GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With their party in control of both chambers of the state Legislature starting in the new year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist are ready to hit the ground running in their second term.
Whitmer said one of her top goals is issuing some relief to citizens, something she and Republicans, who will hold their legislative majority until the end of the year, were not able to reach a deal on.
“We’ll get to work soon as the first of the year happens. We’ve already had conversation with Senate Majority Leader elect-Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) and Speaker-elect Joe Tate (D-Detroit). We are confident that as we go into next year, we’re going to be aligned in giving people relief, whether it is the pension tax repeal or it is a working family tax credit,” Whitmer said. “These are ways that we can help put more money in people’s pockets at a time when too many are struggling to pay the bills.”
November’s election put Democrats in control of both the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate for the first time in decades.
“This incoming majority is eager to be in this position for the first time in 40 years in Michigan and sees that as an opportunity,” Gilchrist said. “…This majority was delivered by the voters because they wanted to see continued progress and in the way we’ve approached leading here in Michigan, which has been focused on problem-solving and being practical and focused on these fundamentals of infrastructure and education.”
He added there are still bipartisan goals that Democrats and Republicans will work together on, including education and job creation.
“I think there’s going to be a greater sense of collaboration, certainly between us on this side of the street and across the street, but also the chamber’s going to be more collaborative as well,” Gilchrist said.
Whitmer reflected on a tempestuous first term that started with a polar vortex in early 2018 and included a global pandemic, a massive flood in Midland and a plot to kidnap her.
“Despite all these challenges — pandemic and 500-year flooding events and having to evacuate a whole city in the middle of all of this to threats to divisive elections — it’s been a lot that we’ve had to confront…” she said. “And yet, we were just reelected by an even bigger margin than when we were elected four years ago and that was pretty historic at the time. … This is an affirmation of the fact that we’re focused on the right things: Helping every person get ahead, making sure Michigan’s a great place to do business and to invest, ensuring that our young people will stay in Michigan. This is what drives so much of the work that we are doing and it will continue to do so.
“There will be crises in the next term,” she added. “Let’s just hope that they don’t even come close to what we’ve just worked through.”