GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Michigan House of Representatives Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) sat down with 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday to discuss a number of issues he has had to deal with -- and some that are still on his plate.
One topic was the investigation into former state Rep. Roy Schmidt's shady party switch, which may be over. A one-person grand jury in Ingham County came concluded there was nothing in the last-minute switch and election scheme to pay a phony opponent to take a dive at the polls that would lead to a prosecution.
When Schmidt wanted to switch to the Republican party, Bolger was all for it. But it turned out to be one of the most talked-about political blunders in the state.
In the end, Bolger admitted that some serious mistakes were made -- though he maintains at its roots the idea was not as nefarious as it sounds.
He said Schmidt wanted to switch parties because he felt he couldn't voice a dissenting opinion to the Democratic Party. The mistake, Bolger said, was getting caught up in politics.
Last week, Bolger posted on his Facebook page, "I've made mistakes, learned from them, taken responsibility and apologized. I'm moving forward."
Wednesday, he told 24 Hour News 8 it's too early to think about his future in politics.
Instead, he wants to focus on the work of the House and the State of Michigan.
Among the issues on the table is the contentious expansion of Medicaid to up to 500,000 more uninsured people in Michigan.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has been trying to push reluctant senators to go along with the plan, though many are vehemently opposed to the underlying Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Bolger readily admits he has problems with health care reform but says expanding Medicaid makes sense despite his reservations about the ACA.
"We're left to deal with the law of the land and how we best protect Michigan's taxpayers and serve Michigan's patients," he said.
He said the expansion will serve both.
But he's is not the only voice in the Republican Party. Many opponents of the expansion are in the Senate, where the bill is pending. A vote is expected next week.
The expansion is one of the main topics on the slate for 24 Hour News 8's Thursday evening life town hall with Gov. Snyder. "The State of Michigan: Your Money, Your Voice" airs from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on WOOD TV8.
Questions for the governor can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or here at the ReportIt section of woodtv.com.
Bolger's full interview with 24 Hour News 8 Political Reporter Rick Albin can be seen on an upcoming episode of To The Point.
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