Michigan racing lost one of its biggest supporters in Lansing on Friday when Rep. Mike Simpson (D-Jackson) passed away of a heart attack. He was 47.
Simpson attended, or had representation at, many events involving Michigan’s racing industry during his time in office. Prior to this year’s Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association yearling sale, he gave a very good speech pledging his support to the industry and appeared genuinely interested in what was going on.
In 2006, Simpson was elected to the state’s 56th House district. He was in the middle of his second term in office. Simpson had been serving as the chair of the House Agriculture Committee at the time of his passing.
Simpson had been suffering from a rare blood disorder called light-chain deposition, which tends to go after the heart and liver. He announced his illness publicly in October after missing significant time in session.
He suffered his heart attack while returning from treatment at the Cleveland Clinic.
Funeral services were held for Simpson today at East Jackson High School in Jackson. Mich. He is survived by his wife and four adult children.
For more information from on how the State Congress is remembering Simpson, including quotes from political leaders on both sides of the floor, a good piece by the Michigan Messenger can be found here.