Cami Pendell is a runner. She’s done a 50-mile ultramarathon as well as what she calls “a handful” of marathons around the country. Her hobby will help her in her new role at the Mackinac Center as director of legislative affairs. It takes endurance to run bills through the lawmaking process.
Cami is one of the Mackinac Center’s newest employees, but she has long been familiar with our work. After all, she’s spent more than two decades working in and around Lansing in a variety of roles.
“I worked for two Senate majority leaders, a House floor leader and the Michigan Supreme Court,” Cami said. “I’ve worked long enough in Lansing that I got to work for (former Senate majority leader, lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate) Dick Posthumus and then see his children (Lisa Posthumus Lyons and Bryan Posthumus) serve in the Legislature.”
Cami also spent time working as a lobbyist for a firm serving a wide range of clients and policy areas. She crossed paths with the Mackinac Center during her work on electricity choice and eliminating double taxation on businesses.
“I remember getting policy reports from the Mackinac Center in the 1990s that I would scour for ideas to put into law,” Cami said.
For the past few years, Cami has been the general counsel for the Michigan Supreme Court. She did her undergraduate work at Central Michigan University and got her law degree at the Michigan State University College of Law at night while working full time in the Legislature.
She believes she has found the right fit at Mackinac, being able to work on policy and law. That means going on offense for bills that limit government power and fighting proposals that would expand it.
“Opportunities to advocate for free-market policy in a principled way don’t open up very often, and I knew this was a window of opportunity I couldn’t miss,” Cami said.
She grew up in the small town of Fowler, Michigan, on a family farm. Her father worked for a piston ring manufacturer, and her mother had a small hair salon in the home.
“I was always very interested in ideas and politics,” Cami said. “As a girl, I would shush my family so I could hear what President Ronald Reagan was saying on TV. I’m excited to work at a place that really fits my values and beliefs.”