Party on the Peninsulas

The WØRD – “Results”

Tax cuts, civil rights, gun safety, voter protection — just another remarkable week of results for Michigan driven by Democrats in the Legislature. Joining the conversation this week is Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Ann Arbor) who is getting results at the federal level on multiple issues directly impacting the people of our state.

Links We Are Following This Week

The WØRD – “Focus”


First, our focus as Democrats. Some of the pundits look at the new ultra-right-wing Michigan Republican Party leadership team and assume that Democrats have it made – even some prominent Republicans across Michigan are saying it.

We have to maintain FOCUS: focus on organizing at the grassroots level, focus on continuing to recruit the very best candidates, and focus on fundraising to support those candidates. Michigan is still a purple state and we cannot take anything for granted, no matter what’s happening at the state GOP Headquarters. 

And FOCUS also applies to our policy agenda. It’s easy for political candidates to make promises. The challenge is following through, especially on those issues where there’s a fundamental divide between the two major parties.

Here in Michigan, it’s especially challenging because of the razor-thin majorities Democrats hold in the state Legislature: 56-54 in the state House, 20-18 in the state Senate.

Even with those small majorities, Democrats are following through to make campaign promises a reality. The House and Senate have already passed a nearly one-billion-dollar tax cut package focused on working families and retirees. Several other major planks of our campaign are moving quickly through the Legislative process.

We are joined this week by Senator Stephanie Chang, chair of the Senate’s Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee about two major groups of bills: civil rights for LGBTQ+ Michiganders, and badly needed gun safety laws.

This week in the news:

The WØRDs – “Moving Forward”

Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

We add our voices in support of the MSU community, and especially to the family and friends of the three students murdered and those critically injured the shooting rampage. The response from all corners of Michigan demonstrates that, in this time of tragedy, we are all Spartans.

The carnage at MSU raises, once again, a terrible question: how many more must die? Nationally we are averaging more than 1 mass shooting a day so far this year. In Michigan, Democrats have been fighting for common-sense gun safety legislation for years, stymied by Republicans beholden to the NRA’s lobbyists. With

Democrats now in the majority, our leaders have pledged quick action on gun safety bills which Governor Whitmer has promised to sign.

On this week’s podcast we talk with the state Senator who represents MSU, Majority Floor Leader Sam Singh, about those efforts, along with Democrat-led efforts to cut taxes for Michigan working families and retirees.

Links to this week’s News Stories

The WØRD – “Leadership”

Rep. Jason Morgan
Sen. Erika Geiss

More than 1,600 Michigan Democrats have selected the leadership team for the 2023-24 election cycle.

Chairperson Lavora Barnes was unanimously reelected, and joining her team in Lansing are vice chairs Rep. Jason Morgan and Sen. Erika Geiss. Chairperson Barnes talks with both of them on this week’s podcast.

Also in the news this week —

  • Governor Whitmer has sent the Legislature a budget that puts a priority on lowering taxes for working families, investing in Michigan education, and investing in making Michigan the next Silicon Valley.
  • President Biden’s State of the Union Address has touched a nerve with Republicans by correctly pointing out multiple statements by Republicans calling for cuts and even ending Social Security and Medicare benefits. While the GOP leaders in the House and Senate say it’s not GOP policy, influential members in both chambers are on record calling for the cuts.
  • Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are reminding Michigan consumers to be aware of phishing text messages that claim their EBT benefit cards are locked. The message includes a phone number to call for help. Responding to these messages may allow scammers to access the card’s funds.
  • There are still more Republican scandals in Lansing. This time, the investigations are into former House Speakers Rick Johnson and Jason Wentworth.

Democratic Party State Convention

Whitmer Budget

Whitmer’s Lowering MI Costs agenda

State of the Union

GOP Crime Watch

Presidential Primary

The WØRD – “Action!!”

The Legislature session is off to a fast start with Democrats taking immediate action on several of Governor Whitmer’s top priorities: job creation, tax cuts for working families, and moving Michigan to the head of the line in the presidential primary calendar.

Chairperson Lavora Barnes reports this week from Philadelphia just minutes after the wrap-up of the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting.

Links for More Information on this week’s political news

Sneak Preview!

Welcome to a preview of Party On the Peninsulas with Lavora Barnes, your weekly update on the Democrats and Democratic policies leading Michigan’s future. Each week we’ll have three primary segments:

  • A quick summary of important developments in Lansing, Washington DC and across the state (along with links for more information on those stories)
  • An update from the Chair of the Party, Lavora Barnes
  • An interview with a top Democrat from Michigan and the nation

We welcome your comments – just email us at

This week’s links