Top legislative leadership positions filled

With the general elections over, the biggest news from Lansing this week was the announcement of key leadership positions in the House and Senate.  These individuals will play an important role in the budget process as well as creating and moving policy over the next few years.  Get to know them better through the following information: 
 
Senate Majority Leader - Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) 
Legislative career: 3 terms in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1999-3004, served as House Majority Floor Leader in his final term.  Elected to the Michigan Senate in 2006, has served as President Pro-Tempore, Chairman of the Senate Banking & Financial Institutions Committee, Vice-Chair of Economic Development and Regulatory Reform, as well as a member of the Energy Policy & Public Utilities, and Homeland Security & Emerging Technologies Committees. 
Previous work experience: 20 years of working in the business field in Fortune 500 companies.  
Education: Obtained a degree in Finance from Albion College and a Masters of Management from Aquinas College.
Family: Wife Sarah and two adult children, Amanda and Adam.   
 
Senate Minority Leader – Gretchen Whitmer (D – East Lansing)
Legislative career:  Served as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 2000-2006, including the House Appropriations Committee for four years.   Elected to the Senate in 2006, she has served on the Judiciary, Finance, Education, and Agriculture Committees. 
Previous work experience: Corporate litigator specializing in administrative and regulatory law with Dickinson Wright in Lansing as well as practicing administrative law before the Ingham County Circuit Court and the Michigan Public Service Commission.  
Education: Obtained a BA in Communications as well as her law degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Michigan State University. 
Family: Two young daughters. 
 
Speaker of the House – James “Jase” Bolger (R-Marshall)
Legislative career: Elected to the House of Representatives in 2008 and served as a key member of the House Republican Jobs Task Force on Jobs. 
Previous work experience: Business owner who works with Fortune 100 companies throughout the country. 
Education: Earned his Bachelor’s of Business Administration and achieved dual majors in Finance and Political Science from Western Michigan University. 
Family: Wife Molly, two children Nicholas and Megan. 
 
House Minority Leader – Richard Hammel (D-Mt. Morris Township)
Legislative career: First elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2006, served as a member of the prestigious Appropriations Committee.  
Previous work experience: Retired skilled tradesman at Delphi Corp. working as a pipefitter from 1978 to 2006.  
Education: Earned a Bachelor of Applied Science-Industrial Technology from the University of Michigan-Flint. 
Family: Wife Debra, four grown daughters: Alishea, Andrea, Karen and Jessica. Also, five grandchildren: Kaydance, Maygen, Blake, Will, and Zoey.

Other major leadership positions include:

Senate
Majority Floor Leader – Arlan Meekhof (R- West Olive)
President Pro-Tempore – Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton)
Minority Floor Leader – Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit)
 
House of Representatives
Majority Floor Leader –Jim Stamas (R – Midland)
Speaker Pro Tem – John Walsh (R- Livonia)
Minority Floor Leader – Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek)

State Government Transition

Governor-Elect Snyder and members of the 96th Legislative class will be sworn into office in January. From the moment results are calculated on Election Day, until the time elected officials are sworn in, each will be working hard to wrangle key committee assignments, hire staff, nominate leaders, and become familiar with the legislative process. Below are a few stories following this transition period:
 
Detroit News – November 11, 2010
Michigan legislative office budgets cut
Excerpt: State senators will each lose one staffer Jan. 1 as a result of Legislature budget cuts, officials said Wednesday. Cuts of about $1.4 million to the Senate budget approved this year mean each of the 38 senators will lose one "benefit package," generally resulting in the staffing level falling from five to four, said Matt Marsden, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop.
 
Lansing State Journal – November 11, 2010
Michigan governor’s home to be unoccupied
Excerpt: Lansing soon might have another vacant house to deal with – and it’s a doozy. Gov.-elect Rick Snyder plans to leave the governor’s official residence in Lansing vacant as he begins his first term Jan. 1. He will commute from his home in Superior Township in Washtenaw County, said Snyder’s spokesman, Bill Nowling. 
 
Crain’s Detroit Business – November 11, 2010
So far, bipartisanship not a dirty word for Snyder
Excerpt: With the country trapped in the echo chamber of successful Tea Party candidates excoriating their humbled opponents, the tone in Michigan has been civil and bipartisan.
Chicago Tribune – November 4, 2010
Governor-Elect Snyder unveils transition website
Excerpt: Gov.-elect Rick Snyder has unveiled his new transition website aimed at helping Michigan residents share their ideas and learn more about his plans for the state once he takes office Jan. 1.

More Election Information...

Want more information on the candidates and the issues?  Here are a few sites that offer a wide variety of information: 

MiVote - A leading website on all things related to the 2010 election.  MiVote offers candidate information, video of past debates, upcoming debate information and a running ticker of election based news stories.

The Center for Michigan - Innovative organization that has pulled out all the stops when it comes to uncovering the truth behind political ads, promoting a tool to review ballot issues, sending out current news and more.

Michigan Department of State - Providing information for voters, such as, voting hours and locations, frequently asked questions, and getting to know your elected officials, the Michgian Department of State serves as a one stop shop for elections in Michigan. 

21 Questions to the Gubernatorial Candidates - Still don't know who to vote for?  The Detroit News posted a question answer session with both candidates to find out their views on 21 "hot topic" questions. 

Build Your Own Ballot - See your ballot before you vote.  Look to see if there are any local issues that will appear on your ballot, learn more about the candidates, and other issues you will be asked to vote on November 2nd.