Michigan Municipal League
[email protected], 734.669.6317
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2023
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Municipal League has named Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks and Senator Thomas Albert and as the League’s 2023 Legislators of the Year.
The Senators received the recognition this week during the League’s 2023 CapCon in Lansing.
“Senators Brinks and Albert both have experience and insights that have been critical on issues facing our local communities,” said Dan Gilmartin CEO and Executive Director of the League. “They both have shown great leadership in their communities and at the state level as well. We’re grateful for their expertise and their strong advocacy on behalf of their districts and on issues important to local governments across the state.”
Elected to the House in 2012, and the Senate in 2018, Senator Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, has worked to ensure every child has access to a world-class education, fought to end abuse and neglect at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, and led the fight to protect West Michigan’s drinking water. Senator Brinks is dedicated to keeping Grand Rapids and West Michigan an economic leader, supporting small businesses, and the people who work for them.
Senator Brinks was elevated to Senate Majority Leader following her re-election and the Senate flipping from Republican to Democrat control in the November 2022 election. She is the party’s first Senate Majority Leader in 40 years and the first woman from either major party to ever hold the title.
While Brinks’ made history, she also embraced the idea that everybody in our state should see themselves reflected in the highest offices in our state. When assembling her leadership team as Senate Majority Leader, she put those words into action and appointed Senator Sarah Anthony as the first Black woman to lead the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senate President Pro Tempore Jeremy Moss as the highest ranking openly gay official in Michigan legislative history. This commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion directly aligns with the values set forth by the League’s Board of Trustees.
“The Michigan Municipal League does tremendous work to strengthen and empower our communities,” Brinks said. “This recognition is both an honor and a reflection of the strong partnership we’ve cultivated in our shared effort to promote Michigan’s municipalities. It’s been a pleasure to work hand-in-hand with MML leaders over the years, and we’ll continue to do so as we enact a bold, people-first policy agenda for our state.”
Albert, R-Lowell, was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in November 2016. Once elected, he earned the trust of his local community by serving as their State Representative in the Michigan Legislature the past six years. He served as House Appropriations Chair during the 2021/22 legislative session. In November of 2022, he was elected to his first term in Senate where he continues to serve on the Appropriations Committee. He is also the top-ranked Republican on the General Government budget.
In 2022 in his role as House Appropriations Chair, he championed some of the largest investments in communities in recent memory. He helped negotiate a state budget and supplemental appropriations that invested nearly $2 billion in water infrastructure—the largest increase in revenue sharing in the last decade—and hundreds of millions of dollars for placemaking grants and housing.
Among Albert’s signature achievements is championing a $750 million investment in a Municipal Pension Debt Relief Grant Program, which will provide direct assistance to municipalities to help pay down municipal pension debt. This targeted investment in our most-underfunded communities will address one of the key cost drivers within their municipal budgets. This is a historic investment that will undoubtedly increase the collective strength of communities across Michigan.
“I am deeply honored to be recognized with this award from the League,” Albert said. “Strengthening the finances and infrastructure of local communities is an important part of making Michigan an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”
Photo Link for CapCon 2023: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAxNaR
About the Legislator of the Year Award: The honor is presented each year to lawmakers for their instrumental actions in the Michigan State Legislature on behalf of local communities. These individuals are recognized for their efforts in the passage of legislation that will benefit local governments or who have fought consistently to support local government.
For additional information, contact the League’s Matt Bach, assistant director of communications and media, at (810) 874-1073 (cell) and [email protected].
Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at mml.org.