capital conference



In 2012 we put together a powerful program focused on placemaking as a driving economic force for Michigan's future. We talked about what the economics of place means to our communities, how to implement placemaking strategies at the local level, and what the League is actively doing to put those concepts and goals at the forefront of Michigan's legislative agenda.

Each year, Capital Conference places you at the center of the action in Lansing, putting you face-to-face with the policy makers and processes that affect you at the local level.


anastorPeter Anastor

10:15-11:30 am Wednesday
Concurrent Sessions
Brownfield Tax Credits: Now What?

Peter Anastor is the Director of Policy for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). In this position, Peter is responsible for developing broad policy initiatives and designing and creating new strategic initiatives at the MEDC. In addition, Peter is leading a Statewide team, working with many statkeholders, to develop a Statewide Logisitic strategy. Professional Background Prior to his current position, Peter served as the Manager of Community and Urban Development for the MEDC. In this position, Peter was responsible for developing and implementing urban and community revitalization strategies for the MEDC. This included overseeing the Brownfield Redevelopment Program, the Community Assistance Team and the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) tax credit programs. Prior to that Peter also served as Program Manager for Brownfield Redevelopment at the MEDC. In this position, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the program including the allocation of brownfield redevelopment tax credits and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) approvals. Peter has also served as a Senior Project Manager at the MEDC where he worked with companies to structure incentive packages to secure new jobs and investment for the state of Michigan. Prior to joining the MEDC, Peter served as a Budget Analyst in Michigan’s Office of the State Budget where he developed budget recommendations for various state departments. Peter also serves as a member of the Michigan State Land Bank Authority and was a former Secretary to the MEGA Board. Education Peter earned a Bachelors degree from James Madison College at Michigan State University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

braderValerie Brader

10:15-11:30 am Wednesday
Concurrent Session: Eye on the Environment-How Green is Our Government?

Valerie Brader is the Chief Energy Policy Officer for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). As Energy Officer for the MEDC, Valerie works closely with the Governor’s office, the Michigan Energy Office, and MEDC business development, and entrepreneur services groups to make energy policy recommendations for the state.
Previously, Valerie was a member at Bodman PLC, specializing in corporate and environmental law. During that time, in addition to assisting companies with projects that brought millions in investment into Michigan, she served as a “judicial adjunct” on a complicated case involving the Clean Water Act compliance of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department – assisting first the Hon. John Feikens and then the Hon. Sean Cox.  She was the youngest person in the country to serve in such a role.  Her involvement with the case began during a clerkship with Judge Feikens that preceded her time at Bodman. 
Prior to coming to Michigan, Valerie was a senior environmental consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, where she assisted federal agencies including DoD and the EPA.  She also worked for Gov. Phil Batt of Idaho as a member of his policy staff on environmental and natural resource issues, and for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality on water quality issues. 
A Rhodes Scholar and published author in both the legal and scientific presses, Brader was the first-ever recipient of the Harvard College Women's Leadership Award and also was a winner of the Pacific Legal Foundation’s national writing competition.  She is the secretary of the Women’s Caring Program, an organization that is dedicated to improving early childhood education for children of working families; she also served as an officer of her church’s governing council and of the Harvard Club of Eastern Michigan.  She is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, has two masters degrees from the University of Oxford, and received her law degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University.  She resides in Pittsfield Township.

caspersonSenator Tom Casperson

1:45-2:45 pm Wednesday
General Session: Taking the Inside Track on Transportation

Casperson served in the Michigan House of Representatives for six years, from 2002 to 2008. In 2010, he was elected to the Michigan Senate, making him the first Republican to represent the 38th Senate District. The 38th District serves 13 of the Upper Peninsula's 15 counties, making it bigger geographically than 9 states. Prior to being first elected to the legislature, Casperson worked for 27 years in his family's log trucking business, including 12 years as its owner and operator. That business, Casperson & Son Trucking, was started by his grandfather. While in the House, Casperson served as an Assistant Majority Whip and as Chair of the House Conservation, Forestry and Outdoor Recreation Committee and Vice-Chair of the Transportation Committee. In the Senate, Casperson has the distinction of being one of only two state senators to chair two Senate policy committees. He serves as chair of the Transportation Committee and the Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee. In addition, he is a member of the Senate's Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee and the Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee.

calleyLt. Gov. Brian Calley

2:30-3:30 pm Tuesday
Capital Conference Welcome & General Session
Personal Property Tax and Much More

Before being elected to this position, Calley served two terms in the Michigan Legislature as a state representative. In that role, Calley served as minority vice chair of the House Tax Policy Committee where he worked with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. Calley is committed to continuing this spirit of bipartisanship to bring an end to the bitter fighting and divisiveness that has held Michigan back for so long. Prior to his time as a state lawmaker, Calley worked 10 years as a community banker and small business lender. He was also elected to the Ionia County Board of Commissioners, serving from 2003 to 2006 as the vice chairman for all four years of his tenure there. Calley graduated from Michigan State University in 1998 with a B.A. in business administration and received his MBA from Grand Valley State University in 2000.

constanState Rep. Bob Constan, House Tax Policy Committee Vice Chair

2:30-3:30 pm Tuesday
Capital Conference Welcome & General Session
Personal Property Tax and Much More

State Representative Bob Constan is serving his third term representing the 16th House District which includes Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Inkster and Allen Park. Constan has been a licensed attorney in Michigan for more than 20 years in private practice. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Association of Retired Persons Legal Network and the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan. Constan is a lifelong member of the Democratic Party. He is the former Chair Pro Tem of the Dearborn Heights City Council and previously served in other positions including as president of the Dearborn Area Bar Association and precinct delegate. Constan has also worked as an attorney with the Michigan Democratic Party on voter protection issues. Constan is a graduate of Annapolis High School in Dearborn Heights; the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; and the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law. He and his wife, Kim, have three children and make their home in Dearborn Heights.

cornettMick Cornett, Mayor, Oklahoma City

11:45 am-1:00 pm Wednesday
Awards Luncheon: Placemaking in Oklahoma City

Mayor Cornett has been at the forefront of the Oklahoma City renaissance.  Under Cornett’s leadership, the City has seen the final completion of MAPS 1, the implementation of MAPS for Kids, and the passage and implementation of MAPS 3.   With Mayor Cornett leading the way, Oklahoma City became a major league city with the arrival of the National Basketball Association. During his tenure, Oklahoma City’s economy has been one of the strongest in the nation.  Standing for efficient government and responsible leadership, Mayor Cornett has worked to promote an inclusive and optimistic vision of Oklahoma City, fueled by bold ideas. Cornett's humble nature, intense work ethic and optimistic attitude have become emblematic of a city that, as Cornett says, "works hard and dreams big."

entenmanJohn A. Entenman

8:30-9:45 am Wednesday
General Session: Tying it all Together: Healthcare, EVIP, Labor & More

Entenman is a labor and employment attorney who has been representing corporations, governments, educational institutions and other businesses in labor and employment matters since 1973. The Detroit-based labor lawyer, who has extensive experience in public sector labor relations, union-related matters and employment law, is a certified labor arbitrator. Mr. Entenman represents clients in proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, the Michigan Employment Relations Commission and in collective bargaining and arbitration. He provides top quality, cost-effective general labor counsel to clients such as the PGA TOUR, the City of Dearborn, Alma Products Company and United Parcel Service. He is often sought to provide legal counsel on wage/hour matters, employment discrimination, non-union arbitration, freedom of speech and constitutional issues. Mr. Entenman is a frequent speaker on union organizing, collective bargaining, freedom of speech, successorship and other timely labor and employment issues. He is also the author of many articles on union-management relations and served as an adjunct professor of Public Sector Labor Law at the University of Detroit Law School.

hodgesMichele Hodges
1:45-2:45 pm Wednesday
General Session: Transportation: Taking the Inside Track

Since April 2001, Michele has been President of the Troy Chamber, a dynamic organization comprised by more than 700 of Troy’s top companies. Established in 1959, it has a 19-member board of directors, 6-member team, and $500,000 annual budget. Its objectives are oriented toward economic development, entrepreneurship, globalization, and leadership. Most recently, Michele has worked to advance the Troy Transit Center. Prior to joining the Chamber, Michele held a variety of economic development positions with the Detroit Regional Chamber. She has served as director of the DDA and as a business development team member for the City of Southfield, and as director of economic development for the City of Eastpointe. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Social Science (Urban Planning) from Michigan State University. She is a recent graduate of the Michigan Political Leadership Program, and the Institute for Organization Management, in addition to earning multiple training certificates. She sits on numerous boards and committees, is a member of the 2007 Crain’s Detroit Business 40 under 40 class, was identified as a Leader/Innovator by the Great Lakes IT Report, one of Michigan’s Most Influential Women by Inforum and Deloitte, and Michigan Chamber Professional of the Year by the MACP.

hornerDebra Horner

10:15-11:30 am – Concurrent Sessions
Clear and Present Data: Statewide Findings from the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS)

Debra joined CLOSUP in September 2008. She received her doctorate in Political Science from the University of Michigan and has experience with survey research projects both in academia and the private sector. Her primary areas of research center on political attitudes and political participation with her dissertation research focusing on the concept of political interest and the different ways we can think about individuals' engagement in political processes. Debra is also Voter Service Chair for the League of Women Voters Oakland Area and an active volunteer at her three children's schools.

kolbChris Kolb
10:15-11:30 am Wednesday
Eye on the Environment: How Green is Our Government?

Chris Kolb assumed the presidency of the Michigan Environmental Council on Jan. 1, 2009. An environmental champion in the legislature and a veteran of the environmental management field, Kolb was one of the legislature’s most consistent and vigorous defenders of clean water, clean air and public health during his six years as State Representative from the 53rd District. He was instrumental in important environmental legislation, including joint planning commissions, land bank authorities, lead poisoning prevention for children, regulation of dangerous polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs), establishment of a fund to help clean up leaking underground storage tanks, and numerous land use initiatives. He also served on the Michigan Land Use Leadership Council. He is a former Ann Arbor City Councilmember and environmental management consultant.

nofsSen. Mike Nofs

2:30-3:30 pm Tuesday
Capital Conference Welcome & General Session
Personal Property Tax and Much More

Senator Mike Nofs was recently re-elected by the citizens of the 19th Senate district for his first full term. The 19th District includes all of Calhoun County and most of Jackson County. Senator Nofs serves as Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee and Vice Chair of the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. He also serves as a member of the Economic Development Committee and the Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee. Prior to being elected to the Senate in a 2009 special election, Mike Nofs served 6 years in the State House of Representatives where his ability to work across party lines earned him the respect of his colleagues and the distinction of having over a dozen bills signed into law including the rewrite of the Michigan Telecommunications Act. Mike was also instrumental in the passage of the Michigan Energy Plan package of bills.

skubikTim Skubick

3:15-4:30 pm- General Session-Wednesday
Media Officials Talk Politics

Tim Skubick is anchor and producer of the weekly public TV series "Off the Record," which has been on Michigan public television stations since 1972 and has a weekly audience of 100,000 viewers. He also anchors the statewide investigative documentary series “Michigan At Risk,” as well as State of the State addresses and other Michigan election and political specials produced by WKAR-TV in East Lansing. Skubick covers the state Capitol for a variety of other media outlets including 66 radio stations through the Michigan Radio Network. He writes a weekly political column for 22 statewide newspapers and is in high demand on the public speaking circuit around the state.

szurpickiSarah Szurpicki
1:45-2:45 pm Wednesday
General Session: Transportation: Taking the Inside Track

Sarah Szurpicki is the Project Coordinator for the Michigan Municipal League’s Let’s Save Michigan campaign, devoted to engagement and advocacy for cities in Michigan.  Sarah served as the Director of the Great Lakes Urban Exchange (GLUE), an organization she co-founded, for four years.  She is a consultant with the New Solutions Group, LLC, a Detroit-based firm that assists organizations with policy, advocacy, strategic planning, and program implementation for the public good. In 2009, Sarah was recognized as one of Crain’s Detroit Business’s “20 in their 20s”, and chosen as a Next American City Vanguard.  In January 2010, Sarah was a member of a coalition that released the Detroit Declaration, a set of 12 principles and a call to action that will set Detroit on a path to prosperity.  She was selected to participate in the Great Lakes Leadership Academy Leadership Advancement Program in the class of 2011-2012.


Kara Wood

10:15-11:30 am-Wednesday
Brownfield Tax Credits: Now What?

Kara Wood is the Economic Development Director for the City of Grand Rapids where she leads the City’s economic development efforts and administers the Economic Development Corporation, Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, SmartZone Local Development Financing Authority and Corridor Improvement Authorities. She interacts with and guides community business leaders in the positive advancement of the city’s economic growth through complex public private partnerships, and assists developers in implementing a wide variety of programs, including brownfield redevelopment, and other development finance incentives. She has worked collaboratively with other public and private partners to negotiate very challenging urban redevelopment projects and the financial incentives related to the projects. She has innovatively worked with tax incentives, grants and tax increment financing to leverage private investment and the creation of jobs which leads to a better quality of life for Grand Rapids residents. In addition, she advocates for legislative issues to support economic development in the West Michigan region. Recent legislative issues include the transformation of the state’s brownfield redevelopment program and the Next Michigan Development Corporation Act. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration from Michigan State University, an Economic Development Finance Professional Certification from the National Development Council and is a Certified Economic Developer. She also holds a Masters of Public Administration from Western Michigan University. She serves on a variety of professional boards and associations such as the Michigan Municipal League Land Use and Economic Development Committee, Michigan Magnet Fund Board of Directors and the Michigan Economic Development Association Board.



Regional Roundtables

On March 20, 2012, the League is again offering the Regional Roundtables, a free opportunity to get together with other members from your region. These sessions will take place immediately following the Welcoming General Session at Capital Conference, from 3:45-5:15 pm, in Lansing. Don’t miss this chance to participate in community updates, hear a hot topic speaker, enter your community’s project in the Community Excellence Awards, and more!

To find out more about your region or the League’s upcoming Region Meet Ups, visit

Community Excellence Awards
Enter on March 20, 2012, at your Regional Roundtable!

We’ve simplified the presentation process to keep this program accessible, as well as relocated the first round to your Regional Roundtable at Capital Conference. All Community Excellence Award (CEA) presentations will be limited to an “elevator pitch” format and will be presented at their Roundtable on March 20, 2012. Communities entering will have five minutes to passionately present their project—no videos, no PowerPoints, nothing but your project and power of persuasion! 

Regional winners, who will be voted on by their peers on March 20, will compete at our Annual Convention and typically prepare more spectacular videos and/or PowerPoint presentations for that venue.

Click here for the online CEA entry form.

Legislative Reception
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
4:30-6:30 pm

This reception is an exceptional opportunity to network with senators, representatives, key legislative staff members, and other top state officials and hear their perspectives on state issues in a relaxed setting.

Michigan Women in Municipal Government Eggs & Issues Breakfast
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
7:30-8:30 am
Cost: $25

This is a chance for local government officials to share ideas and solutions and hear updates on issues pertinent to municipalities. Use the Delegate Registration Form to reserve your ticket.  Tickets must be paid in advance.

Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials Annual Meeting
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
1:00-1:45 pm




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