Lansing — The new executive director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights is starting his job next week in Lansing.
Matt Wesaw will begin Oct. 28. He was chosen for the position by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission earlier in October.
Wesaw fills the vacancy left by the retirement Daniel Krichbaum in July.
With his selection, Wesaw is the first Native American to lead the Civil Rights Department. He plans to retire from his positions as chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and president and CEO of the Pokagon Gaming Authority.
“Having served on the commission for several years, civil rights is an area that I am very passionate about and I’m excited to focus on it in the final phase of my career,” Wesaw said.
Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement: “Matt Wesaw brings a depth and breadth of experience and sound judgment that will be of great benefit to the Department of Civil Rights and the state of Michigan.”
The civil rights agency is responsible for civil rights complaint investigations as well as outreach efforts and educational programs to promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws.
Wesaw previously served 26 years as a state trooper.
Then-Republican Gov. John Engler named Wesaw as chairman of the Commission on Indian Affairs and appointed him to the Community Service Commission. Engler’s Democratic successor, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, appointed Wesaw to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. He chaired the commission in 2010 and 2011.