Michigan House Republicans
Look before you MiLEAP
RELEASE|December 20, 2023

By: State Rep. Pauline Wendzel

This week, Governor Whitmer appointed an acting director to a new department in her executive branch: The Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential or MiLEAP. MiLEAP was established in July of this year but was seemingly backburnered until Democrats in the Legislature adjourned for a 3-month Christmas vacation.

While Republicans universally believe that creating a new department does nothing but grow bureaucracy and create new headaches for students and school districts, I believe there is something much more interesting at play with the creation of MiLEAP. Growing discontent among Democrats. Since the Democrats took control of the House and Senate at the beginning of the year, Governor Whitmer has set Legislative Democrats on a march towards far-left policies: and the pace has been grueling for the moderate members of her party. Unprecedented legislation on abortion, gun control, prevailing wage, repealing Right to Work, and most recently energy have been forced through the Legislature from the top down. Due to the extremely narrow majority that Democrats had at the beginning of the year, several of their members were forced to take party-line votes that were not representative of moderate constituencies. 

It would seem that education is the new crusade for the Governor. What remains to be seen is: how is the morale among Democrats in 50/50 seats who have taken bad vote after bad vote on the orders of the governor. The Democrat members of the Board of Education have criticized the creation of MiLEAP, believing it shifts authority away from them as elected members and placing it into the hands of unelected bureaucrats appointed by the governor.  The Attorney General was asked for an opinion, but she refused and said to wait until there was a formal executive order. The order has been given, but the attorney general has been radio silent.

These criticisms, in conjunction with the Democrats calling it a day after losing their majority in the house, send a signal that they’ve had enough. This term Whitmer has had an all-or-nothing approach to policy: this time it may be that this education overhaul amounts to exactly that -nothing. 

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