'New' keyword on Opening Day

- There was plenty of "new" to go around as the 98th session of the Michigan legislature held opening day festivities. Forty-two new house members; a new House Speaker, who appeared with his spouse and new baby; old lawmakers, term-limited, showed-up with new house members who are relatives; and the governor got into the act with a meet-and-greet photo opt for new and old members.

"It's great to see the families coming together," the governor tells MIRS after he worked a long line of folks wanting their picture taken with the chief executive.  The governor notes that while the representatives worked very hard to win their election, "their families make a lot of scrafices and so they have a day to actually come here and many of them have never been in the state capitol before," he reports.

A hour before he assumed the mantle as the House Speaker, Rep. Tom Leonard reflected, "I'm excited. I'm humbled. I'm honored. I can't tell you what a blessing it is to know that these members are getting ready to elect me as the Speaker of the house and the people of the state.  It's an incredible honor."

Asked if twenty years ago he could have envisioned himself here, he noted, "twenty years ago I was going to be Jerry McQuire and become a sports and entertainment agent."

His spouse stood with him during the interview holding the new baby and Ms. Leonard observes, "we've transitioned her into politics.  I don't know if that's a good or bad thing in years to come but we couldn't be more proud."

Asked if the baby was a Democrat or Republican, she quickly declared, "Republican" with the Speaker adding, "no doubt."

The former chair of House taxation, Jeff Farrington, stood in line with his spouse awaiting a photo with the governor. She observes, "I'm so excited. I'm taking it all in. It's all new."  Asked if she would be sharing any inside information with her spouse she said no and he added, "I'm out (and) enjoying being out."

Former Rep. Charlie LaSata, now a judge, attended the session with his wife.  He reports his advice was to the point, "tell the truth and show-up.  The stuff you learned in second grade."

Former Rep. Harvey Santana was with his spouse for the photo opt and afterward, she tells MIRS her husband told her to "watch out for the media" and asked if she trusted the media, she offered a political correct response, "No comment" while Mr. Santana had a good laugh.


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