Bringing Pension Reform to Michigan

ALEC-FreedomWorks State Legislator of the Week

This week, ALEC and FreedomWorks introduce Michigan State Senator Phil Pavlov from the 25th district. Pavlov represents Michigan’s Thumb, Huron County, St Clair County, Sanilac County and parts of Macomb County. A previous member of Michigan’s House of Representatives, Pavlov is serving his second term in the Senate.

Why did you run for office?

I ran to be a voice for the people — to make government work for the people, not the other way around. In my 15 years as a County Commissioner, State Representative, and now State Senator, I have built a strong record of promoting fiscal conservatism and innovative education solutions. I have championed long-overdue reforms that allow my constituents, and Michiganders as a whole, to live freer and more prosperous lives.

In your view, what is the biggest issue before your state’s legislature and your position on it?

Like many other states, Michigan faces mounting liabilities for pensions and retiree benefits. The legislature has allocated large portions of our state budget to ensure the promises that have been made to current retirees are kept. However, more reform is needed to maintain fiscal stability while ensuring the next generation of public employees have attractive and viable retirement options.

If you could “wave your magic wand,” what would you like to see immediately implemented in your state?

I would like to see an education system where all students have the opportunity to choose and access high quality educational opportunities.

What project or law are you most proud of and why?

Dubbed “the most innovative teacher pension reform in the nation” by the Reason Foundation, I was proud to spearhead changes to the Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System (MPSERS). Reforms were necessary to ensure that promises to current retirees could be met while protecting Michigan taxpayers from further growth of the unfunded accrued liability of over $29 billion. The enacted law created a hybrid system with conservative assumptions and competitive retirement options for new teachers.

For the past three years, I have also been working to stop an Ontario Power Generation from building a nuclear waste facility on the shores of Lake Huron. To date, entities representing over 23 million citizens have passed 230 resolutions in the states of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and in the province of Ontario opposing the proposed nuclear waste dump, and thousands of individuals have signed our online petition. Our Great Lakes is one of Earth’s greatest resources and is truly something worth fighting for.

How has ALEC helped you as a legislator?

Relationships dictate results and ALEC has been instrumental in my legislative career through the relationships and connections I’ve been able to make. Many state legislators across the country are facing similar policy problems and have discovered innovative solutions. Learning from both their successes and mistakes has made me a more effective leader in Michigan.

Can you share a fun fact about yourself that’s not in your official bio?

I’ve been an avid hunter since I was a child. I’m looking forward to getting back in the woods later this month.

Each week, ALEC and FreedomWorks showcase legislators who embody the principles of limited government, free markets, and federalism.