State GOP Leaders Meet In-Person With Governor Whitmer
State Republican Legislative leaders spent some time this week in the same room as Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. They haven’t done that since last summer.
Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and State House Speaker Jason Wentworth sat down for a face-to-face talk with the Governor. They’ve had some virtual connections, but this is the leadership’s first direct contact with the Governor since August.
Majority Leader Shirkey describes the meeting to the Detroit News as a “good start”. That’s a somewhat middle-of-the-road characterization compared to his recent comments about the Governor. Comments he has apologized for.
State House Speaker Jason Wentworth is acknowledging the meeting happened but is offering no other comments. Speaker Shirkey believes they have at least set a framework for future direct talks. So far there has been no comment from the Governor about the meeting.
Some state capitol political observers speculate that the meeting was prompted by the Governor's recent comments about needing help spending billions in so-called “COVID relief” funds heading to Michigan after the spending approval by Democrats in control of the US Senate and House of Representatives.
The Governor has spelled out how she wants to allocate the billions of dollars. But Whitmer is leaving open the opportunity for the legislature to get involved early in the process to begin to work together on the future of the state. "We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest billions in Michigan's families, communities, schools, and small businesses," says the Governor. "The American Rescue Plan will help us build back better, preparing our state for the future while creating thousands of jobs and uplifting working families. I look forward to working with the legislature to put these dollars to work in a strategic way that builds on our shared priorities. Let's get it done."
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