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State Senator Brinks to be next majority leader

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Reginald Hardwick

The Michigan Senate is preparing to welcome its first woman as majority leader in state history.

Democratic Senator Winnie Brinks emerged out of her party’s caucus room Thursday morning ready to take over the reins of the chamber next year.

Brinks says Democrats have a lot of “pent up policy” after being in the minority for nearly four decades.

"We’re going to pull up our list, we’re going to compare, we’re going to talk to the House and we’re going to talk to the governor’s office and we’re going to put together a list of things that puts the people of Michigan first," Brinks said. "You’ll see a continued focus on making sure that our economy is strong, making that sure our education systems are strong."

Brinks says all Democratic priorities are on the table, including a repeal of Michigan’s “Right to Work” legislation. That bans a requirement for workers to financially support union membership.

But future Republican Leader Aric Nesbitt is panning the idea and says Republicans are prepared to serve as a check on the majority.

“I think the important thing to remember is we value workers and they deserve their fair share for the economic productivity that they help create," Nesbitt said. “If she’s serious about developing our economy, then it’s about preserving some of these labor reforms that Governor Snyder and the Republican Legislature passed.”

Nesbitt says he’d like to work with Democrats on economic issues…tax cuts…and balancing the budget.

"But if there’s ways of raising taxes and trying to push businesses out of the state, overregulate them, then they’re not going to have a partner," Nesbitt said.

Next session will be the Democrats’ first time in charge of the Senate since 1984.