MI Republicans name Mike Shirkey majority leader of Senate

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - (01/27/19)- Republicans who have kept control of the Michigan Senate for 35 years are putting at the helm an engineer whose legislative career has been defined by two of the most consequential laws of the past decade.

Mike Shirkey pushed early to make Michigan a right-to-work state where union fees are optional.

As a key committee chairman, he embraced an expansion of Medicaid after initially opposing the key component of former President Barack Obama's health care law on philosophical grounds.

Shirkey founded and owns a Jackson company that builds assembly machines for manufacturers.

Though the House also is controlled by Republicans, he will be the highest-ranking Republican state official during all four years of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's term.

Shirkey's top priority is cutting Michigan's highest-in-the-country auto insurance premiums.

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