The State House is not at full strength and leaders are waiting on the Governor to tell them when they can elect new members, if at all.
After this week, the House will be down three Republican members. At the end of the year, they lose a Democrat.
On Election Day, there was not a single House seat up for grabs but the results of the election left three seats vacant. Adding in the recent death of Representative Andrea Schroeder and all of a sudden the House has a problem.
“Typically you see the governor come out, in a reasonable amount of time, and announce the special elections,” said Representative Ben Frederick, Republican from Owosso.
Tuesday, Republican Representatives Mark Huizenga and Doug Wozniak were elected to serve in the State Senate. Democratic Representative Abdullah Hammoud was elected the mayor of Dearborn. The Republicans change chambers next week, Hammoud takes his new office at the end of the year.
Governor Whitmer decides if, and when, the seats are filled with a special election.
“My team and I, just like we do after every election, if there is an opening, we’ve got to wait until that election is certified,” said Whitmer.
That explains the newly opened seats but not the one left by Rep Schroeder. The Republican died after a lengthy cancer fight last month.
“It has been more than 30 days since her passing,” said Frederick, the House Floor Leader, “We typically see announcements within a month’s time.”
With the House down three republicans and just a single Democrat, it narrows the majority for the right, tightening the partisan vote. Some say waiting to fill the seats is a political move, for a Democratic governor seeking re-election.
“I would say it’s a very dangerous game,” said Frederick, “When you leave people voiceless, they know they are being left without representation,”
Outside of the vacancies, further complicating the issues is Democratic Representative Jewell Jones, who is currently in jail after several run-ins with the law and Republican Representative Steve Marino, who is not allowed in the chambers due to a personal protection order put out by another representative. Those two are still holding their seats but they are not taking part in any votes.