Senator Gary Peters
Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Senator Gary Peters has been honored to represent the State of Michigan in the U.S. Senate since 2015. He has focused on uniting our communities by fighting for the things we all agree on — a stronger economy, good-paying jobs, affordable health care, a secure retirement and an opportunity for everyone to succeed. In the 117th Congress, Gary is the Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees the Department of Homeland Security and is the Senate’s top oversight committee. He also serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.
In the U.S. Senate, Gary is recognized as one of the most effective and bipartisan Senators, according to the non-partisan Center for Effective Lawmaking (University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University) and the Lugar Center (Georgetown University). During the last Congress (2019-2020), Gary was recognized as the #1 most effective Senator in the U.S. Senate, despite serving as a member of the minority party – an achievement that hadn’t been accomplished since the non-partisan Center for Effective Lawmaking began collecting data over 50 years ago. The Center for Effective Lawmaking cited a key to Gary’s success was his effectiveness in coalition-building. In those two years, Gary was the principal sponsor and author of more standalone bills signed into law than any Democratic or Republican member serving in either the Senate or House. Some of his bills signed into law include: increasing protections for the Great Lakes and securing historic funding for restoration efforts, increasing our nation’s security at our borders, addressing rising water levels and shoreline erosion in Great Lakes communities, expanding apprenticeships for veterans, improving the VA Caregivers Program and saving taxpayer dollars.
Gary was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008, where he served on the Financial Services Committee. While in his first term and one of the most junior members of the House, the Speaker appointed Gary to serve on the conference committee that wrote and finalized the sweeping Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act.
Gary began his public service as a Rochester Hills City Councilman in 1991. In 1994, Gary was elected to the Michigan State Senate and served two terms. During his eight years of service, he authored and passed more bills signed into law than any other member of his party.
Gary volunteered for the U.S. Navy Reserve at age 34, where he earned a Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist designation and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. After the September 11th terrorist attacks on our country, he volunteered again for drilling status and served overseas as part of his Reserve duty.
Gary worked in the private sector for over 20 years as both a financial advisor and in a variety of management positions with two major financial service firms. He was an assistant vice president at Merrill Lynch before working at UBS/PaineWebber as a vice president.
His combination of business and policy experience prompted then-Governor Granholm to appoint Gary to run the Michigan Lottery. As State Lottery Commissioner, he managed a multi-billion dollar business and consistently raised record amounts of money for the state School Aid Fund.
Gary is a product of Michigan schools. After graduating from Rochester High School, he attended Alma College, where he earned a B.A. in Political Science. While working a full-time job, he went on to earn an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Detroit Mercy, an M.A. in political science from Wayne State University, an M.A. in Philosophy from Michigan State University with a focus on the ethics of development and a law degree (J.D.) from Wayne State University Law School. He also earned a diploma from the College of Naval Command and Staff, U.S. Naval War College.
Gary was born in Pontiac, Michigan. His father, a World War II veteran, worked as a public school teacher and NEA union member for more than 30 years. His mother – who survived Nazi occupation of France and met Gary’s father while he served in Europe during the war – worked as a nurse’s aide at a local nursing home. She helped organize her workplace and became an SEIU union steward. Growing up, Gary learned the importance of hard work and fairness from his parents. He started his own small business delivering newspapers at age 11. In junior high, he bused tables at a Big Boy restaurant, and in high school and college, he worked at a local retailer and on a grounds crew. Gary is an Eagle Scout and in 2019, he was humbled to receive the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.
Gary and his wife, Colleen, live in Oakland County and have three children: Gary Jr., Madeleine and Alana.