Michigan Lottery commissioner Gary Peters will step down Aug. 10 to take a public policy spot at Central Michigan University, state officials announced Monday.
Peters, 48, was appointed lottery commissioner by Gov. Jennifer Granholm on April 9, 2003. This fall, he will become the third person to hold the Griffin Endowed Chair in American Government at Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant.
Peters, a Democratic state senator from 1995-2002, also has said he's considering a 2008 run against Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Knollenberg of Oakland County. He has been approached by Democratic party activists and officials and asked to "take a serious look" at the race, he has said.
A resident of Bloomfield Hills, Peters became lottery commissioner after running unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2002. Before joining the Senate, he was an executive with UBS PaineWebber Inc. and Merrill Lynch Inc.
When Peters joined the Lottery Bureau, lottery revenues were in a four-year slump and earnings had declined by nearly $50 million a year. Since then, annual sales have increased from $1.7 billion to more than $2.3 billion. The bureau is on track to add $720 million to the state school aid fund this fiscal year, the highest amount ever.
"Gary Peters has been an outstanding lottery commissioner," Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said Monday. "We'll be working on finding a replacement. But we have some time because he's given us ample notice."
Peters holds a bachelor's degree from Alma College, a master of business administration degree from the University of Detroit Mercy and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School. He's working on a doctoral degree in political philosophy at Michigan State University.
In his new position at Central Michigan, Peters will teach two political science seminars and organize two forums each year that address public policy and political issues throughout Michigan.
He also plans to put in place an electronic policy journal that will bring together students, professors and public policy experts to discuss public policy issues facing Michigan and the country.