The new Michigan Legislature convenes for its first day of the session next Wednesday. What can we expect in 2017?
Ken Sikkema, a senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, joined Stateside for our weekly political roundup and looked ahead to what he expects to be a "more conservative" House of Representatives in Lansing.
Term limits create a lot of turnover in the House, so Sikkema takes a look at some of the new faces, including the new Speaker of the House, Tom Leonard. The 35-year-old Republican from DeWitt Charter Township in Clinton County told the Detroit News recently that his top priorities are mental health reform, training for skilled trades, and fixing the state’s “broken teacher retirement system.”
Representative Sam Singh from East Lansing will lead the Democrats in the House. Sikkema said Singh "is not going to be a wallflower" and will challenge the Republican majority in the upcoming year.
Listen to the full interview above as Sikkema breaks down what he expects to be the top issues for the Republicans in 2017, and why Gretchen Whitmer's early announcement that she's entering the governor's race for 2018 is a good idea.