LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – House Democrats made history during Thursday afternoon’s leadership elections when they elected Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit) as the first-ever Black House Speaker, and Rep. Abraham Aiyash (D-Hamtramck) as the first Muslim Majority Floor Leader.
Tate and Aiyash were the first Democratic House leaders chosen since the Republicans took control in 2010. Tate, a re-elected representative of the new HD-10, will serve his third term after four years representing District 2.
On the historic nature of Tate’s appointment, he said it’s “a great opportunity.”
“But also a great responsibility,” he said. “Now, I’m going to bring my experiences, just like the Majority Floor Leader Elect is, to this role.”
Tate had been considered a frontrunner for the Speaker position after serving as Democratic campaign finance chair and Democratic vice chair of the Appropriations Committee.
He sits on General Government, Health and Human Services and Military and Veterans Affairs and State Police committees, along with the Appropriations Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and Insurance and Financial Services subcommittees.
While serving as campaign finance chair, Tate reported raising more than $4 million to boost key races in the House that helped Democrats earn back a majority of seats, 56-54, along with a personal donation of $394,000 to help Dems win across the state.
Q-3 contributions from his campaign PAC included multiple $10,000 gifts to the House Democratic Fund and the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee.
But Tate’s Leadership PAC listed donations to Reps. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia), Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills) and Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek), and new elects Joey Andrews, Reggie MILLER, John Fitzgerald and Jasper Martus.
Prior to his time in the legislature, Tate was an infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, deployed twice to Afghanistan.
Before his military experience, Tate attended Michigan State University as a three-year starter on the football team, earning a public policy degree and going on to play for three years in the National Football League, with the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams and Atlanta Falcons.
Tate also earned Masters degrees in Business Administration (MBA) and Science in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan.
Aiyash, who is finishing out his first term representing District 4, added that “Joe is cool, calm, collected and collaborative. So we’re excited to be able to actually move into an agenda for working people across the state.”
But Dems aren’t finished yet and other leadership positions were not decided on today after the elections, which began at 3 p.m. and stretched late until the evening.
When asked why the decision took some time, Tate said, “It’s been 12 years since majority, so we had to clear up some of the kinks.”