O’Brien, Schuitmaker testify in support of bill naming portion of local highway for fallen Kalamazoo officer

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Rep. Margaret O'Brien, right, and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker testify before the Senate Transportation Committee in support of Senate Bill 108, which renames a portion of I-94 after slain Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata.

Rep. Margaret O’Brien, right, and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker testify before the Senate Transportation Committee in support of Senate Bill 108, which renames a portion of I-94 after slain Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer Eric Zapata.

State Rep. Margaret O’Brien and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker this week lent their support to a bill that will rename a portion of a local highway for a public safety officer who was killed in the line of duty in Kalamazoo in 2009.

Both lawmakers testified Tuesday in the Senate Transportation Committee to support Senate Bill 108, which will rename the Kalamazoo County portion of I-94 as the “Officer Eric Zapata Memorial Highway.”

“With this tragic passing, the people Michigan have lost a leader of great dedication and selflessness,” said O’Brien, R-Portage.  “Officer Zapata was a devoted father, son, brother and uncle who will always be remembered as an energetic, caring, and passionate man.”

Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, said: “The city of Kalamazoo and most of Southwest Michigan were shaken to the core by this violent and senseless act.  It is because of the deep wound that this has caused to our community that I ask my colleagues to support this small consolation to honor his memory and his ultimate sacrifice for the safety of our citizens and rename I-94 in Kalamazoo County after Eric Zapata.”

Schuitmaker expects the transportation committee to approve the bill before the end of this month, where it will then move to the full Senate for consideration.  O’Brien says after Senate approval, she will work to move the bill through the House and see it signed into law.