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2023 Michigan Democratic State Convention: A Celebration of Victories and a Path Forward

The 2023 Michigan Democratic State Convention, held on February 11, 2023, at Huntington Place in Detroit, brought together Michigan Democrats from all corners of the state. The convention was marked by celebration and excitement as party members reflected on their historic victories in the 2022 midterm elections and strategized for the upcoming 2024 presidential election.


The Official Call to Convention


The Michigan Democratic State Central Committee directed the 2023 Spring State Convention to be held at Huntington Place in Detroit. At the convention, Michigan Democrats gathered by congressional district to elect district officers and members to the State Central Committee. Additionally, members of MDP constituency group caucuses met to elect their leadership. The convention floor saw Democrats vote by congressional district to elect a Chair and two Vice-Chairs of the State Central Committee.


U.S. Senator Gary Peters speaks to the assembled congressional district representatives.

A Message of Thanks and Encouragement from the MDP Chair


MDP Chair Lavora Barnes expressed her gratitude to all Michigan Democrats for their hard work during the 2022 election cycle. She acknowledged the impact of their efforts, which led to re-electing Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and Attorney General Dana Nessel. The 2022 elections marked a historic moment as Democrats achieved control of both chambers of the legislature for the first time in nearly four decades.


Chair Barnes emphasized the importance of continued engagement and hard work to keep the Democratic trifecta strong in Michigan. The 2023 Spring State Convention served as a time to celebrate their victories and plan for the future, with an eye toward the critical 2024 presidential election.


Lavora Barnes was reelected as Michigan Democratic Party chair on Saturday in Detroit. State Rep. Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor) will serve as 1st vice-chair and State Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) will serve as 2nd vice-chair. Photo courtesy of Michigan Advance.

Local Participation from Shiawassee County


The Shiawassee County Democratic Party (SCDP) actively participated in the Democratic State Convention. Members of the SCDP had the opportunity to meet with fellow Democrats from District 7, represented by U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin, as well as outgoing Senator Debbie Stabenow. During the convention, discussions revolved around protecting citizens' freedoms and working to bring more jobs, projects, and funding to the district.


Stephen Schlaack (SCDP Chair), Aaron Ray (SCDP Treasurer), Sen. Sam Singh (MI 28th Senate Dist), Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou (MI 75th House Dist), Brian True (Member), Janet Kiley (Former SCDP Chair), Bailey Leppert (SCDP Secretary)

First-Hand Observations of the Convention


Stephen Schlaack, SCDP Chair, shared his observations from the convention. He noted an unprecedented level of excitement and drive among Michigan Democrats, highlighting their commitment to working for the people of the state. Democrats recognized the need for increased outreach, particularly in rural areas, and the Rural Caucus played a significant role in the discussions. Schlaack expressed hope that this recognition would lead to giving voices to rural areas that have been overlooked.


In Shiawassee County, the SCDP witnessed a surge of energy among local, young, and rural voters who have felt unheard and dismissed for years. Local engagement and voter turnout increased, signaling a positive change in the county's political landscape.


MDP Chair Re-election and Future Goals


Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes was re-elected for a third two-year term at the convention, running unopposed. Under her leadership, the party had achieved historic victories, flipping both the state House and Senate, and securing a Democratic trifecta with Governor Whitmer's re-election.


Looking ahead, the Michigan Democratic Party aims to grow its slim majority in the state House and win crucial congressional races in the 2024 elections. The open U.S. Senate seat in Michigan is expected to be highly competitive, and the party will need strong candidates and early recruitment to retain its majority in the state House.


The Path Forward for Michigan Democrats


The Michigan Democratic Party's 2023 Spring State Convention was a moment of celebration and a call to action. As Democrats gathered under new congressional district lines, they elected party leaders who will guide the party towards success in 2023 and beyond. The convention also served as an opportunity to strategize for the 2024 presidential election, where Michigan would play a pivotal role as a battleground state.


Party leaders emphasized the importance of continued engagement, outreach, and hard work to build on their recent successes. The convention showcased the enthusiasm and dedication of Michigan Democrats, and local party members in Shiawassee County expressed their commitment to work for a better future for their community.


As Michigan Democrats move forward, they remain focused on their core values and commitment to progress, inclusivity, and making a positive impact on the lives of all Michiganders. The convention marked a significant moment in the party's history, and the path ahead promises to be filled with opportunities and challenges that will shape the future of the state and the nation.

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