From federal COVID-19 relief funds to the newly formed Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, the Michigan Legislature has faced a lot of changes in 2021. Reporter Zach Gorchow looks back at the year’s political landscape in Michigan, and what to expect from 2022.
“There has been some warming of this cold war that’s been going on for the last two years … That said, I don’t think everyone’s singing Kumbaya.” –Zach Gorchow, Gongwer News Service
Listen: A look back at 2021 in Lansing.
Zach Gorchow is the publisher and executive editor of Gongwer News Service. He says one of the major developments of 2021 was the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, “It is night and day compared to how redistricting has been handled in the past. It was completely closed until it was introduced in the Legislature, when it was rubber-stamped as fast as it could legally get through.” After the commission faced lawsuits from the media for discussing memos in secret, Gorchow says the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling this week sets the precedent for how the commission will conduct future business.
He also says we should expect more lawsuits against the commission going forward. “The moment these [maps] pass, it’s going to be a matter of just hours before people start suing.”
Gorchow says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stricter COVID-19 regulations were almost nonexistent once vaccines were made available, much to the Republican State Senate majority’s delight. “There has been some warming of this cold war that’s been going on for the last two years … That said, I don’t think everyone’s singing Kumbaya.” As the 2022 Michigan gubernatorial election draws closer, Gorchow says Whitmer faces a difficult environment despite having advantages for reelection. “The governor’s race is the key. That’s what really sets the table for the entire ticket … the question is, how does Gov. Whitmer do and are the Republicans able to nominate a strong candidate against her?”