State Senate Primary Recap

With the State Senate primary behind us, I wanted to offer my thoughts on what the election meant to the Rochester area going forward. As you know, Rochester’s own Senator Mike Bishop will be term limited out of office at the end of this year. What that means for our area is that we are losing a strong advocate in Lansing. Senator Bishop has worked tirelessly to promote the Rochester area and get the needed funding from the claws of state government for projects important to our area.

By now you know that State Representative Jim Marleau won the Republican nomination for State Senate on August 3rd. There were five other candidates in the race – all from the Greater Rochester area. Representative Marleau has long represented the interests of his area of Lake Orion at the State Capitol and I do not expect that to change. The interesting thing to watch will be how he represents our area in Lansing. My concern is that he will not represent Rochester’s interests to the level that Senator Bishop has.

As a local elected official representing Rochester Hills on our city council, I want to work with Senator Marleau on critical issues for our city and region. We have road projects such as the Avon Road Bridge that need critical state funding. I am hoping that Senator Marleau will be able to deliver for our area.

An interesting development to pay attention to in 2011 is redistricting. The State House and Senate districts will be redrawn by the legislature and governor for the 2012 and 2014 elections (through to 2020). Politically speaking, Senator Marleau would be wise to support a new district map that does not include the Rochester area in 2014.

This would allow him to avoid a “one on one” primary battle with a Rochester political heavyweight like State Representative Tom McMillin or Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett. However, my fear is that if the Rochester area gets drawn into a new Senate district that we may lose the interest of Senator Marleau as his attention will undoubtedly turn towards new voters to court in other areas of Oakland County.

Politics aside, I hope to forge a positive working relationship with Senator Marleau that will benefit Rochester Hills and the Greater Rochester area going forward. In the months ahead we must also say thank you for the work that Senator Bishop has done to represent our area in Lansing.  

Michael Webber

Rochester Hills City Council