Sharing the Balance of Power

An Examination of Shared Power in the Michigan House of Representatives, 1993-1994
Daniel Loepp
A rare look inside Michigan politics


Like national politicians, state legislators all too often focus on partisanship instead of policy making, engaging themselves in rancorous debate that achieves little beyond gridlock. However, during one short period in Michigan's history, legislators stopped bickering and focused on forging compromise. Daniel Loepp's Sharing the Balance of Power chronicles the 87th Michigan Legislature (1993-1994), in which Republicans and Democrats successfully shared power.

In 1992, Michigan voters elected exactly fifty-five Republicans and fifty-five Democrats to the state house. As a result, the two parties each elected a co-speaker, and a shared power agreement was forged. Given the history of intense partisanship in the state house, political pundits predicted that any plan for shared power would disintegrate within months. What resulted instead was one of the most productive legislatures in Michigan history.

Author Daniel Loepp, chief of staff to Democratic Co-Speaker Curtis Hertel at the time, skillfully takes the reader "inside" the State Capitol, examining the key policy debates (including school finance reform), important personalities, and difficult negotiations. Loepp's balanced presentation is testimony to the two years of bi-partisan cooperation in which he took part.

In an age of public cynicism about the legislative process, Daniel Loepp offers the reader a refreshing story about two co-speakers and their 108 colleagues who came together in the spirit of bi-partisan representation to successfully serve their constituents, the people of Michigan.

Daniel Loepp is a partner in the firm of Karoub Associates, Michigan's oldest multi-client lobbying firm.

Praise / Awards

  • "In a period where most of the public is cynical about legislators and the legislative process, Loepp provides readers with a positive account of individuals setting aside intense partisan differences in favor of genuine bipartisan cooperation. Thus, this historical case study is valuable because it offers a positive glimpse of government. For students of legislative politics, this book is an excellent case study of how personalities can dominate a legislative session and how legislatures respond to unique conditions."
    —Josh Stockley, student at University of Oklahoma, APSA Legislative Studies Section Newsletter, July 2000

Look Inside


Chapter 1: To the Victors Go the Spoils     I

Chapter 2: Whoever Dares, Wins.....9

Chapter 3: A Fairy-Tale Beginning.....27

Chapter 4: Getting Down to Details     49

Chapter 5: House Fiscal Agency Scandal     62

Chapter 6: Setting an Agenda     91

Chapter 7: Partisan Ends, Partisan Means     121

Chapter 8: The Republican Tide, Maybe     132

Chapter 9: Change for the Good     146

Chapter 10: Perspectives of Shared Power     157

Chapter 11: Fair Shares for All     177

Appendix: Democratic/Republican Leadership Agreement     185

Glossary     193

Illustrations    following page 116

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 216pp.
  • 4 B&W illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-09702-9

Add to Cart
  • $55.00 U.S.