by Scott McClallen
Michigan House Republicans announced new leadership on Thursday after they secured a majority in the Nov. 3 election for the sixth straight term.
Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, an Army veteran, former law enforcement official, and third-term legislator, was chosen as the next speaker of the House of Representatives.
“I am honored by my colleagues’ confidence, and I am eager to work with them in the majority to continue to build on the successes of the last legislature,” Wentworth said.
“I look forward to the continued partnership with the state Senate and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. We will continue to extend a hand of collaboration to our governor with hope and confidence she will take it so we can work together and solve problems for the people of this state.”
Wentworth assured Michiganders that House Republicans will continue voicing resident concerns in Lansing under his leadership.
“These are challenging times – politically, socially, and economically – and people are worried about their future,” Wentworth added. “It is our duty to demonstrate steady leadership and bold solutions, and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”
Wentworth described his leadership style as “quiet, confident,” and team-focused.
Regarding the Legislature’s relationship with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Wentworth said he looked forward to working with the first-term Democrat.
However, he called Whitmer’s Thursday request for the Legislature to codify a statewide mask mandate to be a “press stunt” since she unilaterally issued a mask rule through the state health department.
Michiganders voted for Democrats for president, governor, and U.S. Senate, but again chose to elect a Republican House.
Asked why, Wentworth said, “It’s the representatives who truly represent their interests and their mission. I think that’s why they keep sending us back to the House. We’re the people’s chamber, and their voices are being heard by our leadership.”
Wentworth said he considered property tax relief for businesses that were shut down by COVID-19 as a “top priority.”
Wentworth, 38, is the current speaker pro-tempore who led the historic reform of Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system in 2019.
“I have spent the past four years working to develop policy solutions at the grassroots level and to bring the voice of Michigan families into everything we do in Lansing,” Wentworth said. “I’m a father of three and consider my children and their future in every decision I make. In the 101st Legislature, we will make major decisions and create life-changing policies only after seeking the input of the people they impact.”
Gladwin County Sheriff Mike Shea expressed support for Wentworth.
“I know that Rep. Wentworth will use his strong, conservative values and his ability to work with people of different thought and philosophy to lead the House of Representatives with integrity and effectiveness,” Shea said in a statement. “We are proud to have a member of our community serve as the next Speaker of the Michigan House.”
Other incoming leadership include:
- Speaker Pro-Tempore Pam Hornberger of Chesterfield Township
- Associate Speaker Pro-Tempore Sarah Lightner of Springport
- Associate Speaker Pro-Tempore Brad Paquette of Niles
- Majority Floor Leader Ben Frederick of Owosso
- Assistant Majority Floor Leader Ann Bollin of Brighton
- Assistant Majority Floor Leader Julie Calley of Portland
- Majority Whip Andrea Schroeder of Clarkston
- Deputy Whip Jack O’Malley of Lake Ann
- Caucus Chair Matt Hall of Marshall
- Caucus Vice Chair Andrew Beeler of Fort Gratiot
The full House of Representatives will formally vote for the next Speaker of the House when the 101st Legislature convenes in January, which is when all leadership positions will become official.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.