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Who We Are

The Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University is a bi-partisan program that identifies individuals from across the state committed to community service and brings them together to engage in a public policy and leadership curriculum.

The curriculum incorporates practical politics, public policy analysis and process, personal leadership development and effective governance. Since 1992, nearly 600 MPLP graduates have put the skills and relationships acquired through the program to work in their communities and in statewide office. MPLP Fellows gain the expertise to tackle public policy issues as candidates for office, as government officials or as citizen activists. Most notably, 15 MPLP graduates are now serving in the Michigan State Legislature.

This innovative program is directed by Anne M. Mervenne and Steve Tobocman. Ms. Mervenne is President of Mervenne and Company, a governmental relations consulting firm. Previously, she served for 12 years in the Engler Administration in a number of capacities including Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Engler, Director of the Governor’s Southeast Michigan office, Executive Director of the Michigan Women’s Commission, and Director of Appointments for the Governor. She has also held elected office as an Ingham County Commissioner. Mr. Tobocman served in the Michigan House for three consecutive two-year terms (the maximum allowed under Michigan’s term limits laws.) He was elected Majority Floor Leader, the second-highest position in the Michigan House, during his third term. Steve Tobocman is the managing partner at New Solutions Group, LLC and currently serves as the CoDirector of the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force, a 200-plus member statewide advocacy organization seeking to help Michigan respond to the foreclosure crisis. Together, Mervenne and Tobocman use their considerable public service and government experience to guide 24 men and women chosen annually to participate in MPLP.

MPLP is a program of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) in MSU’s College of Social Science. The only bi-partisan public policy and leadership training program in Michigan, MPLP is distinguished as one of only a handful of such successful programs in the nation.


August 16, 2017

IPPSR Welcomes Susy Avery as New MPLP Co-Director

Susy Heintz Avery, a veteran of political campaigns and public administration, is new co-director of the Michigan Political Leadership Program, Michigan State University’s training program for up-and-coming leaders.


May 18, 2017

Co-Director Anne Mervenne to Retire from MPLP as 2017 Session Ends

Anne Mervenne, an Engler administration executive whose passion has enriched the futures of scores of rising Michigan leaders, is stepping down as co-...

June 27, 2016

Learn, Lead, Succeed: Apply for MPLP

MPLP Fellows see state politics – and leadership -- from the inside out

They’re the men and women in neon red – hard hats – gaining an insider view...

February 22, 2016

Karl Rove and Jim Messina Headline MPLP Events

The power strategists behind the winning presidential campaigns of the past two decades were stars of the stage, screen and crowds at MSU’s Michigan...

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Sep 15

Engage Grand Rapids

Courtyard Marriott at 11 Monroe Ave. NW Grand Rapids, MI

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