State Rep. Thomas Albert of Lowell was selected “Freshman of the Year” by the Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS).
According to MIRS, Albert “was recognized for his work in driving change in the teacher retirement system and on the municipal employment retirement benefit package.”
Albert was selected from among more than 40 members of the Michigan House who served their first year in 2017. MIRS, an influential state Capitol newsletter, selects a freshman legislator of the year every two years.
“It’s an honor to be selected from among so many hard-working, capable fellow legislators,” Albert said. “A critical part of our mission here is to leave Michigan in better shape than we found it, improving the quality of life for our children and grandchildren. That means we must reduce debt and make other forward-thinking, long-term reforms to build a better future. These decisions aren’t always popular, but they’re necessary.”
Albert was a driving force in crafting and approving changes to the state’s teacher retirement system, signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder in July 2017. The reforms brighten the financial future of Michigan’s public schools while keeping promises to retirees and current educators.
Albert also raised awareness about financial problems plaguing local government employee retirement systems. When he could not find comprehensive data about the extent of the problem in Michigan, Albert and his staff did their own exhaustive research – discovering that a substantial number of local units of government had dangerously underfunded employee retirement systems.
MIRS noted that despite voting against the final version of the legislative package, “Albert was a leader” in improving knowledge about the issue.
Albert was elected to represent the Michigan House’s 86th District in November 2016. The district includes portions of Kent and Ionia counties. He is chair of the House Financial Liability Reform Committee.
Before he was elected to the House, Albert served in the Marines and worked as an investor for the State of Michigan Retirement Systems.