Local rep selected to lead Michigan House of Representatives

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published November 15, 2022

Joseph Tate

GROSSE POINTES — State Rep. Joseph Tate, D-Detroit — who represents Grosse Pointe City, Grosse Pointe Farms and Grosse Pointe Park for the 2nd District — will continue to represent the Pointes when he’s sworn into office in his new district in January.

Tate — who’ll now be the representative for the newly drafted 10th District — was elected to another term Nov. 8. The 10th District includes all five Pointes and a portion of southeast Detroit. Tate ran against Republican Mark Corcoran.

Tate also made history when, on Nov. 10, his fellow House Democrats elected him Speaker of the House — making him the first Black person named to this position. Democrats won control of the state House and Senate for the first time in 40 years during the Nov. 8 election, which marks the first election cycle to use state and federal district boundaries drawn by an independent citizens commission rather than state legislators.

“After an unprecedented memorable election, the Michigan Senate and House Democrats took an historic step today and elected the first Black Speaker of the House and the first woman Senate Majority leader,” Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes said in a prepared statement. “Speaker Joe Tate will lead the Michigan House with both grace and dignity, holding Republicans accountable and putting the needs of all Michiganders first. Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks will approach her role as majority leader with finesse and experience.”

Labor leaders also greeted the news with enthusiasm.

“After Tuesday’s unprecedented and historic victories, the Michigan AFL-CIO is excited to work with our new pro-labor majority to rebuild Michigan for working people. Today’s election of Joe Tate as the next Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives and Winnie Brinks as the next Senate Majority Leader mark the conclusion of a successful campaign season,” said Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber in a prepared statement. “Joe Tate and Winnie Brinks understand the importance of protecting our union freedoms, collective bargaining rights, and repealing anti-labor legislation like so-called right-to-work. Their outstanding record of progressive legislative action, and commitment to building a cleaner, greener economy with Michigan workers, positions them to be effective champions and unifying leaders for the first pro-labor trifecta in decades.”

Local political officials were also delighted by the selection of Tate to lead House Democrats.

“We are just thrilled to see this opportunity for Joe,” Grosse Pointe Democratic Club Vice President Colton Dale, of Grosse Pointe Woods, said. “He’s been a fantastic representative, not just for us, but statewide. He’s got that leadership quality. He’s a true leader, a very humble person, a very gracious person and a hard worker on behalf of his constituents.”

Other local officials have also thanked Tate for his work on behalf of the Grosse Pointes on important projects, such as ongoing seawall repairs.

The son of a Detroit teacher and Detroit firefighter, Tate, 41, earned a football scholarship to Michigan State University and then joined the National Football League, where he played defense in 2005 for the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe. He then served in the U.S Marine Corps, where he was deployed twice to Afghanistan. Following his military service, Tate earned an MBA and a Master of Science degree in environmental policy and planning from the University of Michigan. He was a program manager for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation before being elected to the Legislature.

Tate could not be reached for comment before press time.