrats, worked for the Gill Action Fund and managed South Dakotans Against Discrimination.

In the community, Rep. Hoadley serves on the board of Mothers of Hope, the advisory committee to the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, the steering committee of the American State Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention, the National Conference of State Legislatures Elections Task Force, and volunteers at his church, First Congregational Church-United Church of Christ.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Hoadley lives in Kalamazoo with his partner, Kris, and the world’s friendliest beagle, Benjamin.
In his first term, Rep. Hoadley served on the House Appropriations Committee as the Democratic vice chair of the Judiciary and Agriculture subcommittees, as well as on the Higher Education subcommittee. He also served on the House Elections Committee.

Chastity Pratt DawseyChastity Pratt Dawsey covers urban affairs and Detroit for Bridge Magazine, a digital news publication produced by The Center for Michigan based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She joined the Bridge Magazine team from the Detroit Free Press in 2013 after more than a decade of providing authoritative coverage of Detroit Public Schools. Pratt Dawsey’s award-winning work prompted the creation of a blight-reduction program as well as the removal and jailing of several school officials for corruption or incompetence.

She is a member of the Bridge Magazine team that co-authored two books, “Poison on Tap,” the first comprehensive book on the Flint water crisis, and “The Intersection,” a 2017 retrospective on the 1967 Detroit rebellion. Her work also has appeared in USA Today, Essence Magazine and the Investigative Reporters & Editors Journal. Before the Free Press, the native Detroiter was a reporter at Newsday in Long Island, NY, and The Oregonian newspaper in Portland, Ore. She
started her career as an intern at The New York Times. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English
and Communications from the University of Michigan.

Pratt Dawsey lives with her husband and two children in Southfield, Michigan.