WYOMING, Mich., July 19, 2023 — State Rep. John Fitzgerald (D-Wyoming) has issued the following statement in response to the charges filed against Wyoming Mayor Kent Vanderwood as part of Attorney General Dana Nessel’s 2020 election investigation:
“The actions of Mayor Vanderwood do not reflect the honest values of the people of Wyoming. We are a community of people who prioritize the rule of law, who support our democracy and seek to uphold the Constitution.
“These allegations — attempting to overturn Michigan’s lawful election — not only demonstrate poor judgment, but they also describe actions that are un-American, dangerous and wholly inappropriate for any person in a position of public trust to perpetrate.
“Every resident of Wyoming deserves to have trust in our local institutions and leaders. While these charges move through the courts, I do not believe that our city, nor its residents, are best served under the leadership of an indicted mayor.
“Therefore, I am calling on Mayor Vanderwood to, at minimum, recuse himself from all official duties until the legal proceedings have concluded and a verdict has been rendered on all eight felony charges levied against him.
“Wyoming has so much to look forward to, so much greatness yet to be realized, and we cannot allow these charges to overshadow or distract from that. As state representative, I look forward to championing the issues most important to our community — public safety, voting and election integrity, economic development and opportunity, and pro-democracy policies. These are the real values that make us the city of vision and progress.”
Kent Vanderwood was elected to the position of mayor in August 2022 after earning more than 50% of the vote in a three-way primary. Vanderwood had served for more than a decade on the City Council as an at-large council member before seeking the mayoral seat. Vanderwood, a known Republican organizer and leader in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, has more than three years remaining in his four-year term as mayor, which will end in 2026.
Rep. Fitzgerald, serving in his first term as state representative from the 83rd District, incorporating the majority of Wyoming and portions of Grand Rapids’ southwest side and Byron Township, is chair of the House Local Government and Municipal Finance Committee. His record demonstrates his ability to work across the aisle and has sponsored multiple bipartisan bill packages on issues regarding public safety, housing and health care.