I am fairly certain that Rick Snyder is not a surfer, but real surfers around the world wait their entire lifetimes to ride a wave like Michigan's new governor-elect and the Republican Party rode on Nov. 2. Republicans nationwide made historic gains just two years removed from equally historic two-cycle gains for Democrats. The wave was particularly strong in Michigan with Republicans winning every election of consequence, including all constitutional offices (Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State), Supreme Court and majorities in both houses of the Legislature that remove any procedural roadblocks that the minority can put in their way. The Chamber's Political Action Committee (PAC) was particularly successful on election night. The Chamber PAC was the first and only advocacy organization to endorse Governor-elect Snyder in the Republican primary. That endorsement continued to the general election and also included Supreme Court winners Justice Bob Young and Judge Mary Beth Kelly as well as numerous candidates for the House and Senate.
New legislative leaders will likely include State Representative Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) as the next Speaker of the House. Rep. Bolger is art entrepreneur and former County Commissioner. He understands the needs of small business and will have an open door to business concerns. The new Senate Majority Leader is likely Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe). He worked in economic development and also with Fortune 500 companies. He formerly served in the Michigan House where he was the Majority Floor Leader in his final term. Both are trusted leaders in their own communities and well respected by their colleagues. I expect them to work well with each other and with the new Governor.
The question remains, how does all this change impact Michigan and the business community?
Throughout the campaign, the governor-elect highlighted his standing as an outsider who had never run for public office. Most agree that as Governor, Snyder will find new and different challenges that he never had to face as a CEO. Management skills undoubtedly will transfer from the private sector, but working with a legislature comes with its own unique challenges. Each elected official wishes to see a prosperous Michigan, but visions of the best way to get there are often at odds. Legislators are only accountable to the voters that elected them - not all the same voters that elected a Governor statewide. Additionally...