Nov 17, 2022 - Politics

Michigan Democrat's wish list

Illustration of hand holding a long list with highlighted areas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new world awaits Michigan Democrats when newly elected members assume office Jan. 1.

Driving the news: Last week's election flipped both legislative chambers and gave each Democratic statewide office holder a second term.

Why it matters: Buckle up, folks: Michigan's "do nothing" Legislature is no more, opening the door for Democrats to finally implement their agenda.

What could happen: Repealing Right to Work; paying teachers more; forcing polluters to pay; gun safety laws; repealing the retirement tax and raising the earned income tax credit; police reform; codifying LGBTQ+ protections and other proposals stalled under Republican control now potentially have life.

  • Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) offered ideas on social media last week as Democratic supporters pitched wants ranging from health care to transportation.

What they're saying: "Let's take care of all of the issues our governor and Democrats have been talking about for cycles but have been blocked at every turn," Michigan Democratic Party chairperson Lavora Barnes tells Axios.

  • "After spending years trying to eviscerate public education budgets, ban abortion, and overturn elections, Michigan Republicans got what they deserved," Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee president Jessica Post said in a statement.
  • The DLCC raised nearly $50 million this cycle to boost candidates in key races and build a long-term playbook for the party.

Yes, but: Encountering roadblocks that stall bold proposals remains a concern for progressive Democrats, Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) tells Axios.

  • "We should celebrate the historic opportunity to do great things, but the goal is the good work that we can do in majority," Irwin says. "We need to be able to go back to the voters who supported us and said, 'look at how we've made life better for people.' "
  • "I'm very hopeful that we can come out of the gate with policies that are big and meaningful and still doable, even at a caucus that has a lot of moderate members. Those of us who have a more progressive mindset, we need to make sure that we are focusing on those areas of agreement first."

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