Michigan Municipal League Honors Rep. Gary Howell as Legislator of the Year

Press Release


Matt Bach
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073
[email protected];


Michigan Municipal League Honors Rep. Gary Howell as Legislator of the Year

ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The Michigan Municipal League has honored Representative Gary Howell (R-North Branch) as the League’s 2020 Legislator of the Year.

Rep. Howell received the recognition this week in conjunction with the release of tribute videos and podcast conversations about his work on behalf of Michigan’s communities. View the video and podcast chat of Rep. Howell here and here. The video celebration and podcast conversation are being done in place of an in-person awards gala that was cancelled due to COVID-19-related safety measures.

“It’s not every day that you have a legislator come into state office with more than 40 years of municipal government experience. But that’s what Michigan has in Representative Howell,” said Dan Gilmartin, League CEO and executive director. “Representative Howell’s vast experience in local government has made him an excellent advocate of Michigan’s communities, and he has shown that commitment time and time again.”

Rep. Howell was first elected to represent Lapeer County in the House of Representatives in March 2016. He is chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation and a member of the Judiciary, Transportation, and Local Government Committees. A graduate from both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan Law School, he served for 40 years as a municipal attorney, representing many of the townships, cities, and villages in the Thumb. Representative Howell is a U.S. Army Veteran, having served in Korea during the Vietnam War, and he is a life member of both the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Even though he moved his public service to the state capital in 2016, Rep. Howell has continued his long record of advocating for local government and local control. In his role as State Representative, representing many of the Lapeer County communities that he spent his career defending as a city, village, and township attorney, Rep. Howell is an outspoken champion for local decision making over state preemption efforts, and consistently promotes sound public policy over partisan gimmicks.

“It is a great honor to be named as Legislator of the Year by the League,” Rep. Howell said. “I look forward to working with the Municipal League in the next several years as I complete my legislative career. I’ve long seen the value of municipal government and will continue to fight along with the MML to preserve local control so that local decisions can be made with direct citizen input.”

Rep. Howell’s numerous elected and appointed roles in local government have provided him the background necessary to be a highly effective member of both the House Local Government & Municipal Finance and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees. For the last two terms he has served as chair of the Natural Resources & Outdoor Recreation Committee. He is also a member of the Legislative Municipal Caucus.

Howell previously served as Chairman of the Lapeer County Road Commission, president of the Lapeer County I.S.D. Board of Education, president of the North Branch Area School Board, and president of the Lapeer County Bar Association.

Rep. Howell received the Legislator of the Year honor along with Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield.

About the Legislator of the Year Award: The honor is presented each year to lawmakers for their instrumental actions in the Michigan State Legislature on behalf of local communities. These individuals are recognized for their efforts in the passage of legislation that will benefit local governments or who have fought consistently to support local government.

For additional information, contact the League’s Matt Bach, director of communications, at (810) 874-1073 (cell) and [email protected].

About the League: Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at


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