Migrant Workers Helped Flip the State House in Michigan
In 2022 Michigan won sweeping victories at the state and local level. Ballot propositions to advance voting rights and enshrine reproductive freedom in the state constitution passed with strong support. Voters also re-elected a progressive Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, and pro-democracy majorities in the State Senate and State House, gaining the first trifecta in almost 40 years, and the mandate to govern. These victories, particularly flipping the state legislature, were only possible with the leaders at We the People Michigan and We the People Action Fund. New Representative Betsy Coffia, We The People Action Fund’s Rural Lead Organizer, became the first progressive movement organizer to represent a rural community in the legislature in recent history.
Coffia’s area of Northern Michigan is the heart of the state’s cherry belt, with a strong base of working families and undocumented communities. Undocumented people in Michigan have been fighting to win back driver’s licenses for years and knew this race was critical for determining control of policymaking. We The People built a powerful campaign where undocumented leaders who can’t vote organized their families and friends who could to cast their ballot for Coffia—who had been organizing in the community for 10 years and standing up for working people time and again. Coffia won by just over 700 votes; migrant workers were critical to winning the seat that flipped the State House.
This article was originally published in RDI's 2022 Impact Report.
Betsy Coffia was elected to represent a rural community