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Power plays

January is not only the beginning of the new year, but the start of new legislative sessions. Following elections, that means new leadership in the House (the Senate structure stays the same for four years) and new committee assignments for legislators. One Oakland County legislator said of the incoming state House leadership, led by Rep. Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt), and coupled with 40 new House members, “They’re going to be doozies. Stay tuned. I think it’s going to be Comedy Hour. Let them try to run it – they’re very naïve. It’s all political gamesmanship. They’re all positioning themselves for the next thing. This is what term limits bring.” Another Oakland County representative was more circumspect. “In general, it’s a wait-and-see approach. The incoming folks (who all come from the west side of the state) are a little more conservative than the previous leadership.” But he noted, “We’re (the House) just one of three legs of the governing stool. Even if they get a little out ahead of themselves, we work with the other two legs.” The Oakland County leaders said they had backed another leadership team – which didn’t win. “I backed a different team, and they hold grudges,” one said, referring to committee assignments that will be made any day now. He, and other Oakland lawmakers, don’t expect to receive committee chairmanships, although under other circumstances, they would have. “At the end of the day, I have to get things done for the people of my district, and not myself. At the end of the term, you want people to thank you. Because your constituents don’t know (what committee you’re on). It doesn’t mean anything outside Lansing.”


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