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Leadership in next year's state Legislature announced

There will be new leadership in the state Legislature next year. Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate voted on Thursday on who would lead their parties.

In the Senate, current Democratic leader Jim Ananich will maintain his post.

Ananich says he’s optimistic about the Democrats' agenda next year. That’s because Democrats managed to take a couple extra seats in the Senate during the midterm election. And there will be a democratic governor.  

“Naturally, there will be more compromise, there’ll be more cooperation. I think that’s what the public sent a pretty strong message that’s what they wanted. So, I’m hopeful,” he says.

Mike Shirkey is the new leader of the Republicans in the Senate. Ananich says he’s already reached out to Shirkey to start to find areas they can agree on.

After an election where female candidates propelled Democrats to gains in the state House, Representative Christine Grieg will lead the Democrats in that chamber.

Grieg says she looks forward to working across the aisle to get things done for Michigan. She says with more Democrats and more women in the chamber, the session will be different next year.

“So I think we have a whole new dynamic of working with each other as well too, and I’m sure we can move the agenda forward,” she says.

That agenda includes improving education.

The Republicans will be led in the House by Representative Lee Chatfield. Chatfield says his personal priorities include putting more money into roads and improving government accountability.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R