LANSING, Mich. – Following the Democrats big win during the midterm election, where they gained majorities in both chambers, there are two groundbreaking picks regarding leadership.
Grand Rapids State Senator Winnie Brinks becomes the first-ever female majority leader, and in the state house, Detroit State Rep Joe Tate is expected to be the first-ever Black person in that position.
One hundred years ago, Eva McCall Hamilton of Grand Rapids served as the first woman in the state legislature to vote rights for women was her major issue.
It took a century, but Brinks will take over as Senate majority leader.
“For me to be the second woman from Grand Rapids to serve in the Senate and the first as majority leader as a woman is just an incredible moment,” said Brinks.
The Democrats have flipped the legislature their way for the first time in 40 years. Currently, in the Senate, the split is 22-16. The one to come in January will be 20-18.
In the house, the current makeup is 53 Democrats and 57 Republicans. Come January, 56 Democrats and 54 Republicans will be expected to lead the Democrats as the speaker is Tate, Detroit’s State Representative.
Tate was on the house floor Thursday, speaking with colleagues. He didn’t talk to the media in anticipation of the vote. But his agenda is likely similar to Brinks’ and the governors.
“It is going to be a bold agenda that puts the people of Michigan first,” Brinks said. “That helps build on the work that the governor had already started. Building a strong economy, making sure this is a place young people can create lives and get jobs they can build those lives on.”