LANSING — The incoming Democratic caucuses met today to pick their leaders for the upcoming legislative session. Both chambers of the legislature flipped from Republican to Democratic led. This will be the first time since 2011 that Democrats have controlled the Michigan House of Representatives and since 1984 since Democrats last had a majority in the Michigan State Senate.
In the Senate, Democrats chose Senator Winnie Brinks to be Senate Majority Leader, this makes Brinks both the first Democratic Senate Majority Leader in nearly 40 years and the first women in Michigan history to hold the position. Senator Stephanie Chang had mounted a campaign for Leader, but sources say she endorsed Brinks early in the day – clearing the way for Brinks without a campaign. Current Minority Leader Jim Ananich is term limited and thus unable to run for leadership.
The Michigan House of Representatives will have a Democratic Speaker for the first time since 2011, when then-Speaker Andy Dillon handed the gavel to Jase Bolger and a new Republican majority that would last twelve years. Democrats made history as well choosing the first African American Speaker in Michigan history by choosing Joe Tate from Detroit. Tate will take over with a razor-thin majority of 56-54, meaning he will not be able to lose any Democratic votes if all Republicans vote nay on any legislation.
History was made in the Majority Floor Leader positions in both the House and Senate. The House Democrats chose Abraham Aiyash making him the highest-ranking Muslim in the history of the Michigan legislature. While Senate Democrats chose former House Minority Leader Sam Singh making him the first Indian American to hold the position.