LANSING – State Representative Richard E. Hammel (D-Mt. Morris Twp.) was chosen by his colleagues today to serve as House Democratic Leader for the 2011-2012 session. State Representative Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek) will serve as Democratic Floor Leader.

“I’m humbled to be chosen to lead House Democrats during this critical time for our state,” Hammel said. “We are committed to standing up for Michigan’s workers and families. We want to make sure no one is left behind as Michigan continues to move forward, especially our most vulnerable residents. We’re going to build on what House Dems have already done to create jobs and start turning our economy around, and work with our colleagues across the aisle to do what’s right for the people of Michigan.”

Hammel, who is finishing his second term in the House, is the current Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee. He was instrumental in reaching bipartisan agreements that resolved the state’s unprecedented budget crisis this year in ways that avoided massive cuts to schools and local police and fire protection.

Hammel has also been a champion for Michigan workers displaced by the changing economy and auto industry. His bipartisan Michigan New Jobs Training Program, an innovative community college-employer partnership, has saved or created hundreds of jobs around the state. Hammel also sponsored legislation to use federal funds to extend unemployment benefits for residents enrolled in job retraining programs and helped implement the No Worker Left Behind Program as Chair of the House Appropriations Economic Development Subcommittee.

Hammel worked as a skilled tradesman at Delphi Corp. for nearly 30 years and was a Genesee County commissioner for nine years before coming to the House of Representatives.