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What does it say about a leader when they won’t take a stand?

While Republicans and Democrats from throughout Michigan have loudly condemned the actions of Speaker of the House Jase Bolger and Representative Roy Schmidt for trying to defraud the public and take away their very right to free elections, Governor Rick Snyder has refused to speak out.  While thousands sign petitions calling for Speaker Bolger to resign his leadership position, Governor Snyder has yet to even say what Bolger did was wrong.

When pushed by reporters to respond to the election scandal last week, the Governor would only state, “I focus on the executive branch, that's the legislative branch of government. Obviously there's topics of discussion and I hope the legislative body and the people associated with that work through their issues.”

Sadly, what the Governor chooses not to understand is that Speaker Bolger’s lies and deception are not a legislative issue, they are a credibility issue for our Government and our state.  They undermine every effort the Governor himself has worked on to “reinvent” our state as a place for businesses to grow and invest in.  For him to suggest that he has no role in ensuring accountability among legislative leadership shows that he’s more beholden to his party bosses than he is to the people of Michigan and the promise he made to them to move beyond these very political games he’s now refusing to denounce.

This type of inaction has unfortunately become the normal for this Governor rather than the exception.  When Republicans passed legislation to strip domestic partner benefits from Michigan families despite his objections, he signed it into law anyway.  When they passed a blatantly political redistricting bill to ensure Republicans maintained control of Oakland County’s board of commissioners, he quietly went along with that too.

Now, as a report comes out from the Kent County Prosecutor’s office showing that Bolger and his staff, “tried to undermine the very fabric of our country, which is a free election,” our Governor can’t even say that behavior was unacceptable within Michigan government.

Governor Snyder must understand that he is expected to be a leader not only when it’s convenient for him, but anytime our state needs him to be.  When former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s administration was overrun with scandal, Governor Granholm initiated a process to remove him from office so that the City would no longer be paralyzed by a corrupt administration.

Governor Snyder could take action today to allow our state to move forward from this scandal by joining with me and the countless others calling on Speaker Bolger to resign his leadership position.  There is simply too much at stake for Michigan for Bolger’s actions to stand in the way of what truly needs to be done at the Capitol.

Bolger’s resignation as leader may not be in his political party’s best interest, but it’s clearly in the people of Michigan’s best interest.  The question that remains is whether or not the Governor knows which is more important to him.

Looking Forward

1) Facing attacks from both Republicans and Democrats in his district, how does Representative Roy Schmidt think he can win re-election in light of his role in the election scandal?

2) Will House Republicans continue to support Bolger should he run to Speaker of the House again next year?

3) Does Governor Snyder trust that Bolger will be able to deliver on his promises given his questionable position within his own caucus?

Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Senate Democratic Leader

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