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The Associated Press November 9, 2010, 4:06PM ET

Mich. GOP lawmakers to develop ideas for economy

Republicans who will be helping run the Michigan Legislature next year said Tuesday that they plan on being equal partners with Republican Gov.-elect Rick Snyder in reinvigorating the state.

Senate Republicans elected Sen. Randy Richardville of Monroe to be their majority leader starting in 2011. House Republicans were expected to elect Rep. James 'Jase' Bolger of Marshall as leader later Tuesday, putting him in line to become the next House speaker as the GOP takes over the majority in the chamber in 2011.

Republican lawmakers say they will develop their own ideas to improve Michigan's economy and balance a state government budget expected to have a $1.5 billion shortfall for the fiscal year starting in October 2011. Some of those ideas likely will fit in nicely with Snyder's plans, and some of them might not.

"We're going to be going in the same direction in general," Richardville said. "But we will be an equal voice in the government in the state of Michigan with the administration."

Snyder and Lt. Gov.-elect Brian Calley met with many of the current and incoming state lawmakers Tuesday. Calley, now in the state House, will team with former lieutenant governor and incoming Snyder senior adviser Dick Posthumus to guide policies through the Legislature.

Richardville will lead a Senate where Republicans will have a 26-12 edge over Democrats. He replaces term-limited Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop of Rochester.

Republicans will have more than 60 seats in the 110-seat House next year. Democrats have had the majority for the past four years.

Senate Democrats already have picked Sen. Gretchen Whitmer of East Lansing to be their leader starting in 2011.

House Democrats also are expected to pick their next leader late Tuesday. Term-limited Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon will be joining Republican Gov.-elect Rick Snyder's administration as the state treasurer.

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