Eye on Lansing Governor-elect starts to take the reins Snyder, Michigan lawmakers trying to work together

By Tim Martin

Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Republican Gov.-elect Rick Snyder got some credit Monday for how he's setting a cooperative tone with the next batch of lawmakers in the Michigan Legislature, even from Democrats who will be in the minority in both the House and Senate starting in January.

"I'm glad he has reached out to us," Rep. Richard Hammel of Genesee County's Mount Morris Township, the incoming leader of House Democrats, said at a Lansing forum put together by Business Leaders for Michigan and The Center for Michigan.

State Sen. John Gleason, D-Flushing, said lawmakers have witnessed bipartisanship and inclusion from Snyder since he was elected governor.

Incoming House Speaker James "Jase" Bolger, a Republican from Marshall, also spoke of cooperation and focusing on common goals at Monday's forum.

Job creation and elimination of state government budget problems are common goals for Snyder and lawmakers of both parties. The state's 12.8 percent jobless rate is second-highest in the nation and Michigan's state government faces a projected budget shortfall of more than $1.5 billion for the fiscal year that starts in October.

But there will be differences of opinion among the incoming political leaders on how best to achieve those objectives.

Snyder emphasized he won't be wasting any time as he takes office Jan. 1, joking that he is teaching his team the concept of dog years to speed things up and push for a fast-moving agenda.

"Seven weeks is a year," Snyder told the crowd, after giving them a pep talk about thinking positively and working together to help improve Michigan.

"It is time to show real results to real people," Snyder said. "That sounds like a great challenge."

Published: Wed, Dec 15, 2010