Preserving Michigan Political History

Posted by: Jean Lloyd - March 24, 2017

Mackinac Island was a fitting backdrop for three Delta Tau Delta alumni to gather last fall to preserve Michigan’s political history. A national historic landmark, the island is in the narrow strip of water that separates Michigan’s two peninsulas. Motorized vehicles are prohibited and visitors are transported to a simpler time with horse-drawn carriages and bicycles. The island boasts the natural beauty of Mackinac Island State Park, honored by National Geographic as one of the ten finest in America, and the world’s longest porch with the iconic white rocking chairs at the Grand Hotel.

Michigan Political History

On that porch, Tim Ward (Albion College, 1986) and Brendan Ringlever (Hillsdale College, 1992), partners in the bipartisan lobbying firm Michigan Legislative Consultants (MLC) joined Dan Musser (Albion College, 1986) who is president of the Grand Hotel. They presented Musser with MLC’s 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book for placement in the Michigan Political History Society Library in the Grand Hotel.

Since its opening in 1887, the Grand Hotel has played a key role in Michigan politics, including

annually hosting two of the largest statewide political and policy conferences. Additionally, the

hotel has hosted five United States Presidents. Musser’s family has preserved the history and tradition of the Grand Hotel since his great uncle bought the hotel in 1933.

In 1952, Delta Tau Delta added its own history when the Grand Hotel served as the site of the 61st Karnea. At that Karnea, Martin B. Dickinson (University of Kansas, 1926) was elected president of the Fraternity and Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Carl V. Weygandt (The College of Wooster, 1912), was the principal speaker.

Musser congratulated MLC on their 50th anniversary. “Throughout the firm’s history, they’ve played an important role in state politics and government. Having the commemorative book in the Michigan Political History Society library is fitting considering they are one of the oldest lobby organizations in the state and have had tremendous impact on state policy during their 50 years,” Musser said.

Grand Hotel

Created to celebrate MLC’s 50-year milestone, the commemorative book outlines both the firm’s history and its relationship with the state of Michigan over the past five decades. The main feature of the book provides a photographic timeline capturing many moments within the firm’s history, including bill signing ceremonies since the 1960s and numerous photographs of presidents, governors, members of Congress, and Michigan legislators.

“It has been MLC’s honor and privilege to work with six governors of Michigan, their administrations and hundreds of state senators and representatives since our firm’s founding in 1965,” said Ward, who is president of MLC.

Ringlever was in senior management with the Michigan Senate and Ward was a lobbyist when the two Delt alumni first crossed paths several years ago. Ringlever didn’t know he had a Fraternity brother lobbying him. Sometime later during a round of golf they realized they were both Delt alumni from different chapters. “That’s a different level of connectivity and it is something we cherish to this day,” Ringlever said. “Now that we’re business partners, we carry with pride the fact that both of us are Delt alumni.”

They are also proud to have their book at the Michigan Political History Society Library in a place where so many politically historical and figures have spent time. “Both of our companies, the Grand Hotel as well as Michigan Legislative Consultants, are involved with the Michigan Political History Society,” Ringlever said.