Sarah Anthony is making history in Michigan’s legislature. In her third term as state senator, the Lansing native has been appointed to lead the Appropriations committee, becoming the first Black woman to do so.
In this role, the 39-year-old will oversee all state spending in the largest, and authoritative, Senate committee. Anthony spoke to MLive about what this opportunity means to her as someone who never aspired to be a politician,
“This was never, never on the bingo card ever. This is all bonus.”
Grateful to embark on a role as a prominent player in state politics, Anthony wants to focus on how she will show up when given a chance to represent in leadership, especially for Black women. However, she ultimately does not want to put too much emphasis on her identity.
“I don’t like the gamesmanship of politics. That doesn’t resonate with me,” said the senator.
Anthony does applaud herself for unifying the legislature to get necessary spending budgets passed. She garnered bipartisan support on a $82 billion budget that also will allocate funding to invest in diverse Michigan communities. Her identity, she proclaims, did play a role in getting that bill passed by her Republican senators.
She’s quite content with having the institution “shaken up” by her efficiency and dedication to progress through getting the work done as a Black woman. Taking over a role that has been historically held solely by older white men can be a daunting task, but one Anthony is more than ready for.
“When I look at that wall of the men who have like, done this job before me, I know that they didn’t have the same level of community connection,” Anthony shared when speaking of her duty to her constituents.
Although long hours and racially-charged threats are not uncommon, she hopes her growing career in politics will further close the gap between her diverse home community and state leaders.
“Hopefully, my legacy is being able to have an ear to the streets and bring those perspectives here,” shared Anthony. “So that they can see themselves in the state budget, which in my mind is one of the most powerful mechanisms for change in politics.”