DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Detroit lawmaker has abandoned the Democratic Party to become an independent, accusing the party’s leaders of not prioritizing issues important to the city and its predominantly black population.

State Rep. John Olumba noted that only one black legislator from Detroit sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which approves the state budget, and that no Detroit lawmakers or black legislators are assigned to the House Tax Policy Committee for the two-year session that began in January.

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Olumba’s departure from the Michigan House’s Democratic caucus gives Republicans a 59-50 edge instead of a 59-51 majority, though he may still vote with Democrats on many bills.

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In 2011, State Representative John Olumba said some of his colleagues tried to strong-arm him into signing a letter.

At the time the State Representative said some of his colleagues tried to strong-arm him into signing a letter. That letter asked him to retract a request he made to have State Attorney General Bill Schuette investigate a scandal over a $200,000 severance package.
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