Raised on a family farm in Antwerp Township, Tonya has been a lifelong resident of Southwest Michigan.
Tonya is a graduate of Mattawan Consolidated High School. She holds a B.A. in business from Michigan State University and a J.D. from the Detroit College of Law, where she graduated cum laude.
After completing law school, Tonya became an attorney and partner at a law firm in Paw Paw. She concentrated in family, estate, business and municipal law. She was admitted to the State Bar of Illinois (1996), Florida (1994), Michigan (1993), and the American Bar Association (1993).
Tonya was first elected to the Michigan Senate in November 2010, following three terms in the House of Representatives. During her first term she was chosen by her Senate colleagues to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Senate, only the second woman in Michigan’s history to hold this position. She continues to hold this position in her second term.
Tonya serves on the Senate Appropriations committee as chairperson of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and as a member of the Capital Outlay, Community Colleges, and Judiciary appropriations subcommittees. She also serves as vice-chair of the Judiciary committee and as a member of the Energy and Technology committee.
Tonya’s legislative priorities include:
- Creating a better environment for job creation and retention;
- Improving the state’s economy;
- Protecting vulnerable individuals such as children, seniors, the mentally ill, and the disabled; and
- Maintaining public safety.
- Controlling government spending
Tonya has worked on a number of initiatives such as:
- Voting to repeal the job-killing Michigan Business Tax.
- Protecting seniors from elder abuse and increasing penalties for those who are guilty.
- Combating the growing heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic
- Giving crime victims more rights in the legal process.
- Increasing support for our public universities to keep tuition costs down.
A community activist, Tonya Schuitmaker has been or is currently involved in the following civic organizations:
- Member, NFIB – National Federation of Independent Business
- Member, SBAM – Small Business Association of Michigan
- Member, 2010 Boy Scouts of America Regional Committee
- Member, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
- Member, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
- Farm Bureau
- Fraternal Order of Police
- Michigan Flywheelers
- Rotary, Paul Harris Fellow
- Paw Paw Optimist Club
- Friends of the Library
- Van Buren County Community Corrections Advisory Board
- Kalamazoo Nature Center
- Kalamazoo Ducks Unlimited
- Southwest Michigan Gun Club
- National Rifle Association
- Daughters of the American Revolution
- Mattawan Alumni Association
- Right to Life
- Kalamazoo Republican Party
- Van Buren Republican Party
- Co-host of an annual Senior and Veterans Expo
- Past member, State Board of Medicine
- Past member, Intercare Community Health Network
- Past member, Van Buren County Community Mental Health Board of Directors
- Past vice chair, State Board of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons
Senator Tonya Schuitmaker can be contacted by clicking here.