Sen. Pavlov and guest honor Michigan’s fallen soldiers

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, and Master Sgt. Chris Smith, director of the St. Clair Department of Veterans Affairs, paid tribute in the Senate on Thursday to those who gave their lives defending America.

Smith was Pavlov’s guest for the Michigan Senate’s 23rd Annual Memorial Day Service. Each year, the ceremony honors the service members who fought with bravery to defend the nation’s freedom.

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Editor’s note: Click the image for a print-quality version. This photo and others are also available by visiting www.SenatorPhilPavlov.com/photowire.

***PHOTO ADVISORY*** Pavlov, Kowall present lapel pin to Vietnam veteran Jack Beattie

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, and Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, on Tuesday presented a Vietnam veteran lapel pin to Chief Petty Officer Jack Beattie at the Michigan Capitol.

The symbolism attached to the Vietnam veteran lapel pins is significant. The pins honor all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period.

Top photo caption: Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, pins a Vietnam veteran lapel pin on the coat of Chief Petty Officer Jack Beattie in the office of Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, at the Michigan Capitol. Beattie served in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1991 and is one of the survivors of the June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.

Bottom photo caption: Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, and Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, on Tuesday presented a Vietnam veteran lapel pin to Chief Petty Officer Jack Beattie (center left) at the Michigan Capitol. Capt. Luke Clyburn (left) joined the senators for the presentation to Beattie, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1991 and is one of the survivors of the June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.

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Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of these photos and other Pavlov photos, click the images or visit www.SenatorPhilPavlov.com/Photowire.

Sen. Pavlov introduces MPSERS reform

LANSING, Mich. — Senate Education Committee Chairman Phil Pavlov on Tuesday introduced legislation to reform to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) and solve its $29.1 billion unfunded liability.

“Michigan has promised secure retirement benefits to more than 400,000 public school teachers and staff statewide, but the pension system we built to do that is failing them,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Over the last two decades, the school retirement pension system has racked up nearly $30 billion in debt. Despite our efforts to control the costs and reduce this debt, it continues to get worse and the retirement costs are already impacting our schools and threatening resources meant for the classroom to teach our children.”

“I am introducing long overdue reforms that will ensure our promises are kept to our school employees and retirees and also protect vital funding for educating our children.”

Senate Bill 401 would place all public school employees hired after Sept. 30, 2017 into a defined contribution retirement plan modeled after the plan that is offered to state employees hired since 1997.

Under the reform, a public school employee would have their employer contribute 4 percent of the employee’s wages into a 401k plan. The employee could then contribute another 3 percent, which would be matched by the employer — for a total of 10 percent each year. The employer match would be covered by the state.

“By putting MPSERS on the path to solvency, the reform will ensure that the state can meet 100 percent of the promises made to retirees and current school employees,” Pavlov said. “Current and retired public school employees who dedicated their lives to the critical task of educating our children will see no change to their constitutionally protected pensions.”

Pavlov said that the plan also benefits new, younger school employees by giving them a modern retirement that they can control and rely on.

“My reform would provide new teachers and school employees with a retirement benefit that is flexible and fully portable,” Pavlov said. “New employees would have the opportunity to own and build their retirement nest egg on their terms. The retirement accounts would be professionally managed and invested according to each employee’s individual goals.

“Most importantly, the reform would improve retirement security for all teachers, eliminate all financial risk to taxpayers over time and create the opportunity to put more money into the classroom. Frankly, we cannot afford not to reform MPSERS.”

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Reminder: Kowall and Pavlov honoring Vietnam era veterans at Sandusky event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Phil Pavlov on Monday reminded interested parties of a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Saturday, May 27 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

The “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” ceremony in Sandusky will be part of the “Moving Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial” event hosted by the students of Sandusky Community Schools over Memorial Day weekend under the direction of Sandusky High School teacher George Lasecki.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, are hosting the lapel pinning to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. The lawmakers encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the lapel pinning, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, in front of the Moving Wall, which will be located in front of the Sanilac County Courthouse, 60 W. Sanilac Road, in Sandusky.

RSVP to the Sanilac County Department of Veterans Affairs at 810-648-0212 or by email at director@sanilaccountyva.org or clerk@sanilaccountyva.org.

Kowall and Pavlov will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

The Moving Wall is a half-size replica of the Washington D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It has been touring the country from April to November since 1984. Sandusky students are bringing the Moving Wall to Sanilac County to honor and respect those who made the ultimate sacrifice through remembrance and education. Find out more about the students’ efforts at
Facebook.com/TheMovingWallSanduskyMichigan2017.

The pre-program ceremony will include the Moving Wall on display and a static military vehicle display.

The event also will include:
•    Posting of the colors by the Croswell American Legion Cecil Service Post 255;
•    The national anthem sung by Sandusky High School graduate Amanda Mrozek;
•    Invocation given by Don Rudy, Sandusky Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2945 and Russell Wakefield Post 369 of the American Legion;
•    POW/MIA Missing Man table by Sandusky High School graduate Brandon Hughes;
•    Service Medley by the Sandusky High School Saxophone Quartet; and
•    Refreshments provided by Croswell American Legion Cecil Service Post 255 and Sandusky VFW Auxiliary 2945.

Kowall has held numerous events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including VFW/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.