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‘You have to deliver’: Democrats take charge in Michigan

‘You have to deliver’: Democrats take charge in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – In January, Democrats will take charge of Michigan’s state government for the first time in nearly 40 years, raising progressive hopes of undoing decades of Republican-backed measures and pushing an agenda that includes a stricter gun control. Contains restrictions and help. For the working poor.

With control of the state House and Senate and the governor’s office, Democrats also face a test of whether their party can deliver on years of promises in a swing state where it must appeal to more than just its base. His performance in 2024 could have wide-ranging consequences for the presidential battleground state: The way voters feel about two years of Democratic control could be a factor in which party’s candidate they put in the White House. Want to

“The most important thing is to really deliver,” said Democratic Rep. Alyssa Slotkin, who won re-election in her central Michigan district in one of the country’s most competitive US House races. “You can say what you want all day.” . You can have an agenda on a piece of paper. But in Michigan, you’ve got to give something.”

The full Democratic control party and a close ally of President Joe Biden will launch a new challenge to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has been mentioned as a future candidate for the White House.

Whitmer, who won re-election last month, must now balance the enthusiasm of a new powerful Democratic caucus with the need to maintain support from moderate and independent voters when the Legislature prepares to reconvene in two years. .

“We care that people are watching. What happened here in Michigan happened only four times in 130 years,” Whitmer said during a recent press conference. “We have a lot of eyes on us. It’s our job to make sure The job is to keep us focused on what matters to Michiganders, not what interests national pundits.

Rosemary Bayer, a Democratic state senator first elected in 2018, said pressure from lobbyists and special interest groups is already too great, and internal debate is underway among Democratic caucus members about how to proceed. Passing legislation that has wide appeal across the state.

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“We can’t do everything at once,” she said. “We don’t want to scare everybody.”

Byrd’s district includes Oxford, the community outside Detroit, where in 2021 a 15-year-old gunman killed four people and wounded others at a local high school. MPs must approve the measures voters are demanding and accept, based on polling reviewed by party.

This means that background checks are required for nearly all gun purchases, gun storage laws and a red flag law prohibit people deemed a danger to themselves and others from possessing firearms.

“That’s what people are comfortable with. That’s what they’re asking for,” Bayer said. “We have to help everyone understand that if we don’t do it right and we end up scaring everyone, we do nothing.”

Republicans have warned that the Democrats’ agenda would be bad for the state’s economy. One of the biggest battles is expected to be over a right-to-work law approved by Republicans nearly a decade ago that allowed workers covered by union contracts not to pay back wages.

The law is seen as undermining organized labor economically and politically. Labor unions, among the biggest supporters of the Democrats, are pushing for its repeal. Business groups and the GOP say doing so would hinder the state’s recovery from the pandemic.

John Selleck, a Republican consultant who advised GOP state House speakers and was state director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, cautioned Democrats that the last time the party held both the Legislature and the governor’s office was in 1983. cells were controlled, it was short-lived. After the tax increase passed, two Democratic senators were recalled and the GOP returned to power.

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Democrats will now have a slim majority, as at that time. They would hold 56 of the 100 seats in the House, all of which are up for re-election every two years, and 20 of the 38 in the Senate.

“There’s going to be a lot of pressure on the governor to figure out how to deal with this,” Selleck said. “It’s not a science, it’s an art.”

Whitmer and other Democrats have said they hope to pursue action on tax credits, education reform and climate change.

The Legislature will also work to implement two ballot measures that voters overwhelmingly approved in November. Expands voting access by allowing nine days of early in-person voting in a state for the first time. The second enshrines the right to abortion in the state constitution and ends the 1931 ban on the approved procedure. In June, Whitmer sued to block the ban from taking effect after the US Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision from 1973. Which legalized abortion across the country.

Democrats also control the statewide offices of attorney general and secretary of state. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson plans to ask the Legislature to impose tougher penalties for harassing election workers and spreading misinformation about voting.

Michigan may be the focus of more attention than usual in the next election cycle. The rule-making branch of the Democratic National Committee voted to move Michigan up on the party’s presidential primary calendar for 2024. Midwest.

It may not matter much if Biden runs again, as he has indicated he will. If he drops out, it could raise the stakes for Whitmer, who has insisted she will not give up a second term to run for president. US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who ran for president in 2020 and is also considered a possible future White House contender, moved to northern Michigan this year to be closer to her husband’s family.

State Sen. Mallory McMorrow, who gained national attention in April after a viral speech on the state Senate floor, said what Michigan Democrats have been able to accomplish could stand in stark contrast to Washington, which has split government with the GOP. A slim House would have split to keep the majority. ,

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“It looks like Michigan is going to be a real opportunity to signal to the rest of the country what it looks like when Democrats are in charge,” McMorrow said.

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