News Story

Michigan Legislature Class of 2011 86 Percent 'Political Careerists'

Historic? Groundswell? Tsunami?

Pundits reached deep for superlatives to describe Tuesday's election results, but one thing won't change much: 86 percent of new Michigan legislators will be individuals who have already been immersed in government to some degree.

This is slightly less than the 88 percent I projected here on Oct. 21. Out of 52 open seats in the House, goverment insiders took 42 - two fewer than predicted.

Similarly, individuals who are already members-in-good standing of the political class took seven out of nine House "turnovers" where incumbents were defeated. The winners are all Republicans, the ousted representatives Democrats.

Here's the breakdown: Among these 61 new House members are 28 current or past officeholders (three mayors, six city council members, 10 county commissioners, five township trustees or supervisors, and four school board members); eight current or past congressional, legislative or Detroit city council staffers; two relatives of current or former legislators; and one termed-out state senator.

Seven more of the "newcomers" are current or past local government appointees or managers, two are former public school employees, and one is a social worker. That all adds up to 49 out of 61 new House members.

On the other side of the Capitol, political careerists took 28 out of 29 open Senate seats, as projected.

80 percent of the 61 new House members and 97 percent of the 29 new Senate members are government insiders even before going (or returning) to Lansing. The combined total is 86 percent.

The article containing the Oct. 21 projection explained how the incentives that operate on individuals who are political careerists make them more likely to "serve the political/governmental system" over the interests of families and businesses, and so less likely to enact a "real-change" reform agenda.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.