WMU News

Former House speaker Perricone discusses term limits

April 25, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Michigan's 1992 term-limits law turned the Lansing political scene on its head, fundamentally changing the way businesses must relate to legislators, according to former Michigan House Speaker Chuck Perricone, who will address the issue at a Western Michigan University workshop Friday, May 10.

Perricone, a WMU alumnus, will present "Term Limits Can Work in Your Favor" as part of the Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Series. The free program, which includes a continental breakfast, will begin at 7:30 a.m. in Room 2150 of Schneider Hall on the WMU campus. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the Haworth College of Business dean's office at (616) 387-5050.

"The implementation of voter-initiated term limits has had a huge impact on how business is done under the dome. They have thrown open the doors on a once cloistered society," says Perricone. "Traditional deference to senior members is out the window. Moneyed interests have little leverage. With the concept of 'you owe me' fading fast, legislative success now depends on the merits of an issue and how it is presented. The influx of wide-eyed citizen legislators presents unprecedented opportunities for grassroots influence."

Perricone is chief executive officer of New Era Consulting, a government-relations firm that provides legislative strategies, contribution planning, issue development and advocacy, and crisis management services. A cum laude graduate of WMU's Haworth College of Business, Perricone worked in accounting for Price Waterhouse and Plante & Moran before making a successful run for the Michigan House of Representatives in 1994. In his first term, he was elected chair of the House Tax Policy Committee, and he subsequently served as assistant Republican leader of the House and finance chair. In 1999, Perricone was elected speaker of the House, ushering 64 new members into a chamber of 110--the first major effect of term limits. That year, WMU granted him an honorary doctor of public service degree. He left the House in 2000 because of term limits.

The Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Series at the Haworth College of Business features WMU faculty and alumni speaking about their research and teaching on a variety of timely business issues. The company and college formed the partnership two years ago to offer monthly presentations that are free and open to the public.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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