BLE establishes Michigan State Legislative Board

BLE members in Michigan now have a voice in their state's political ranks.

On February 28, 2002, the Michigan State Legislative Board was founded with the help of BLE members throughout Michigan and all levels of the BLE.

The board has already begun making phone calls to state legislators and learning its way around politics in the state, according to its newly-elected chairman Greg Powell, a member of BLE Division 920 (Pontiac, Mich.).

First Vice-Chairman David Fernald, Second Vice-Chairman Jerry Tibble and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Harris join Brother Powell on the board.

One of their first official actions was to begin the affiliation process with the Michigan State AFL-CIO.

"The AFL-CIO provides watchdog capabilities," Powell said. "They can help to get us up to speed on rail-related issues in the state, such as Amtrak and non-union intermodal yards being built here."

The board has also set up a meeting with a state senator who is willing to give board members "a crash course in politics 101," Powell said. "We are starting to educate ourselves about the political process."

Powell thanked many individuals for their efforts in getting the board off the ground, including all division officers in the state of Michigan, BLE International President Don M. Hahs, International Vice-President & U.S. National Legislative Representative Raymond Holmes, Grand Trunk Western General Chairman John Karakian, CSX (Northern Lines) General Chairman Don Menefee, Norfolk Southern (Northern Lines) General Chairman Larry Sykes, Kansas State Legislative Board Chairman Jim Keele, Pennsylvania State Legislative Board Chairman Ken Kertesz and International Division Executive Staff Member Mo Morrow.

"We had a great deal of difficulty getting started," said Powell. "Without the help of all these individuals, we could never have gotten it done."

BLE members in Michigan wishing to contact their new State Legislative Board may do so by calling Brother Powell at (248) 681-4435, or by e-mailing


2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers