Longtime House Appropriations Chair Don Gilmer dies

    Don Gilmer | Facebook

    Former longtime Michigan House Appropriations Chair Don Gilmer died Monday at the age of 73, WKZO-FM and other media reported.

    The Kalamazoo-area Republican served in the House from 1976 until 1998 and was a key player in the passage of Proposal A, which overhauled property taxes and school funding in Michigan. Gilmer also served as Gov. John Engler’s lottery director and budget director after leaving the House.

    A moderate Republican, Gilmer forged friendships on both sides of the aisle. Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm named him to her blue-ribbon fiscal panel in 2007 as the state faced a roughly $2 billion deficit during its decade-long recession, along with former Gov. William Milliken and former U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz. Gilmer was in the chamber during the brief, partial shutdown that followed after Granholm was initially unable to strike a deal with the GOP Senate and Democratic House.

    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.


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