Michigan Gov. Whitmer Sworn In For Second Term: As Democrats took complete control of the state government for the first time in 40 years, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was sworn in for a second term as the state’s 49th governor on Sunday. During remarks on the steps of the state Capitol, she emphasized togetherness and working together.
Whitmer, who won reelection in November by defeating Republican Tudor Dixon by nearly 11 percentage points, was initially elected in 2018 after serving as a state representative for 14 years. Other prominent Democratic figures, including re-elected Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, stood behind her on Sunday.
During her inauguration speech, Whitmer promised to pursue “common sense” gun reform, maintain investment in K–12 education, enhance worker rights, reduce taxes for the state’s retirees, and combat climate change. She added that she would go into more detail in her upcoming State of the State address.
“For the next four years, our task is to ensure that every Michigander, present and future, can succeed,” Whitmer said to the nearly 1,000 people in attendance. “And our message is simple: We’re telling the world that your future is here in Michigan.”
In a battleground state where Democrats must appeal to more than just their base or risk losing their majorities when the Legislature is up for grabs again in two years, Whitmer faces a test of delivering on years of promises.
Throughout her speech, Whitmer praised many Republican legislators while pledging to work with “anyone that wants to solve problems and get things done.”
Following her inauguration, Sen. Aric Nesbitt, the new Republican leader in the state Senate, thanked Whitmer and expressed his hope that she “actually follows through on her repeated promises of bipartisanship.”
The inauguration ceremony takes place only days after two individuals involved in a scheme to abduct Whitmer in 2020, before the presidential election, were given significant federal jail sentences. Republican officials, according to Whitmer, are too culpable for inciting violence and downplaying the attempt to abduct and kill her.
At noon on Sunday, Michigan Democrats formally assumed control of the state’s House and Senate after earning narrow victories and flipping both houses in the November election.
Together with the governor, newly elected Democratic leaders in the legislature, House Speaker Joe Tate, and Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks emphasized the value of cooperation in their addresses.
Brinks, who became the Senate’s first female majority leader in December, said, “A spectacular opportunity exists before us to work together like never before across legislative chambers and with the executive branch.”
The second Wednesday of January is the mandatory start date for the new legislative session. As they bring a roughly $6 billion surplus into the new year, lawmakers will focus on many issues, including the state budget.
As the first Black woman to serve on the state’s Supreme Court, Kyra Harris Bolden was sworn in on Sunday. Whitmer had chosen former state lawmaker Bolden in November to succeed retiring Justice Bridget McCormack. Bolden also gave the oath of office to Whitmer.