State Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) worked in a bipartisan fashion with state Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) to pass legislation creating a new zone in the Next Michigan Development Act including the central Upper Peninsula. The act, part of the “Aerotropolis” legislation of 2010, provided for the creation of up to five Next Michigan Development Corps., entities that encourage economic development and investment, job creation and retention, and ancillary economic growth.

“The addition of a zone in the Upper Peninsula will aid in job creation and spur economic growth in the area,” Kivela said. “I am proud to have once again worked with Sen. Casperson to improve the lives of Michigan’s U.P. residents.”

Casperson said, “I am grateful for the Legislature’s passage of the Next Michigan Development bills this week, as the bills will not only provide a real economic development opportunity for the Upper Peninsula, but they show the power and opportunity behind local and bipartisan partnerships that are focused on good policy. Not only was Rep. Kivela a valued partner throughout this process and instrumental in getting these bills passed, but so were the extraordinary efforts and partnerships between Escanaba and Marquette and Delta County and Marquette County, all of whom should be commended for their willingness to look past geographical boundaries and, instead, focus on a broad economic development vision that is sure to benefit the Upper Peninsula by aligning economic policies for the region.”

Before the Legislature broke for the holiday season, the bills passed through both the House and Senate and will now head to the governor’s desk for his signature. Once given final approval by the governor, there will officially be a new zone in the Next Michigan Development Corps. representing Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Marquette City Manager Bill Vajda said, “Marquette and Delta Counties have been economically connected for 155 years. The opportunity to establish a Next Michigan zone will allow the U.P. to benefit from the same modern development building blocks as used by other areas throughout the state. We deeply appreciate the efforts of Sen. Casperson, Rep. Kivela, Gov. Snyder, their staff and our colleagues in both counties for the sustained effort enabling this historic opportunity.”

“I always appreciate the opportunity to aid in the Upper Peninsula’s economic growth,” said Kivela. “I am honored to be able to represent such a wonderful area of the state, and I will never let go of opportunities to make sure the U.P. is successful.”