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Casperson, ‘titan’ of the Upper Peninsula, dies at age 61

Tom Casperson

ESCANABA, Mich. (AP) — Tom Casperson, a former state lawmaker from the Upper Peninsula who cast a key vote to expand Medicaid and built alliances with labor unions, has died at age 61.

Casperson, a Republican from Escanaba, died Sunday. He had been stricken with cancer.

Fellow Republicans in the Senate called Casperson a “titan of the Upper Peninsula.” He served six years in the House and eight in the Senate before being forced out by term limits after 2018.

Casperson was a conservative voice on taxes and regulation who frequently criticized state agencies for how they regulated wetlands and forests, the Detroit Free Press reported.

He cast a key vote to expand Medicaid during Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration. Casperson was praised by unions for voting against right-to-work legislation, which made union membership voluntary. The bill, however, was signed into law.

“He was a constant champion of the UP, and gave voice to those too often left out of the process.” said Dan Scripps, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission.

For more about Casperson, his life and reactions to his death, see Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Press.

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