Tonya Schuitmaker graduated from Mattawan Consolidated High School. She holds a B.A. in business from Michigan State University and Tonya earned her Juris Doctor and graduated cum laude from the Detroit College of Law.
After completing her law degree, Tonya became an attorney and partner of the law firm of Schuitmaker, Cooper and Schuitmaker. Tonya started practicing law in 1993 where she concentrated in family, estate, business and municipal law. She was admitted to the State Bar of Illinois (1996), Florida (1994), Michigan (1993), and the American Bar Association (1993). From 1997 to 1998 Tonya was president of the Van Buren County Bar Association. She is also a member of the Representative Assembly of the Michigan Bar.
Serving her second term, Tonya was first elected to the Michigan Senate in November 2010, following three terms in the House of Representatives. During her first term she was chosen by her Senate colleagues to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Senate, only the second woman in Michigan’s history to hold this position. She continues to hold this position in her second term.
Currently, the senator serves as chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education and as a member of the Capital Outlay, Community Colleges, and Judiciary appropriations subcommittees. She also serves as vice-chair of the Judiciary committee a member of the Energy and Technology committee.
As a leader, Tonya has fought for the people of southwest Michigan. Her priorities include:
- Creating a better environment for job creation and retention;
- Improving the state’s economy;
- Getting government spending under control;
- Protecting the most vulnerable such as children, seniors, the mentally ill, and the disabled; and
- Maintaining public safety.
Tonya has worked on a number of initiatives such as:
- Voted to repeal the job-killing Michigan Business Tax.
- Protecting seniors from elder abuse and increasing penalties for those who are guilty.
- Legislation that prevents courts from dropping charges of assault or domestic violence if the accused had been previously convicted of an assaultive crime.
- Giving crime victims more rights in the legal process.
- Increasing support for our public universities to keep tuition costs down.
- Legislation requiring the State Police to create and maintain a computerized database for compiling information regarding methamphetamine manufacture, use, possession, and distribution in Michigan.
In addition, Tonya has worked diligently to bring jobs to Southwest Michigan, and for the last nine years Tonya has partnered with area leaders and businesses to host an Expo for Seniors and Veterans.
A community activist, Tonya Schuitmaker has been or is currently involved in the following civic organizations:
- Member, NFIB – National Federation of Independent Business
- Member, SBAM – Small Business Association of Michigan
- Member, 2010 Boy Scouts of America Regional Committee
- Member, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
- Member, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
- Farm Bureau
- Fraternal Order of Police
- Michigan Flywheelers
- Rotary, Paul Harris Fellow
- Paw Paw Optimist Club
- Friends of the Library
- Van Buren County Community Corrections Advisory Board
- Kalamazoo Nature Center
- Kalamazoo Ducks Unlimited
- Southwest Michigan Gun Club
- National Rifle Association
- Daughters of the American Revolution
- Mattawan Alumni Association
- Right to Life
- Kalamazoo Republican Party
- Van Buren Republican Party
- Past member, State Board of Medicine
- Past member, Intercare Community Health Network
- Past member, Van Buren County Community Mental Health Board of Directors
- Past vice chair, State Board of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons
Senator Tonya Schuitmaker can be contacted by clicking here.