wrote that lawyers are ‘‘always in a hurry.’’
Some lawyers choose non-traditional careers to avoid the fast-paced work
days of the legal profession. Not Gary Peters. Gary Peters is a hard-working,
high-energy lawyer who has excelled in more than one non-traditional career
since graduating from law school.
has been a member of the State Bar of Michigan since 1989. A graduate
of Wayne State University Law School (J.D. 1989), Alma College (B.A. Magna
Cum Laude 1980, Phi Beta Kappa), and the University of Detroit (M.B.A.
1984). Peters has also taught Finance at Wayne State University and Strategic
Management and Business Policy courses at Oakland University.
lifelong resident of Oakland County, Peters is currently Commissioner
of the Michigan Bureau of State Lottery. He is married to Colleen Ochoa
and has three children: Gary Jr., Madeleine, and Alana.
Jennifer M. Granholm appointed Peters to his current position effective
April 9, 2003. As Lottery Commissioner, Gary Peters is the CEO of a
$1.6 billion business with 180 employees. The mission of the Michigan
Lottery is to provide financial support to K–12 public education.
Last year, the Lottery generated in excess of $600 million for the state
School Aid Fund. Peters is currently implementing new games and more
efficient methods of delivering products in an effort to enhance the
Lottery’s contribution to public education. For example, Michigan
Lottery products are now found at horse racing tracks and at Class C
to becoming Lottery Commissioner, Peters served as a senior policy
and financial analyst for the Michigan Department of Treasury, served
two terms in the Michigan Senate, and was an accomplished financial
manager in the private sector. Peters was one of the youngest resident
managers in company history when he became Vice President for Investments
at Merrill Lynch, Inc. in Rochester Hills in 1989. Peters also served
on arbitration panels for the National Association of Securities Dealers
and the New York Stock Exchange.
Peters served in the Michigan Senate from 1995 to 2002. He represented
one of the state’s most diverse senate districts. A true microcosm
of Michigan, Peters’ Oakland County district contained nearly
every racial, ethnic, and religious group in Michigan. His senate district
contained areas of great wealth and great poverty. Peters enjoyed and
celebrated the diversity of this complex constituency.
the state senate, Peters was chosen by his colleagues to chair his party’s
caucus. He also served as Vice Chair of the Finance, Education, Judiciary,
and Natural Resources Committees. He was a member of the Michigan Law
Revision Commission and served on the Michigan Sentencing Commission.
led many successful legislative battles; he fought to ban directional
slant oil drilling in the Great Lakes and supported many law enforcement
initiatives. For example, after learning from police officers about
the extreme degree of danger an officer encounters when dealing with
criminals wearing body armor, Peters led the fight to criminalize the
possession of body armor by convicted felons. Peters also wrote the
law that initially established penalties for false threats of chemical
and biological weapons such as anthrax—and did so before the horrific
events of September 11, 2001.
legal education assisted him greatly in his duties as a state senator.
‘‘Obviously, the ability to interpret and understand the
implications of particular legislative language was essential to my
ability to effectively comprehend and foresee the impact of the legislation
before the senate,’’ Peters said. ‘‘I was able
to judge for myself what proposed legislation would or would not accomplish
and how particular legislative language might advance my legislative
goals. In my opinion, my legal education made me a more effective legislator
in terms of proposing amendments to legislation and seeing the big picture
of how a particular piece of bill fit in the grand scheme of Michigan
former senate colleagues describe Peters as an effective legislator and
a lawyer who upholds the finest ideals of the State Bar. Michigan Court
of Appeals Judge Bill Schuette served with Peters in the Michigan Senate.
Judge Schuette said, ‘‘Although Gary and I were from different
political parties and had, at times, sharply different views on major
issues of the day, I never questioned his integrity or his ability. Gary
Peters is a fine representative of the State Bar.’’ Senate
Minority Leader Bob Emerson said, ‘‘Gary Peters is passionate
about public service and an effective advocate for many issues.’’
his many legislative accomplishments, Peters was recently awarded the
prestigious ‘‘Champion of Justice’’ award by
the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association. The Michigan Fraternal Order
of Police named him ‘‘Public Servant of the Year’’
and the Michigan Deputy Sheriffs Association presented him with their
‘‘Star Award.’’ Peters was the Michigan Sierra
Club’s ‘‘Environmentalist of the Year’’
and received the ‘‘Outstanding Legislator Award’’
from the Michigan Association of School Psychologists.
volunteered for military service as another opportunity to ‘‘give
back’’ to his country. Currently, he holds a commission
as a Lieutenant Commander and a Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist in
the United States Naval Reserve. His reserve duty has included time
in the Persian Gulf supporting Operation Southern Watch, and he served
overseas during increased military activity following the September
11th terrorist attacks.
Peters’ post-law school career has not taken a well traveled path.
His strong commitment to public service, however, is in keeping with the
most traditional and noblest undertakings of our profession.