Since only a GOP miracle will keep Zemke from replacing Olson in Lansing, Washtenaw County's state house delegation is sure to be bluer next year. The big unknown is whether Ouimet can hold onto his patch of red.
Mark Ouimet's career before the state house includes four years as chancellor of Northwood University, two years as president of University Bank, seven years on city council, and six years on the county board. A loyal Republican, he's proud of his party's accomplishments since it gained control of both houses in Lansing, plus the governorship.
"When Governor Snyder took over, we had a $1.5 billion deficit," says Ouimet, "and we balanced the budget five months ahead of schedule so that schools and other governmental units can deal with it in plenty of time. And we've reduced long-term debt by seventeen billion"--almost all of it by reducing state employee retirement benefits.
Ouimet credits his party with "over a hundred thousand new jobs [that] have been created in our state since I took office. In 2009, unemployment was at 14.2 percent, and now we're at 9.4 percent." Personal income, he adds, "increased 5.2 percent in 2011," the biggest improvement in eleven years.