Democrats win back control of Michigan state House - TAI News
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Michigan Capitol. (David Marvin/Flickr)

Michigan Democrats took back the state House majority Tuesday night after Democratic candidates won a pair of special elections in the Detroit area.

Macomb County Commissioner Mai Xiong and Westland City Councilman Peter Herzberg defeated their GOP opponents, giving Democrats a 56-54 majority.

Democrats had a 56-54 majority for 10 months after winning control of the chamber in 2022, allowing the party to pass sweeping progressive legislation, including new gun safety measures such as universal background checks and repeals of the state’s 1913 abortion ban and anti-union so-called right-to-work law

However, the chamber had been at a 54-54 tie for the past five months, after Democratic lawmakers Kevin Coleman and Lori Stone resigned their seats when they were elected mayor of Westland and Warren respectively in 2023. 

The tie in the chamber made it more difficult for Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to pass legislation for her top policy priorities, including expanding birth control access, and effectively brought the chamber to a halt.

“The complete unwillingness to meet us anywhere in the middle on anything was a pretty big surprise,” Democratic state Rep. Laurie Pohutsky told NPR.

Xiong, who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and immigrated to Michigan with her parents when she was 3, is the first Hmong American to be elected to the state House.

“Michigan holds a special place in my heart, as it has been a beacon of hope for me and my family,” Xiong posted on X after her victory Tuesday. “I’ve cherished the opportunities this state has provided, from receiving a higher education to finding meaningful employment, starting a business, and raising a family.”

She continued, “Having had parents who fled war and persecution, to being born in a refugee camp where there was no electricity, clean running water, or medical care, I am immensely grateful for the journey that has led me to a position where I can now give back to the community that has given me and my family so much.”

Democrats celebrated the victories and promised to return to passing progressive legislation now that they once again have control of the Legislature.

The Michigan Democratic Party posted on X: “We are so back baby! After [Republican House minority leader] @RepMattHall and his maga caucus wasted months throwing a petty temper tantrum, Democrats will regain the majority and get back to the work of delivering for Michiganders. Let’s go!”

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