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An Insider View on the 2020 Election and What it Means for MICHauto

As election results continue to roll in, there is no question that our automotive and mobility industry will be impacted. In spite of a few unexpected developments, MICHauto sees that several of our industry voices and strongest advocates will remain for another term, providing the consistency we need to keep moving our state forward.

Presumed New Speaker and Minority Leader Considered Allies to the Industry

In somewhat of a surprise to many in the Capitol community, Republicans have maintained their control of the Michigan House of Representatives, with a 58-52 margin. The next Speaker of the House is presumed to be Rep. Jason Wentworth. Presumed Speaker Wentworth is suspected to be an even closer ally to the industry. Rep. Wentworth is expected to be supportive of MICHauto’s policy agenda and the specific issues we anticipate advocating for including talent initiatives to support the industry and its growth, policy that fosters business growth as well as the development of connected, smart city, automated, and electrified vehicle technology and infrastructure, and the positioning and branding of the state’s industry as a viable career option.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Donna Lasinski of Ann Arbor is currently favored to be the next House Minority Leader. Rep. Lasinski is a long-time friend of MICHauto and the Detroit Regional Chamber. She has a strong appreciation for the industry and mobility transformation, understanding its value to Michigan.

Upon confirmation, MICHauto will engage with both new leadership teams to discuss our policy priorities and committee chair assignments for the upcoming session.

Election Impact on the Auto Caucus

All four co-chairs of the Michigan Legislative Auto Caucus, Sen. Mallory McMorrow, Sen. Wayne Schmidt, Rep. Joe Tate, and Rep. Jim Lilly, will return for at least two more years. Both Tate and Lilly were up for reelection this year, with voters choosing to send them back to Lansing for another term. This tenure will provide a consistency of leadership and messaging within all four caucuses as the next legislative session begins.

Peters, Stevens Wins Important to the MICHauto Agenda

Two of the strongest advocates for the automotive industry in Congress survived hard-fought challenges. Sen. Gary Peters and Rep. Haley Stevens will return to their second terms in their respective chambers. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, representatives from Peters’ and Stevens’ staffs have been in regular communication with MICHauto to ensure they understand the insights and needs of the industry. They have supported the industry re-opening in mid-May so that OEMs could get back online quickly, engaged in tariff discussions impacting our industry, and visited suppliers to see firsthand needs of the industry. Since mid-March, Peters, Stevens, and their offices have been on weekly MICHauto-led task force calls with the local industry. Together we have focused on the global COVID-19 pandemic to support the healthcare industry with manufacturing PPE, safely restarting and recovering the industry, and ensure the its long-term health and growth in the state.

On a broader scale, Democrats have retained control of the U.S. House of Representatives; Nancy Pelosi is currently presumed to be returning as Speaker of the House, and Kevin McCarthy as Minority Leader. With a slimmer Democratic majority, Republicans may exercise more leverage next term, particularly if they keep the Senate. The Senate majority is still currently undecided, standing at 48-48 with four races remaining.