Benson and Nesbitt are considering possible runs to become Michigan’s governor

Mackinac Island — A number of potential candidates for governor in 2026 have brushed off questions about whether they plan to become Michigan’s top executive in two years, insisting they will instead focus on this fall’s election would concentrate.

Democrat Jocelyn Bensonin her second term as secretary of state, told The Detroit News on Wednesday that she plans to make a decision and provide clarity on her path forward only after 2024.

“I definitely don’t want to be a candidate for anything right now if I’m doing this job, and I love the job that I have. But I’ve certainly really enjoyed, among other things, overseeing the State Department – the agency that communicates with more citizens than perhaps any other (the Department of Health and Human Services), and does it well,” Benson said at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference.

“I would like to see all of our agencies operating as efficiently and transparently as ours, so I will explore that type of work further after we complete the cycle.”

Benson has seen her profile grow beyond Michigan’s borders since the role she played in overseeing Michigan’s 2020 elections. Last year, she declared her run for U.S. Senate U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, decided not to run for another term.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan And Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist They are also said to be considering possible runs for governor. When asked how she would feel running against Duggan or another high-profile Democrat, Benson said she has always found that “iron sharpens iron.”

“I think the goal of a leader should be to embrace challenge and competition because it makes us better. It makes us stronger. … I’ve run for statewide office three times now and have overseen our elections in a very controversial way. Over time, I have only found more ways to embrace competition and challenge and use them to make me more effective and better as a leader,” said Benson.

“That’s what we should demand of all our public servants … a willingness to just get better at everything so that whoever becomes the next governor should be the best at the job.”

Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt of Porter Township also said his attention was trained in November. His focus is on electing Republicans like former ones President Donald Trump to the White House, former U.S. Representative Mike Rogers to the Senate and Minority Leader Matt Hall as Speaker of the House of Representatives, he said.

Wondering if he would consider a 2026 run, Nesbitt replied, “It’s in the conversation. I might want to talk to my wife first.”

He predicted there will be a shift after Democrats had control of both chambers in Lansing and the governor’s mansion for a few years.

“Ultimately, this fall, we need to show that Democrats, after passing a series of bills, have brought Michigan back to the last decade — repealing right-to-work, implementing the Green New Deal, tightening accountability measures in schools in to pull. and education, and not doing anything transformative with the record budget surplus,” Nesbitt said. “I think people want to change.”

His counterpart in the House of Representatives, Leader Matt Hall, said Nesbitt would do a “good job” if he decided to run for governor. “He has been a great partner and between him and I we have put together the most united front for two Republican caucuses that anyone can remember.”

Nessel on Molitor’s offer

Attorney General Dana Nessel said she is “deeply concerned” about people who are not certified police officers Erik Molitorcandidate for county sheriff.

Molitor, who was found not guilty by a jury in September of supporting a kidnapping plot Gov. Gretchen Whitmeris now running for sheriff in Wexford County in northern Michigan, in a challenge to the county’s incumbent sheriff, Trent Taylorin the Republican primaries.

“If you’ve never actually been a certified police officer, and you’ve never had any training and you’ve never been licensed, then I don’t know what qualifies you for that office,” said Nessel, Michigan’s top law enforcement official. officially.

“I’m also concerned that we don’t have a law in the state of Michigan that you have to be a licensed attorney to become attorney general or even attorney general. I mean, these are things that I don’t think anyone ever thought. because no one had the guts to try to fill those positions when they are so grossly unqualified.”

Nessel said the Michigan Sheriffs Association shares her concerns.

“If you don’t have the legal authority to arrest someone because you’re not certified by the state to have arrest powers, how can you ever be a county sheriff? That’s very concerning.”

Molitor was one of fourteen men charged in federal or state courts in 2020 for their involvement in alleged schemes to kidnap and harm Whitmer. A total of nine suspects were convicted or accepted, while a total of five men, including Molitor, were acquitted.

Minimum wage increase not on the November ballot

A petition initiative seeking to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $15 an hour will not make it to the ballot in November after the Michigan Supreme Court declined Friday to overrule a state board that blocked it.

In a brief ruling, the seven-member Supreme Court said it was not convinced it should grant the request.

Judge Brian Zahra A concurring statement noted that the High Court’s involvement would have been an “extraordinary remedy”, reserved for rare cases where a clear legal duty is breached.

“It is not the role of this court to question and question the handling of election disputes that are properly left to the bipartisan oversight of the Board of State Canvassers,” Zahra wrote.

Increase wages Michigan had asked the court to intervene after the four-member Board of State Examiners stalled on certifying the petition for the ballot in October due to a change in language in the petition that significantly changed who would be affected by the minimum wage increase.

The board approved summary language in January 2022 defining an employer as someone who employs one or more people, but it was later inexplicably changed to someone who employs 21 or more people. More than 90% of Michigan businesses employ fewer than 21 people, meaning the new minimum wage law, if passed, would not apply to 90% of businesses.

The state elections board is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats and must get a 3-1 vote from both parties to approve petitions for voter-initiated laws and changes to the state constitution. But the board became deadlocked along party lines in October over the changes in language.

The Raise the Wage Michigan voting committee’s proposal aimed to increase Michigan’s minimum wage in $1 increments to $15 per hour over a series of five years. The current minimum wage in Michigan is $10.33 per hour.

The initiative would also require automatic adjustments for inflation every year after 2027.

It would end “subminimum wages” for tipped workers, those under age 20 and those with disabilities. The subminimum wage would be gradually abolished until it was equal to the regular minimum wage on January 1, 2028. The current minimum wage in Michigan for tipped workers is $3.84 per hour.

Fain signed up for Biden’s trade council

Chairman of the United Autoworkers Shawn Fain was appointed on Friday to the President’s Export Council, an advisory committee on international trade.

The council, according to a White House press release, advises on issues such as “government policies and programs that affect U.S. trade performance; promotes the expansion of exports; and provides a forum for discussing and resolving trade-related issues among the business, industry, agricultural, labor and government sectors.”

The move is the latest evidence of deepening ties between Fain and the president Joe Biden amid his re-election bid.

Biden and his allies in Michigan have put organized labor at the center of their campaign to win the crucial battleground state. After Biden walked the UAW picket line during the union strike last fall, Fain has made high-profile appearances with the president.

Fain officially announced the union’s endorsement of Biden at the UAW political convention in January and introduced him on stage. He also joined the president on his first 2024 campaign visit to Michigan the following week and attended the State of the Union as a guest of the first lady. Jill Biden in March.

Fain’s appointment to the export council – which has no policy-making authority but instead serves as a forum for discussion of trade issues by government and business leaders – comes at a time of great concern for the auto industry. China has emerged as a powerhouse for electric vehicles, batteries and other key components for modern cars.

The Biden administration last month imposed steep new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, trying to prevent a takeover of the domestic market by cheap but well-made electric vehicles from Chinese competitors as the US builds out its own EV and battery industries .

Tweet of the week

The Insider Report’s “Tweet of the Week,” which recognizes a social media post that was worthy of attention or possibly just a laugh, from the week before goes to Representative Laurie PohutskyD-Livonia.

The House of Representatives speaker pro tem doubled down on a Taylor Swift text that has risen to meme fame in recent weeks, describing the experience of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference. Pohutsky posted a photo of the idyllic Grand Hotel with the words “You wouldn’t last an hour in the asylum where they raised me,” a lyric from “Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?”