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Posted on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

State Rep. Mark Ouimet named Michigan Townships Association 'Legislator of the Year'

By Tom Perkins

When 52nd District state Rep. Mark Ouimet sat at the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners’ table for several terms, he was among the minority Republicans.

But he said his Democratic counterparts treated him with respect.


State Rep. Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township, speaks with reporters last month following the State of the State address in Lansing.

Angela Cesere |

Now that the freshman lawmaker is the chair of the House's Local, Intergovernmental and Regional Affairs Committee and with the party holding power, he said he is keeping that fair treatment in mind as he works with the Democratic minority.

His commitment to working with both sides of the aisle caught the attention of the Michigan Townships Association, which named Ouimet its 2011 “Legislator of the Year.”

According to an MTA news release, the honor was due in large part to Ouimet setting a “courteous and respectful tone” as the contentious emergency manager legislation made its way through his committee.

“I’ve always been in the minority in my political position and I know what it’s like,” he said. “On my second and third term on the County Board, the Democrats treated me exceedingly well.

“And I also know that I can’t walk in a room and say ‘Hey, I got the votes, we’re going to do it this way.’”

Ouimet was elected to represent the 52nd District in November 2010. The MTA represents 1,200 townships statewide.

The emergency manager law was the first to come through the committee, which is comprised of nine Republicans and six Democrats, and Ouimet said he stepped away from the debate and questions over the legislation. Instead he sought to ensure that those on all sides of the issue had a fair hearing and were able to ask questions.

“I put my party affiliation on the sidelines,” he said. “My job is to run the meetings, make sure we adhere to the rules and make sure everyone has a fair opportunity to ask questions and get hearings."

He also noted that he made sure every amendment the Democratic caucus proposed received a hearing, though none were ultimately approved.

“I didn’t say ‘No, we’re not going to listen to one amendment or the other,” he said. “People who have been through the process say that was done different than most other committees. Most committees that have a majority don’t let (the minority party) add in a thing."

Under Ouimet, sub-committees also have an equal balance of Republicans and Democrats, and the chair of those sub-committees alternates between parties, which Ouimet said is an unorthodox approach.

“I catch a little static from some folks but, quite frankly, I think we’ve gotten better legislation this way,” he said.

Nearly 30 pieces of legislation have passed through Ouimet's Local, Intergovernmental and Regional Affairs Committee and have been enacted into law. He said one of the more significant was the Urban Cooperation bill, which gives government units unprecedented abilities to work together.

But Ouimet acknowledged there are plenty of partisan votes and said he doesn’t seek to sugarcoat anything when working with Democrats, but said he tries to work collaboratively as much as possible.

“People are tired of the Republican-Democrat controversy and I just approach things by trying to put the partisan politics aside for what I think will result in good outcomes,” he said. “The MTA saw something different there and I think they’re looking for something different.”



Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 5:25 a.m.

WELL DESERVED!! Mark is a very good man and we need more people like him in government. Mark also knows we did not send him to the legislator to play footsie with the democrat failure who floundered around Lansing for the last 8 years. My guess is it would cost a half million dollars to get the stench of Granholm's failure out of the governors mansion. Maybe that's why Governor Snyder elected to remain in his own home.


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 1:25 a.m.

Ok , I give up--who is this group and why does anyone care---Oh I get it now---this group is collecting money from real people who go to work everyday and make a honest and real contribution to this state and local communties--in other words , these non working idividuals are stealing someone else's money and giving out awards , so the local news folks will think , these folks really do something important===got that-------as I have said on numerous occasions, there is not one whit of difference between a democrat or republican----we need a third party---and soon---


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.

Quimet said," I approach things by trying to put the partisan politics aside." The word trying is not doing but it sounds good.


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

Is this the same guy who said younger retirees can just go back to work to pay their state income tax? Good job in splitting the retired as a voting block!

Nick Danger

Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

Are we talking about the same guy that got his college degree from a diploma mill and claimed to be endorsed by local school superintendents which they denied


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

Good to see Mr. Ouimet has been recognized.


Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

Recognized as what, is the question?


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

"Bill Anderson - Legislative Liaison Click here to view full size picture Bill monitors, researches and analyzes legislation affecting township government and works for the passage or defeat of various legislative bills or amendments. He also represents the interests of MTA members before various house and senate sessions and legislative committee meetings. Bill began working with MTA in April 2001 as a lobbyist after serving 10 years in the state House Republican Programs and Research Office as a legislative analyst and 8 years for State Senator Doug Cruce from Oakland County. Bill was the aide to the House Local Government & Urban Policy, Tax Policy and Economic Development committees. Bill specialized in assessing and tax policy as well as land use issues." So lobbyists love Ouimet???? And that's a GOOD thing??????


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

funny how that aspect of the organization is left out of the article that seems to slobber all over a politician that was run out of town because he tried to steal public funds.


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 2:42 a.m.

It is for the lobbyists. Perspective, Cash!


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 1:21 a.m.

Unbelievable! That's one article I'll avoid and happening I'll try to forget!


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 1:25 a.m.

Lobbyists love the guy!! LOL I'm not sure taxpayers should be overjoyed about that!


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 11:49 p.m.

Interesting association! The public cannot access information on the site! What exactly are we paying for with our township tax money????? Who are the long list of staff listed and what the heck do they do? Are they township lobbyists? Isn't it amazing how every day these little groups become more and more secretive? Meanwhile we keep paying taxes. I'd like to know who is keeping the board of directors of the association locked behind a password....however I cannot access that information. I'll be calling my own township in the morning. I am tired of my tax money paying for groups keeping private, secret information away from us. (MEDC, SPARK, etc) Smoke and mirrors.


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

don't forget the DDA.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

2020, (in response to BBC's question). That's what I heard to. And remember one letter, (blog), is the voice of a thousand people.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

The question is, do the local police and firefighters in Washtenaw County still support him?


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

no, they do not.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 11 p.m.



Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Yes the Republicans are a model of bi-partisanship until it comes to their war on women, unions, teachers, public service employees and the middle class in general. I did like the way that Ouimet said he respected the Democrats but, unfortunately, none of their amendments passed. Give me a break!


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

Elections have consequences. Why do democrats like to complain about this UNTIL they are the majority?


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

Why don't I every read a story about a Democrat that keeps fair treatment in mind as he works in Government?


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

It would take up too much space and time for the daily news. Now you know.


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

I think you just did. Remember the part where Mark said all the Democrats treated him exceedingly well. This is case in point that people read/hear what fits into their world view.


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

God bless Mark Ouimet. A true American and a fighter for his constituents.


Fri, Feb 3, 2012 : 3:14 p.m.

Does he have two birth certificates to make him a true American?


Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 11:49 p.m.

Are the people running that association his constituents? or lobbyists?