Patrick Colbeck

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Patrick Colbeck
Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 7th district
Assumed office
January 1, 2011
Preceded byBruce Patterson
Personal details
Born (1965-10-07) October 7, 1965 (age 54)
Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Angie Colbeck
EducationUniversity of Michigan (BS, MS)
WebsiteSenate Website

Patrick J. Colbeck is a devout Christian, aerospace engineer, author, former elected official, and former candidate for Governor in Michigan. He was born October 7, 1965 in Dearborn, MI. He is perhaps best known for his service as a Republican two-term member of the Michigan Senate, representing the northwestern portion of Wayne County.[1]

Early life[edit]

Colbeck is a graduate of Detroit Catholic Central High School. He later graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering for Aerospace in 1987 and a Masters of Science in Engineering for Aerospace in 1988.[2] He went on to study Life Sciences for a summer at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France.[citation needed]

Colbeck was employed by Boeing as a Senior Design Engineer responsible for components of the Environmental Control and Life Support System and Quest Airlock module for International Space Station. He later provided contract systems engineering services to the Department of Defense for work on advanced simulation system for training military forces.[3] Colbeck then served as a Management Consultant and President of Perspective Shifts, LLC. He launched Tek Made Easy in 2007 to provide SharePoint-based web services for clients. In 2006, he published the book Information Technology Roadmap for Professional Service Firms.[4]

He is married to Angie, who lives with him in Canton, Michigan.[5]

State Senator[edit]

Senator Colbeck ran for office during the Tea Party wave of the 2010 elections. As a member of the Rattle With Us Tea Party in Plymouth, MI, he leveraged significant grassroots support to become the first State Senator elected directly into the Michigan Senate without ever having served in public office in three decades. During his first term in the Michigan Senate, he served on the Senate Leadership Team as the Assistant Caucus Chair. He also served as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and State Police budgets. During his second term, his outspoken opposition to Obamacare, tax increases, and Common Core Standards motivated the Republican Senate Majority Leader, Arlan Meekhof, to make him the only returning Republican Senator to be denied any chairmanships[6]. He later had him removed from all committees after Colbeck attended a Right to Life Dinner in the Senate Majority Leader's district[7].

In 2011-2012, Colbeck led the effort to make Michigan the 24th Right-to-Work state in the United States. Recognized as the "most vocal opponent of anything to do with Obamacare",[8] he led the effort to oppose state-based health exchanges in Michigan and Medicaid Expansion. He was successful regarding the state-based exchange effort but, despite a procedural move that temporarily blocked passage, he was ultimately unsuccessful in stopping Medicaid Expansion which is now referred to as the Healthy Michigan program. He was also responsible for the passage of legislation to expand school choice and he has been a vocal opponent of the Common Core Standards Initiative.

He is a co-Founder and Board Member for the Michigan Armed Forces Hospitality Center known as the Freedom Center. [9] He chronicled his time in the Michigan Senate in his book Wrestling Gators: An Outsider's Guide to Draining the Swamp [10]


The Senator is widely recognized as the leading voice for free market healthcare options in Michigan. He has also been recognized nationally with articles published at, speaking appearances at national conferences and recognition in publications authored by experts in the industry. His articles entitled "Free Market Healthcare Revolution: Why and How" and "The Case for Medicaid Block Grants" provide a free market perspective on reforming healthcare.

Veteran Services[edit]

In 2011, Senator Colbeck co-founded the MI Freedom Center (aka Michigan Armed Forces Hospitality Center) to serve military personnel, veterans and their families. As the chair of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs budget, he implemented performance-based budgets that helped improve Michigan veteran services from among the worst in the nation to #2 in the nation[11].


In 2015, during the middle of an intense debate over how to fix Michigan's roads, Senator Colbeck challenged his colleagues to a debate over whether or not it was necessary to increase taxes to fix the roads.[12] Senator Curtis Hertel accepted the challenge. The ensuing debate was moderated by Kyle Melinn of MIRS News Service. [13]


The Senator has publicly stated that he believes that unregulated Wireless Radiation represents the #1 environmental issue of our day. He hosted a December 2018 forum in Lansing featuring experts on the topic discussing both the benefits and risks of wireless technology such as smart meters, cell phones and 5G networks. [14] During his tenure, he introduced legislation to empower consumers with increased choice as to the source of their electricity.[15]


During a public forum where he discussed the need for the State of Michigan to learn how to live within its means and forego the "politics-as-usual" tax increase approach to solving problems, the Senator referred to his 72k salary as 'fixed income' since it remained constant throughout his 8 years of public service. Despite this statement being true, detractors took issue with him calling a $72,000 per year salary a 'fixed income' believing he was insensitive to people of lower income levels. [16]. “I often use the term ‘fixed’ to describe variables that are constant (i.e. they don’t change),” Colbeck said in a statement. “For example, I regularly refer to ‘fixed’ and ‘variable’ costs in financial discussions. Plus, I like to fix things and we have many problems in state government that can benefit from this attitude.” [17]

Detractors also cite Colbeck for calling for the repeal of the Michigan Business Tax as a freshman state Senator claiming this and other cuts could save the state of Michigan $5.7 billion annually [18]. When this became a House Bill and it was time to vote on the repeal, he voted no citing issues with increased taxes on seniors and property[19].

Much of the acrimony directed at Colbeck stems from his leadership in making Michigan the 24th Right to Work state in the nation [20]. He received the Senator Paul Fannin Statesman of the Year Award from National Right to Work for his efforts. This put a target on the outspoken conservative. During an appearance at an Americans for Prosperity “Citizen Watchdog Training” event where lawmakers and activists talked about the circumstances surrounding passage of RTW in Michigan, Colbeck was given a featured speaking spot. He gave credit to grassroots activists throughout the state and billionaire Amway heir Dick DeVos and former Michigan Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser for providing “air cover…financial contributions” for defense of the law and lawmakers who helped to pass right-to-work [21].

Throughout his public service, he was repeatedly accused of bigotry and racism by his detractors. One of his most vocal detractors was democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed who responded to Colbeck's assertion that he had ties to the terrorist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood with accusations of bigotry and racism. At a gubernatorial forum before 150 members of the MI Press Association, El-Sayed responded to Colbeck's assertion that he "loves all Muslims" with his own assertion that while "(Colbeck) may love Muslims, Muslims definitely hate you"[22]. Despite the audience for the forum, El-Sayed's remarks received negligible media attention. He has also alienated members of the LGBTQ community for testifying in opposition to proposed education and civil rights policies. His desire to see references to gay rights balanced by references to rights of religious conscience in light of court rulings on the topic resulted in significant protests by progressives. Colbeck has also been an outspoken supporter of the vaccine choice community and has hosted a forum of international experts to discuss the risks and benefits of wireless technology such as smart meters, cell phones and 5G networks[23].

2018 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

On May 31, 2017 Colbeck filed to run for Michigan Governor[24] to replace current Republican Governor Rick Snyder, whose second and final term expired in January 2019. [25] Leveraging a strong grassroots support team across the state, he was the only candidate in the 2018 election to file the necessary signatures to get on the ballot without paying people to gather signatures or spending money on expensive petition mailing campaigns. On July 22 Colbeck officially launched his campaign in answer to a call of faith and his pursuit of 'Principled Conservatism' [26]. His "drain the swamp" campaign featured Principled Solutions[27] for better roads, less expensive health plans via better quality care and improved government accountability. [28] In August 2018, Colbeck lost the Republican primary to Attorney General Bill Schuette. Hampered by poor fundraising and internal party politics, he struggled to earn name recognition in most media stories regarding the gubernatorial race [29]. Despite only 21% name recognition[30], he received 13% of the Republican primary vote in a 4-way primary race[31] (i.e. 62% of voters who knew him).


  1. ^ 2013-2014 Michigan Manual: State Senator Patrick Colbeck
  2. ^ Colbeck, Patrick (2016-10-08). "LinkedIn Profile for Patrick Colbeck". LinkedIn Profile.
  3. ^ Gongwer News Service: Biographical Information: Sen. Patrick Colbeck
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  8. ^ Gray, Kathleen Gray (1/12/2014). "Detroit Free Press". Check date values in: |date= (help)
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  11. ^ Based upon quarterly metrics reports filed by DMVA
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  16. ^ Zavala-Offman, Alysa. "Michigan senator calls his 72k salary a 'fixed income'". Detroit Metro Times.
  17. ^ Herndon, Dave. "State senator prides himself on living on fixed income of over $70,000 a year". The News Herald. Media Newsgroup, Inc.
  18. ^ Kelsey, Nancy. "Column From Sen. Colbeck: Michigan Business Tax Needs Repeal". Patch Media.
  19. ^ "No. 41 STATE OF MICHIGAN Journal of the Senate 96th Legislature REGULAR SESSION OF 2011".
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  21. ^ Tramontana, Jessica. "Sen. Colbeck Tells Koch-Funded Group RTW Passed Because of DeVos Funding".
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