Brian Calley

Brian Calley
63rd Lieutenant Governor of Michigan
Assumed office
January 1, 2011
Governor Rick Snyder
Preceded by John Cherry
Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the 87th district
In office
January 1, 2007  January 1, 2011
Preceded by Gary Newell
Succeeded by Mike Callton
Personal details
Born (1977-03-25) March 25, 1977
Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Julie Calley
Alma mater Michigan State University
Grand Valley State University
Harvard University
Website Government website

Brian Nelson Calley (born March 25, 1977) is the 63rd and current Lieutenant Governor of Michigan. A member of the Republican Party, Calley served as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011.

Calley is known nationally as a leading figure for autism awareness and advocacy. He has received widespread recognition for sharing his experiences as a father to a daughter with autism and for leading autism insurance reform in Michigan.[1][2]

Early life and political career

Calley was born in Dearborn, the third of six children. The family moved from Dearborn Heights to Fort Riley, Kansas in 1982 where his father was stationed in the United States Army. By 1984, the family moved back to Michigan where Calley graduated from Ionia High School in 1994. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Michigan State University in 1998 and a Master’s in Business Administration from Grand Valley State University in 2000. In the 10 years preceding his election to the Michigan legislature, Calley held various positions within the banking industry, primarily making commercial loans. During this time he served two terms on Ionia County Board of Commissioners, both as Vice Chairperson.[3]

Calley was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2006 and re-elected in 2008. He served both terms in the minority, with the 2009-2010 term seeing the smallest Republican caucus in 40 years.[4] In the House he gained a reputation as an expert on tax policy and served as minority vice chair of the House Tax Policy Committee. He was named the 2008 ‘Legislator of the Year” the state’s Small Business Association, the first time a freshman lawmaker has received that designation.[5]

2009 Michigan ‘Illegal Daycare’ Controversy

On September 11, 2009, the Michigan Department of Human Services informed a woman living in Calley’s district that an anonymous neighbor had lodged a complaint that she was operating an illegal daycare center in her home.[6] The woman, who was not a licensed daycare provider, had been watching neighborhood children each morning before their school bus arrived and after their parents had left for work for no compensation as an act of kindness. The department informed to woman she could face a $1,000 fine or serve up to 93 days in jail if not licensed.[7]

When Calley was informed of the incident, he introduced legislation to resolve the issue and differentiate between casual babysitting and operating a daycare facility. He called the department’s actions “a shocking case of government bureaucracy run amok."[8] The incident gained national attention resulting in Calley's appearance on NBC’s Today Show with the families involved. On September 29, Granholm instructed department Director Ismael Ahmed to work with Calley and the Legislature to change the law and prevent future issues.[6][9][10]

Calley’s legislation was signed into law on November 20.[11]

2010 campaigns and lieutenant governor nomination

Calley declined to seek a third term as state representative. He instead ran for the open 33rd district state Senate seat. He faced a fierce head-to-head primary challenge from Bingham Township Treasurer Michael Trebesh. The primary election became one of Michigan’s most competitive and expensive races. Calley defeated Trebesh 57% to 43%.

On August 25, despite securing the GOP nomination for state Senate days earlier, Calley was announced as gubernatorial candidate Rick Snyder’s running mate. Tea Party supporters from west Michigan momentarily contested Calley’s nomination during the state Republican Convention at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center in favor of Bill Cooper, a Norton Shores businessman and former candidate for Congress. Cooper withdrew his name from consideration and publicly threw his support behind Calley. In securing the nomination for lieutenant governor, the state Senate nomination was vacated and former state Representative Judy Emmons was chosen to fill the spot.[12][13]

Snyder and Calley would go on to defeat Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and his running mate Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence in the general election by 58% to 39%.

Lieutenant Governor

Lieutenant Governor Calley takes the oath of office from Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly

Calley assumed office as the nation's youngest Lieutenant Governor and Michigan’s youngest lieutenant governor since John Swainson in 1959.[14][15] Breaking from the lieutenant governors historically ceremonial role, political observers noted the central role Calley plays in the Snyder administration. He regularly travels the state advocating administration projects including the 2011 tax reform package, autism insurance reform and approval of the New International Trade Crossing.[3][16]

In early 2011 Calley broke a 19-19 deadlock in the Michigan Senate, voting in favor of a massive tax reform package that replaced the Michigan Business Tax with a flat, six-percent corporate income tax and eliminated most of the state’s exemptions and deductions. The Tax Foundation, a conservative tax research group lifted Michigan’s ranking from 49th to 7th.[17]

For two years, he attended weekly classes at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University before receiving his Master of Public Administration in spring 2015.[18]


Calley, whose daughter has autism, is known for his outspoken advocacy for autism awareness. As a state lawmaker Calley served on the Health Policy Committee and supported autism insurance reform - unaware his own child actually had the disorder. He stated he first suspected his daughter’s condition during a committee hearing as parents of afflicted children shared their similar experiences.[1][2][19]

As lieutenant governor, Calley is widely credited for leading a successful legislative push to require insurance companies cover evidence based treatments for autism. He signed the bills into law as acting governor while Rick Snyder was on an unannounced trip to Afghanistan. Citing these efforts, Calley was named the 2011 "Executive Champion” by the national autism cure organization Autism Speaks.[1][20]

Electoral history

As Lt. Governor (with Governor)

Michigan gubernatorial election, 2014[21]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Rick Snyder (incumbent)
Brian N. Calley (incumbent)
1,607,399 50.92% -7.19%
Democratic Mark Schauer
Lisa Brown
1,479,057 46.86% +6.96%
Libertarian Mary Buzuma
Scott Boman
35,723 1.13% +0.44%
Taxpayers Mark McFarlin
Richard Mendoza
19,368 0.61% -0.04%
Green Paul Homenuik
Candace R. Caveny
14,934 0.47% -0.17%
Write-ins 50 0.00% 0.00%
Majority 128,342 4.06% -14.15%
Turnout 3,156,531 -2.16%
Republican hold Swing
Michigan Gubernatorial election, 2010[22][23]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican 'Rick Snyder
Brian N. Calley'
1,874,834 58.11% +15.81%
Democratic Virg Bernero
Brenda Lawrence
1,287,320 39.90% -16.46%
Libertarian Ken Proctor
Erwin Haas
22,390 0.69% +0.08%
Constitution Stacey Mathia
Chris Levels
20,818 0.65% +0.46%
Green Harley Mikkelson
Lynn Meadows
20,699 0.64% +0.12%

33rd District State Senator Republican Primary

33rd District State Senator - Republican Primary, 2010[24]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Brian N. Calley 16,881 56.8
Republican Michael Trebesh 12,848 43.2

As State Representative

87th District State Representative, 2008[24]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Brian N. Calley (Incumbent) 29,583 64.1 7.8
Democratic Greg Grieves 14,359 31.1
Constitution Phillip Peter Adams 1,267 2.7
Libertarian Joseph P. Gillotte 975 2.1
87th District State Representative, 2006[24]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Brian N. Calley 21,527 56.3
Democratic Doug Kalnbach 15,504 40.6
Constitution Walt Herwarth 1,195 3.1
87th District State Representative - Republican Primary, 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Brian N. Calley 4,346 43.11
Republican Jim Bailey 1,936 19.20
Republican Susan Vlietstra 1,455 14.43
Republican Brian Reynolds 1,392 13.81
Republican Mark Doster 408 4.05
Republican Tom Lower 406 4.03
Republican Wade Trombley 139 1.38


  1. 1 2 3 "Autism Law Summit Highlights Latest Advances in Insurance Reform |Advocacy News". Autism Speaks. 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  2. 1 2 Demas, Susan. "Brian Calley and the Reinvention of the Role of Lieutenant Governor".
  3. 1 2 "Snyder - Meet the Lt. Governor". Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  4. Nancy Hanus (2013-07-05). "We've enhanced our commenting system for the Crain's community - Crain's Detroit Business". Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  5. 1 2 Celizic, Mike (September 29, 2009). "Mom ordered to stop baby-sitting friends' kids". TODAY Parenting. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  6. "Representative Mike Callton :: House District 87". Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  7. "Michigan DHS director says he will help change day care law that caught Middleville mom helping friends at bus stop". 2009-09-29. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  8. "New Michigan law takes effect allowing 'casual baby-sitting' in response to state officials' hassling of Middleville mom". 2009-11-24. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  9. "House Bill 5514 (2009)". Michigan Legislature. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  10. "– Judy Emmons replaces Calley as Republican candidate for 33rd district | Central Michigan Life". 2010-09-03. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  11. "2010 Official Michigan Primary Election Results - 33rd District State Senator 4 Year Term (1) Position". Michigan Department of State. October 6, 2010. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  12. "Snyder Says Calley Has Smarts, Hustle, Personality Plus Unselfishness". Michigan Technology News. August 26, 2010. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  13. Susan J. Demas (May 16, 2011). "Brian Calley and the Reinvention of the Role of Lieutenant Governor". Dome Magazine.
  14. John D. Lindley (May–June 2011). "Tax, Tax, Tax". Leader's Edge.
  15. Gray, Kathleen (3 December 2015). "Lt. Gov. Brian Calley Getting MPA from Harvard". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  16. Murray, David (19 April 2012). "Lt. Gov. Calley: Merits of autism insurance mandate made sense 'long before it was personal'". MLive. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  17. "Insurance coverage for autism is law". Detroit Free Press. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  18. "Election Results - General Election - November 4, 2014". Michigan Department of State. November 24, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  19. "2010 Michigan Official General Candidate Listing - 11/02/2010". 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  20. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
  21. 1 2 3 "Ruth Johnson, Secretary of State, Department of State Homepage". Retrieved 2016-10-23.

External links

Michigan State House of Representatives
Preceded by
Gary Newell
Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the 87th district

Succeeded by
Mike Callton
Political offices
Preceded by
John Cherry
Lieutenant Governor of Michigan
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