2017 - present
|Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the 33rd district
January 1, 2001 – December 31, 2006
|Preceded by||Janet Kukuk|
|Succeeded by||Kim Meltzer|
|Born||January 9, 1967|
|Education||Attended Oakland University, Institute for Humane Studies|
|Occupation||Michigan Taxpayers Alliance Chair|
|Website||Michigan Taxpayers Alliance|
Leon Drolet (born January 9, 1967) is a Michigan Republican politician and elected Macomb County Commissioner. He is a political activist known for his libertarian views. From 2001 to 2006 Drolet served in the Michigan House of Representatives. Drolet also served as a Macomb County, Michigan county commissioner from 1999–2000 and from 2006–2008.
Michigan Civil Rights Initiative chairmanship
In the 2006 election he acted as statewide Chair of the successful Michigan Civil Rights Initiative. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative used the petition process to place a state constitutional amendment (Proposal 2 of November 2006) before voters that prohibits governments in Michigan from discriminating against, or giving preferential treatment to, any citizen on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of government hiring, contracting, or state university admissions. The amendment was approved by 58% of voters despite the fact that proponents were heavily outspent in the campaign by opponents who supported race-based government preference programs.
Eminent domain reform
During his final term in the state legislature, Drolet co-authored a state constitutional amendment that prohibited governments in Michigan from using their power of eminent domain to seize citizens' private property and turn it over to new owners for their private use. This proposed amendment was Proposal 4 in the November 2006 election and was overwhelmingly adopted by voters.
Michigan Taxpayers Alliance recall effort
After serving his final term in the Michigan state House, Drolet founded the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, which he Chairs. In 2008, Drolet served as Treasurer of Michigan Recalls, which sought the recalls of several state legislators for their votes in favor of income and business tax increases during Michigan's budget crisis in 2007. After a highly acrimonious petition drive and numerous local and federal court battles, Drolet was successful at obtaining the needed signatures to force a recall election against the Speaker of the Michigan House, Andy Dillon (D-Redford Twp.). Drolet and recall proponents were also successful in having the federal courts invalidate as unconstitutional Michigan's highly restrictive laws governing recall petition circulators. The prolonged court battles, however, had the effect of postponing the recall election from the targeted August 2008 primary ballot to the November 2008 general election ballot. Speaker Dillon survived the recall vote by a significant margin and was reelected to office.
Legal disputes over petition irregularities cited in challenges by Representative Dillon lead to the case of Bogaert v. Land. In the ruling, United States District Judge Robert Holmes Bell agreed with recall supporters that part of Michigan's law governing recall signature gathering was unconstitutional because it infringed on political speech rights protected in the First Amendment. Bell ruled that signatures from voters inside Dillon's district should be counted even if they were collected by petition circulators who lived outside the district or weren't registered to vote. Under Michigan law, those signatures were not previously considered valid.
Drolet received the 2008 Defender of Liberty Award from the Libertarian Party of Michigan. Drolet’s work on the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, eminent domain reform, the Andy Dillon Recall effort, and legislation he authored relating to third-party ballot access were cited as reasons for the award.
2010 State Senate campaign
In 2010, Drolet ran for an open state senate seat in Michigan's heavily-Republican 11th district. The GOP primary pitted Drolet against incumbent state representative Kim Meltzer and former state representative Jack Brandenburg, and was widely portrayed by media as the most contentious primary in the state (political newsletter Gongwer News described the race as, "The Macomb County Chainsaw Massacre"). Drolet was attacked by opponents for his vote against placing a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the 2006 ballot and for his opposition to the drug war. Meltzer mailed literature to voters accusing Drolet of introducing legislation to legalize "gay sex in public" and Drolet sued Meltzer for libel. Brandenburg won the primary and was elected to the senate seat, Drolet finished second and Meltzer placed third. Meltzer and Drolet settled the libel suit when Meltzer issued a public apology for her campaign's untrue allegations against Drolet and paid Drolet an undisclosed sum of money.
Arizona's Proposal 107 management
After his senate primary defeat, Drolet became campaign manager for Arizona's Proposal 107—a proposed constitutional amendment on the November, 2010 state ballot. Proposal 107 would prohibit governments in Arizona from employing affirmative action policies that discriminate against, or grant preferences to, any individual or group based on race, ethnicity or gender in government hiring, contracting, or public university admissions. Arizona voters passed Proposal 107 by a 59.5% to 40.5% margin.
Defeat of 2016 Regional Transit Tax
In 2016, after defeating incumbent Macomb County Commissioner Joseph Sabatini in the August Republican primary election, Drolet lead the campaign to defeat a property tax increase on the November ballot. The proposal would impose higher property taxes on real estate in the Detroit metropolitan area counties of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw for the purpose of increasing regional mass transit spending by $4.7 billion over 20 years. Drolet organized the committee to oppose the tax increase as Treasurer of NoMassiveTransitTax.org. Proponents of the transit tax ballot question spent over $3.1 million on the 'yes' vote campaign and Drolet's opposition campaign spent less than $65,000. The regional mass transit tax proposal was defeated by a 895,306 yes to 913,392 vote.
Drolet is openly gay.
- MIRS. "MIRS Biographical Profiles, Drolet, Leon (R)". Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS Inc.).
- Martin, Tim (June 3, 2008). "More fraud, forgery claims filed in Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon recall". MLive. Booth Newspapers. Associated Press. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
- Dondero, Eric (May 7, 2010). "Libertarian Republican Leon Drolet makes Time Magazine—Marijuana Legalization issue". Libertarian Republican.
- Sabaugh, Sabaugh (November 7, 2006). "The 2006 vote, County Commissioner—District 26". Macomb County, Michigan.
- Spencer, Jack (January 4, 2013). "New Civil Rights Group Joins Affirmative Action Case". Michigan Capital Confidential.
- "The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative". Adversity.Net. November 7, 2006.
- Michigan Republican Party (July 29, 2006). "Articles of Interest 7-29-06". For the Good of the State. Michigan Republican Party.
- Demas, Susan (May 25, 2008). "Andy Dillon recall postmortem". MLive. Booth Newspapers.
- "More legal fights pending in Mich. speaker recall". MLive. Booth Newspapers. Associated Press. August 29, 2008.
- Winger, Richard; Hall, Bill (August 27, 2008). "More Michigan Petitioning Victory". MLive. Booth Newspapers.
- Boman, Scotty (January 24, 2009). Leon Drolet at Defender of Liberty Awards. Libertarian Party of Michigan. Related write-up
- "Primary Challenges to Drolet, Wenke Called a 'Certainty'". Liberty Education Forum. Gongwer News Service. March 9, 2004.
- Smith, Phillip (November 30, 2006). "Feature: Medical Marijuana Gets a Hearing in Michigan". StoptheDrugWar.org.
- Garagiola, Steve; Ali, Sandra (July 30, 2010). "Ugly Campaign Tactic Spurs Lawsuit, Senate Race Turns Ugly". Detroit: WDIV-TV.
- Wattrick, Jeff (January 25, 2011). "Kim Melzer's campaign lied about Leon Drolet, according to Kim Melzer". MLive. Booth Newspapers.
- Selweski, Chad (January 24, 2011). "Macomb candidate admits campaign lied during state Senate bid". The Oakland Press.
- Newcomb, Alyssa (September 22, 2010). "Opportunity vs. preferential treatment center of Proposition 107 debate". Arizona Capitol Times.
- "Drolet takes county commissioner primary". C&G Newspapers. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
- "What you need to know about the RTA millage". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
- "Group forms in opposition to southeast Michigan regional transit tax". MLive.com. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
- "Regional transit tax proposal defeated in southeast Michigan". MLive.com. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
- Kurtz, Joel (2013-05-14). "Poll: Majority in Michigan Now Support Gay Marriage". Detroit News. Archived from the original on May 15, 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
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