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Get to Know Your Legislators!

This Month: Senator Margaret O'Brien (R-Portage)

In an effort to help Michigan chiropractors remain involved in the political process, the eJournal periodically profiles a prominent legislator in our pages. There are a number of changes in the 99th Legislature, including one new member of the Michigan Senate, 42 new members in the Michigan House, and new leadership in the House Republican and Democratic caucuses. This month, we profile a member of the Michigan Senate Health Policy Committee, state Senator Margaret O’Brien of Portage. 

marg obrien headshotWhen legislation or resolutions affecting health care are introduced in the Michigan House or Senate, they are usually referred to the individual chamber’s Health Policy Committee for consideration. Committee members then make recommendations regarding the item before it goes to the full chamber for a “yea” or “nay” vote. State Senator Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage) is a member of this important committee who has worked closely with the MAC in the past. Senator O’Brien is also a member of the Insurance Committee, which deals with various issues related to insurance, including private health insurance, Medicaid, and auto no-fault insurance, among other issue areas. 

Senator O’Brien was first elected to the Michigan Senate in November 2014. After the election, she was chosen by her colleagues to serve in a leadership position as Assistant President Pro Tempore. Along with her duties on the Health Policy and Insurance committees, she serves as Chair of the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs, and Homeland Security Committee, as Vice Chair of the Banking and Financial Services Committee, and as a member of the Commerce Committee. 

While in the Michigan Senate, Senator O’Brien has been active on many issues, including securing funds for Western Michigan University’s Autism Excellence Center, educational reforms, fair taxation, service dog legislation, veterans issues, environmental remediation, safety for children, government transparency, SMART911, and many more. 

Prior to her tenure in the Senate, she served two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives, representing the residents of the 61st House District from 2011-2014. While in the House, she was unanimously selected to the position of Associate Speaker Pro Tempore and frequently chaired House proceedings. She served on the Insurance, Tax Policy, Criminal Justice, Oversight, and Transportation and Infrastructure committees. 

Prior to serving at the State Capitol, Senator O’Brien served on the Portage City Council from 2003-2010. A life-long resident of Kalamazoo County who grew up on local dairy farms, after graduating from James Madison College at Michigan State University, she was hired as a social worker for Catholic Charities. She is also a licensed Realtor. 

Community service has been a passion, and her volunteerism has included AYSO coach, Girls on The Run Coach, Chair of the Kalamazoo County Environmental Health Advisory Council, and Seita Scholar Mentor. Active memberships include Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau, Greater Kalamazoo Association of REALTORS®, Home Builders Association of Greater Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Rod & Gun Club, and Ladies Library Association of Kalamazoo and Schoolcraft.

State Senator Margaret O’Brien was first elected in November 2014 to serve the constituents of the 20th Senate District, which includes all of Kalamazoo County. Currently serving her first term in the Michigan Senate, she is eligible to serve one additional term under Michigan’s term limits law.