BioRaised on a family farm in Antwerp Township, Tonya has been a lifelong resident of southwest Michigan. She is married to Steve and together they are raising their two children, Jordan and Savina.
Tonya Schuitmaker graduated from Mattawan Consolidated High School. She holds a B.A. in business from Michigan State University and Tonya earned her Juris Doctor and graduated cum laude from the Detroit College of Law.
After completing her law degree, Tonya became an attorney and partner of the law firm of Schuitmaker, Cooper and Schuitmaker. Tonya started practicing law in 1993 where she concentrated in family, estate, business and municipal law. She was admitted to the State Bar of Illinois (1996), Florida (1994), Michigan (1993), and the American Bar Association (1993). From 1997 to 1998 Tonya was president of the Van Buren County Bar Association. She is also a member of the Representative Assembly of the Michigan Bar.
Serving her first term, Tonya was elected to the Michigan Senate in November 2010, following three terms in the House of Representatives.
Following her re-election to the House in 2008, she was appointed by her Republican colleagues to serve as assistant minority floor leader.
Currently, the senator serves as chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, vice chair of Senate Health Policy Committee, and as vice chair on the Senate Appropriations subcommittees on Capital Outlay, Community Colleges and Judiciary. Tonya also serves as a member on the vital Senate Appropriations Committee.
As a leader, Tonya has fought for the people of southwest Michigan. Her priorities include-
Working to repeal the MBT;
Creating a better environment for job creation and retention;
Improving the state's economy;
Getting government spending under control;
Protecting the most vulnerable such as children, seniors, the mentally ill, and the disabled; and
Maintaining public safety.
Tonya has worked on a number of initiatives such as-
Legislation that prevents courts from dropping charges of assault or domestic violence if the accused had been previously convicted of an assaultive crime.
Provision that requires child care providers to follow the background check regulations that apply to school employees if the child care service is operated within a school.
Retention of 100 jobs at DSM Pharma Chemicals with authorization of Single Business Tax credits.
Legislation requiring the State Police to create and maintain a computerized database for compiling information regarding methamphetamine manufacture, use, possession, and distribution in Michigan.
In addition, Tonya has worked closely with MEDC on several job creating measures throughout Southwest Michigan. During the past five years, Tonya has partnered with area leaders and businesses to host an Expo for Seniors and Veterans.
A community activist, Tonya Schuitmaker has been or is currently involved in the following civic organizations-
Member, NFIB - National Federation of Independent Business
Member, SBAM - Small Business Association of Michigan
Member, 2010 Boy Scouts of America Regional Committee
Member, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Member, Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy
Fraternal Order of Police
Rotary, Paul Harris Fellow
Paw Paw Optimist Club
Friends of the Library
Van Buren County Community Corrections Advisory Board
Kalamazoo Nature Center
Kalamazoo Ducks Unlimited
Southwest Michigan Gun Club
National Rifle Association
Daughters of the American Revolution
Mattawan Alumni Association
Right to Life
Kalamazoo Republican Party
Van Buren Republican Party
Past member, State Board of Medicine
Past member, Intercare Community Health Network
Past member, Van Buren County Community Mental Health Board of Directors
Past vice chair, State Board of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons