Michigan senator ready to resign for Trump appointment

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — State Sen. Mike Green is prepared to resign from the Michigan Legislature if and when he lands an expected appointment with the Trump administration, he said Thursday.

“I’d have to. I couldn’t do both jobs,” the Mayville Republican said after telling colleagues he was losing staffers because he might not be working in the state Capitol much longer.

Green is under consideration to serve as the next Michigan director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. Former state director James Turner, appointed to the post in 2009 by then-President Barack Obama, retired at the end of last year.

Green served on President Donald Trump’s agriculture advisory team during the 2016 campaign, and he said Thursday he’s been recommended for the USDA post by congressional Republicans, state officials and various farming and commodity groups.

He expects an appointment as early as June, which would open up his 31st District state Senate seat. Gov. Rick Snyder would likely call a special election to fill the position through the end of 2018.

Green confirmed the speculation Thursday and said he is interested in the USDA job as a way to continue “enhancing rural issues.”

“Rural is what I’ve been part of all my life. I live in a rural community. I understand what rural needs,” he told reporters.

The state director for USDA Rural Development in Michigan is responsible for managing housing, business, electric, telecommunications, water, wastewater and community facilities programs to help improve rural communities.

“Rural development I believe is all about having good jobs for rural communities. It’s not just about agriculture anymore,” Green said, noting he’s been “passionate” about bringing agricultural processing jobs back to Michigan.

“There’s a number of things I think are within our reach.”

Green has served in the Michigan Senate since 2011, working on agricultural issues and establishing himself as outspoken gun rights advocate. He worked in the state House from 1995 to 2001 and previously ran a small business specializing in log rails and custom log furniture.