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Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer faces potential uphill battle on some priorities

Gretchen Whitmer

Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer faces a potentially adversarial state Legislature when she starts in January.

Whitmer made fixing the state’s roads a staple of her campaign. But you need money to do that, and Whitmer has raised the possibility of use taxes to fund the roads.

Representative Lee Chatfield (R- Levering) is the new Speaker of the state House. He says he’s probably not going to get behind any tax increase.

“I will say that no one in the House Republican chamber ran on raising taxes,” he says.

Whitmer says she’s willing to work with anyone to solve the state’s problems. As a part of that, she wants to have regular meetings with the Republican and Democratic leadership in the House and Senate.

Republican leaders have said they’re open to meeting with Whitmer and working with her.

Senator Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake) will lead the Republicans in the state Senate next year.

“Interesting, we have a couple of mutual friends that could probably help us bridge our early communications," says Shirkey. "I’m looking forward to sitting down with her and listening to what her priorities are and how we can figure out a pathway to work together.”

But both Shirkey and Chatfield say there are some issues they won’t budge on, like getting rid of the state’s right-to-work law.

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