Northern Michigan Sends Three New Lawmakers to Lansing
Time for a clean slate in Lansing.
Wednesday was Opening Day for the new legislature and with it came new leadership and a batch of rookie lawmakers, three from Northern Michigan
As the 101st Legislature kicked off , Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth is focusing on transparency and accountability in state government. The new fresh faces from Northern Michigan agree with that sentiment.
“People need to recognize that this is a real thing we work for the people,” says Representative John Damoose of Harbor Springs
“I was in county government with the Parks and Rec board of Grand Traverse County,” said Representative John Roth of Traverse City, “Everything I did was open to the public.”
“I think it’s time to bring the state legislature to a whole new level of that,” said Representative Ken Norton of Gaylord.
Rep. Roth replaces Larry Inman, who spent much of the past two years in court and the district felt ignored.
“We’ve been lacking a little bit,” said Roth, “I’m going to come back and make sure things are happening.”
Rep. Damoose and Rep. Borton replace former leaders of the House Republicans. Northern Michigan had a loud voice at the table that they want to continue.
“I think everybody in the Northern Caucus is a bunch of loudmouths,” said Damoose, “I intend to do my job.”
The people of Northern Michigan sometimes have to be loud to get the attention of those down south.
“Ken, protect our way of life in Northern Michigan,” said Borton, “It’s very special and I’ve been there for 25 years so I know how special it is.”
While Wednesday was mostly ceremonial, there were two pieces of legislation, introduced in a press conference earlier in the morning.
The first one will not allow House members to vote on bills that they or family members may financially benefit from.
The second bill will weaken the impact of lame duck session. Any bill introduced after Election Day, on an even numbered year, must have 2/3 vote to pass. This is to avoid any bills being passed in the last minute along partisan lines.
“I won’t get into the details on why things may or may not have made it through in the past but I know this time it’s going to have the weight of the 101st Legislature behind it,” said Speaker Jason Wentworth of Farwell, “I want to make sure it’s a priority for not just the members, but the people of Michigan. They deserve this. They deserve accountability and their government.”
The details on exactly how one would benefit financially from a bill are still going to be hammered out in the committee process but this is a step toward accountability and transparency that Speaker Wentworth is calling for.
The House returns to session next Tuesday.