There’s good news: Six of 11 Lansing-area lawmakers hold leadership positions in the state Capitol.
And there’s bad news: Most of them are Republican.
Having so many leaders from our part of the state makes it more likely that things of local interest — such as legislation involving state-run universities, manufacturing and state employees — are more likely to be put on the legislature’s agenda. But when the legislature is dominated by Republicans, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be proposing things we want to see.
The Lansing State Journal goes into depth about these positions and how residents of mid-Michigan stand to benefit (or not) from local legislators holding these positions. But to sum up:
- Tom Leonard (R) is the Speaker of the House, which means he leads the Republican caucus and holds the gavel, allowing him to determine which bills do — and do not — come up for a vote.
- Sam Singh (D) is the House Democratic Leader. He marshals the efforts of Democrats in the House and works to advance their agenda while limiting odious proposals made by Republicans.
- Ben Frederick (R) heads the House Republican policy workgroup, which determines legislative priorities for the House Republican caucus and proposes pieces of legislation.
- State Sen. Rick Jones (R) is an assistant majority caucus chairman for Senate Republicans, which gives him influence over determining the caucus’ priorities.
- State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D) is the Senate minority whip. The whip is charged with ensuring that members of a caucus support the caucus’ overall goals.
- State Sen. Mike Nofs (R) heads the Senate Energy and Technology Committee and subcommittee in charge of budgets for the Michigan State Police and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
It’s good to keep these roles — and the influence they hold — in mind if you are their constituent.