The Michigan Democratic Party announced Thursday that state Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit, will be the next House speaker and state Sen. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, will be the next Senate majority leader. The move comes after Michigan Democrats gained control of the governorship and both houses of the state legislature for the first time since 1984.
Tate is currently serving his second term in the House, where he holds the position of vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee. He will be the state of Michigan’s first Black House speaker.
In an interview with The Michigan Daily on Friday, Tate said House Democrats will continue working toward the priorities they’ve held in the past, which include workers’ rights, infrastructure investments and environmental protections. Tate said while he will bring his personal life experiences to this role, he also wants to ensure that the House’s legislation is representative of a diversity of voices and backgrounds in the state.
“We are a diverse group that live in the state of Michigan and that was reflected in this leadership race,” Tate said. “I’m going to bring my experiences as a Black man, as a Detroiter to this role as speaker, but also, we know that what we do in the House — the policies that we vote on and the laws that we pass — we want to make sure that it will have a positive impact for everyone across the state of Michigan.”
Newly appointed Senate majority leader Brinks was first elected to the Michigan House in 2012 and the Michigan Senate in 2018. She is the first woman to represent Grand Rapids in the Michigan Senate since 1920 and will be Michigan’s first female Senate majority leader.
In a Thursday press release, Brinks highlighted the diverse array of Democratic lawmakers who will serve in the state’s next Senate and said she is excited to start her term as majority leader.
“With 12 women and eight men, the Senate Democrats make up a dynamic, diverse caucus that is ready to work with Governor Whitmer to make the Great Lakes State a place where people can thrive, and I’m excited to lead this talented team of legislators,” Brinks said in the release. “As a majority for the people, we will prioritize the needs of Michigan residents and the rights they deserve in everything we do.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also acknowledged the importance of diversity in government in a Thursday evening press release obtained by The Daily.
“I am so excited to work with my friends Majority Leader Brinks and Speaker Tate to get things done on the fundamental issues,” Whitmer said in the release. “Both incredible leaders will make history — Senate Majority Leader Brinks as the first woman ever to hold that position and Speaker Tate as the first Black Michigander ever to be elected speaker in our 185-year history.”
Daily Staff Reporter Samantha Rich can be reached at email@example.com.