Until recently, I knew nothing about Patrick Colbeck.

I still know very little about him except for one thing … he is responsible for achieving the once unthinkable, a measure of freedom for workers in Michigan through the just-enacted right to work law.

As reported by Reuters, Insight: How Republicans engineered a blow to Michigan’s powerful unions:

As a trained aerospace engineer, Patrick Colbeck applied his penchant for data analysis and “systematic approach” to his new job in early 2011: a Michiganstate senator, recently elected and keen to create jobs in the faded industrial powerhouse….

From outside Michigan Republican circles, it appeared that the Republican drive to weaken unions came out of the blue – proposed, passed and signed in a mere six days.

But the transformation had been in the making since March 2011 when Colbeck and a fellow freshman, state Representative Mike Shirkey, first seriously considered legislation to ban mandatory collection of union dues as a condition of employment in Michigan. Such was their zeal, they even went to union halls to make their pitch and were treated “respectfully,” Colbeck said.

The upstarts were flirting with the once unthinkable, limiting union rights in a state that is the home of the heavily unionized U.S. auto industry and the birthplace of the nation’s richest union, the United Auto Workers….

They built from the grassroots, bottom up, rather than from Snyder and top leaders in the legislature. If anything, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville was viewed as an obstacle because he represents a labor-friendly area.

Read the whole thing.

I don’t know enough about Colbeck to say he is the next big thing, but based on what he achieved and how he achieved it, he is someone to watch for future higher office.

He certainly will be watched and targeted by the unions, so we’ll be watching out for him as well as we serve our guard duty on the wall.