By Ralph Echtinaw
Gratiot County likely has its first female prosecuting attorney following the appointment of Laura M. Bever to replace the retiring Keith Kushion.
Bever, 53, an assistant prosecutor since March 2021, was appointed to fill the remainder of Kushion’s term by Gratiot County Circuit Court judges Shannon L.W. Schlegel and Cori E. Barkman.
Kushion’s last day is March 31. Bever will be sworn in at that time and serve the balance of Kushion’s four-year term through Dec. 31, 2024. Voters will decide on Nov. 5, 2024, if Bever will continue as prosecutor.
“She has extensive experience in a lot of areas,” Kushion said. “Laura was in private practice for a while, so she has experience on the defense side. She also worked as a hearings officer friend of the court type matters. The staff here loves her.”
Alma resident Bever was raised in Gratiot County and has been an attorney here since 2008, but not always as Laura Bever. She has also been Laura McCollum and Laura Benitez.
In 2008 Bever (then McCollum/Benitez) rented the downtown Alma office that Stewart McDonald vacated when he was first elected district court judge. In 2015 she moved her office to the Ithaca mini mall.
Bever ran for county commission and won in 2012. Fellow commissioners Jan Bunting, John Renneberg, Scott Showers and Don Zill voted to make her chairwoman of the commission. She won re-election in 2014 and continued as chair until resigning in December 2015.
Bever’s work history includes private practice and positions with Dykema, the 29th Circuit Court and Sarah’s Law Firm, according to the Been Verified web site.
The staff at the prosecutor’s office will continue to include Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Shephard, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Colleen Davis, and Melinda Fowler, Mackenzie Hudson, Jan Donley and Jess Eerdmans.
A search will be conducted for an assistant prosecuting attorney to replace Bever.
Bever did not respond to the Sentinel’s emailed request for comment.
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