Gaylord — After 14 years in Lansing as a state legislator and state senator, Jim Stamouth is ready for his next challenge.
The Midland Republican headed the Senate Appropriations Committee, which essentially formulates the state’s budget, and was about to leave a legislative career that saw him assume one of the most important offices in the capital. is.
Representing Ossego County in District 36 for the past two years, Stamas and his colleagues have had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the state’s finances and economy.
We go back to early 2020, when the coronavirus first spread across the country. By March, Michigan and other states had to shut down their economies to limit everyone’s exposure to the deadly disease.
Stamas remembers it well as he settled into a role on the budget committee.
“The state’s initial projection is that it will lose about $2 billion of its $10 billion General Fund revenue,” Stamas said. “We just passed a budget and he had to take 20% out of that budget, which was very difficult.”
Fortunately, President Joe Biden has approved Covid relief measures in Washington, so the federal government has been able to fund them. , resulting in a significant increase in state sales tax revenue.
“So, in the end, instead of being $2 billion more than we expected, we were $2 billion more,” Stamas recalls.
Republicans controlled both houses of Lansing. But under pressure, lawmakers from both parties were able to bridge the partisan divide with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and pass the bill.
“We were definitely divided on how we spent our money and what our limits were,” Stamas said. “We learned how to use Zoom, we started working from home and we made it through. I’ve always believed that people come first.” Told.
Stamas said that Lansing actually has far more bipartisanship than is reported.
“When either Democrats or Republicans have a majority, there’s always an opportunity to work together. The secret the media doesn’t tell is that about 85% of the time, it’s a bipartisan vote for a majority bill. Partisanship. If there is a vote, it’s only about 10-15%[of the time],” Stamas said.
Noting that Democrats will control Congress with a narrow majority of 56-54 in the House and 20-18 in the Senate after the November election, Stamas expects more bipartisanship.
“Because it’s a minority, they[Democrats]can’t afford to lose votes in the House or Senate. added.
applyCheck out the latest offers and read the local news that matters to you
Stamas is most proud of helping voters during his years at Lansing.
“It is probably my most satisfying accomplishment to help those you have chosen to represent,” he said.
That help included directing state funds to projects in his district. Last summer, Whitmer signed into his $76 billion state budget, which included his $3.5 million budget for expanding the city of Gaylord’s water and sewage systems to his resort in Treetops.
Before going to Lansing, Stamas held public office at the local level. He encourages others to aim for local government jobs.
“You have to be prepared to accept criticism. I don’t think of it as criticism, it’s just diversity of opinion. That’s not a bad thing. said.
At this time, Stamas said he has no concrete plans for what’s next in his career.
— Please contact reporter Paul Weritzkin (firstname.lastname@example.org).