Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ+ people, the state budget, the economy and more.


Susan J. Demas: As other states attack LGBTQ+ kids, Michigan emerges as a safe haven

By: - March 22, 2023

After decades of fighting for basic rights and dignity, LGBTQ+ people last week finally became full and equal citizens in Michigan. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday signed a landmark bill expanding the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) that bars discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The Lansing ceremony was marked by hugs […]

Michigan Advance wins 2022 Public Service Award, 22 total Michigan Press Association honors

By: - March 17, 2023

The Michigan Advance has won 22 Michigan Press Association (MPA) awards in its 2022 “News Media Publication of the Year” contest, including placing first in the Public Service Award for “Loss, strain and hope mark the next phase of the COVID pandemic.” Anna Gustafson, Susan J. Demas, Allison R. Donahue, Ken Coleman and Laina G. […]

VP Harris highlights reproductive rights progress in Michigan amid state, federal attacks

By: - March 16, 2023

Before a federal judge on Wednesday heard four hours of oral arguments on a case challenging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval and regulation of mifepristone, the first drug used in a medication abortion, Vice President Kamala Harris praised Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for helping lead the way on preserving reproductive rights at the state […]

EPA proposes new rule to crack down on PFAS, forever chemicals in our water

By: and - March 14, 2023

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday announced its proposed maximum contaminant levels — MCLs– for six types of toxic PFAS in drinking water and acknowledged that no amount of these compounds is safe. “EPA anticipates if fully implemented the rule will prevent tens of thousands of serious PFAS-attributable illnesses or deaths,” the agency wrote […]


Susan J. Demas: What we owe our children after the horror at MSU

By: - February 18, 2023

Michigan State’s sprawling campus has been home to thousands, like my daughter, during some of the most exciting and demanding years of their lives. It can feel like just about everyone in the state has a connection to the school in one way or another.  And so, there are countless personal stories about the Michigan […]

‘It is OK not to be OK right now’

By: - February 16, 2023

Updated, 2:56 p.m., 2/16/23 Two nights after Michigan State University’s campus was shattered by a mass shooting that killed three students and wounded five more, thousands of people gathered near The Rock to mourn and remember them. Alexandria Verner, 20, of Clawson; Brian Fraser, 20, of Grosse Pointe; and Arielle Anderson, 19, of Harper Woods; […]

Updated: Police say three people are dead, five injured in MSU shooting, suspect is dead

By: - February 13, 2023

Updated, 7:31 a.m. 2/14/23, 8:26 a.m. 2/14/23 Three people have been killed and five more people have been injured after being shot at Michigan State University, police confirmed. Some have life-threatening injuries, police said at an 11 p.m. briefing. Victims have been transported to Sparrow Hospital. Police said at an 8 a.m. Tuesday press conference […]

Whitmer wants to sign LGBTQ+ rights bill, see changes to abortion information laws

By: - February 8, 2023

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told the Michigan Advance this week that she wants the state to make progress on key civil rights issues as she works with the first Democratic-controlled Legislature in almost 40 years. Democrats have already introduced several bills to that end. Last week, the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee held […]

Whitmer to propose budget increases for childcare, contraception, school meals and maternity care

By: - February 7, 2023

In her first budget proposal to the new Democratic-controlled Legislature on Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to boost spending for childcare, birth control, school meals and more.   In a phone interview with the Michigan Advance on Monday morning, the governor characterized her Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget plan as being both “bold” and addressing Michigan’s […]


Susan J. Demas: Michigan Democrats can’t buckle on repealing Right to Work

By: - January 25, 2023

Four decades ago, former Gov. George Romney reportedly had some wise words for Republican John Engler at his gubernatorial inauguration: “Be bold.” Bold Engler was, steering Michigan ever-rightward through the 1990s with an agenda cutting business regulations, ushering in school choice while demonizing teachers, and slashing the safety net. But the culmination of Engler’s vision […]

Dems are eyeing ethics reforms, gun reform and abortion ban repeal next year, Lasinski says

By: - December 22, 2022

House minority leader focused on the future while recounting challenges this session during roundtable As the 101st Legislature ends and a newly elected Democratic majority gets ready to take the reins, outgoing House Minority Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.) hosted a media roundtable on Wednesday, focusing on education, economic support and ethics in the Michigan […]


Susan J. Demas: Mike Shirkey’s long, crazy goodbye 

By: - December 13, 2022

“That was some weird shit.” That was former President George W. Bush’s reported take on former President Donald Trump’s angry inaugural address back in 2017. And that seems to be the consensus on the farewell speech last week from Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), who, notably, dismissed his frequent foe, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, […]