Snyder appoints judge as chief legal counsel

  Gov. Rick Snyder this week announced the appointments of people for two key posts within the governor’s Executive Office, naming outgoing state Rep. John Walsh to be the director of strategy and Judge James Robert Redford to be the chief legal counsel.

Walsh succeeds Bill Rustem, who retired in the summer after a long, distinguished career in public service. Redford follows Mike Gadola, who was appointed to be Michigan Court of Appeals judge this month.
“It’s essential to have such talented individuals who have a passion for helping the people of our state and the vision and expertise to craft policy and build relationships that will help us accelerate our state’s dramatic comeback and work to keep moving Michigan forward,” Snyder said. “I know I’ve found the right people in Rep. Walsh and Judge Redford.”
Walsh, of Livonia, was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2008 and was a key voice in the work that led to the “Grand Bargain” legislation that helped bring Detroit’s bankruptcy to a close and mitigate the impact on pensions for people who have served the city’s residents.
While in the state House, Walsh served as speaker pro tempore and was a member of the important Appropriations Committee, chairing the Judiciary Appropriations Subcommittee.
Prior to his election, Walsh worked as an attorney and an executive at Schoolcraft College. He also was a member of the Livonia City Council. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a law degree from Wayne State University.
Redford, of East Grand Rapids, has served as Kent County Circuit Court judge since 2003, following a distinguished and diverse career practicing law in state, federal and military courts. He has nearly three decades of service in the U.S. Navy as part of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, including five as a military trial judge. He also served eight years as a federal prosecutor in the Western District of Michigan before joining Plunkett & Cooney PC in private practice and being elected to the Kent Co. Circuit Court in 2002.
Redford earned his bachelor’s degree at John Carroll University in Ohio and earned his law degree at the University of Detroit. Redford also studied at the University of Notre Dame’s London Law Center in the summer of 1984.
Walsh’s appointment becomes effective Jan. 5, 2015, while Redford will begin on Jan. 14, 2015.

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