LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) — A kernel of kindness was shown at the state capitol Tuesday as Republican State Sen. Ed McBroom made an unexpected offer to the legislative body from the Senate floor.
The official item of concern Tuesday morning was whether or not Brownfield tax credits would be extended before they expired at the end of the week. Without fuss, House Bill 4829 was passed by a vote of 29 to 9 with McBroom joining the majority.
What came after were comments from a few Republican legislators. State Sen. Webber of Rochester Hills lamented the many failures of the Hawthorne Center, a psychiatric hospital in his district.
“I am hopeful that we could work together on this important task as we began our fall schedule. More must be done on behalf of individuals and families who have suffered in the centers care,” Webber told the chamber. “Unfortunately, the concerns over care at the Hawthorne Center are growing. At the same time young people are struggling more and more with mental health issues.”
Webber said he has secured from the state auditor a promise to consider his request for an investigation of the Hawthorn Center in the 2024 audit cycle, which could already be cleared of patients by then. That’s because construction to build a new psychiatric hospital replacing the Hawthorn Center is set to begin this Fall.
State Sen. Joseph Bellino Jr. of Monroe was next up, taking a shot at the size of the latest budget passed by democrats and Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Governor Whitmer vetoed a bill which would have suspended our gas tax. Then she and the majority Democrats proceeded to blow through a record budget surplus, drastically growing the size of government and somehow finding money for new swimming pools and pickleball courts.”
Among the line items of the largest budget in state history is also the $325 million needed to replace the Hawthorne Center.
Approaching the end of the session State Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt accused the Governor of leading a “California style” agenda, set to spend and raise taxes too much before rebuking Whitmer’s claims of economic progress.
State Sen. McBroom pops the question
Right in the middle of these appeals and condemnations was McBroom, down from his home in Vulcan, near Iron Mountain. He asked his colleagues to lend an ear for no more than a couple minutes.
“Mr. President… I’m happy to see you,” McBroom started off. “And my other colleagues here in the Senate. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be with you last week.”
After he audience was buttered up, McBroom got to the point.
“the weather in the Upper Peninsula has finally been decent, and so I was able to bring down with me a large quantity of sweet corn. It’s in the trunk of my car over in the parking garage and members and their staff are welcome to stop by and take some home with them.”
Some senators and staffers may have been in too much of a rush after today’s session to stop by, but that’s one problem at the capitol McBroom thought he could solve with ease.
“I’ll probably have a lot more next week than I have this week. So if you miss out this week, the stuff next week will probably be even better.”
Given the speech it’s likely not surprising to hear that underneath his political husk, McBroom is a career farmer—the 4th generation to look after the farm at Melodydell Dairy.
McBroom is up to more than feeding staffers at the state capitol. This legislative session he has been the primary sponsor of 14 bills, two of which have moved on beyond his chamber. Earlier this month he proposed SB 467, which seeks to improve and enforce government transparency through an amendment to the Freedom of Information Act.