Beginning next year, the Michigan Legislature will have its first group geared toward working people, whether organized or not, in decades.
Chaired by state Rep. Brian Elder (D-Bay City), the nascent Michigan Legislative Labor Caucus will aim to better help both Democratic and Republican legislators from around the state learn and address issues impacting working people.
“It’s probably something that will help those of us who represent such districts do a better job of representing our people, talk about the issues that are important to our specific constituents. And [it’s] something that will help the Legislature as a whole,” Elder said during a brief interview this afternoon.
Elder said he believes a Labor Caucus hasn’t existed for at least a couple of decades. The freshman House member added that the makeup of Michigan’s population — in which just over one-quarter of residents holds a bachelor’s degree, according to Census data — means that the state is mostly made up of “working-class” people.
Elder ran for House minority leader for the term starting in 2019. He had support from the UAW, but Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) was elected by the Democratic caucus.
The Labor Caucus expects to approve its bylaws and membership criteria next month and will add more members, Elder said.
Joining Elder as officers are:
- Executive Vice Chair: Rep. Ronnie Peterson (D-Ypsilanti)
- Secretary: Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette)
- Treasurer: Rep. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores)