Dear Mr. Speaker,
As we head into the 101st Legislature, during which you and I will serve as leaders in the Michigan House of Representatives, I write you to consider a critical issue related to our elections and our democracy.
Yesterday’s violence and chaos at our nation’s Capital may stand as one of the darkest days in U.S. political history. Like others, I am outraged and anguished at the attempted insurrection, criminal activity and vandalism incited by President Trump. These disgraceful actions have not been confined to Washington, D.C., but to our own state capitol where a bomb threat was called in, forcing the building’s closure this morning.
Sadly, several Michigan lawmakers bear responsibility for stoking and fomenting the disgraceful actions we have witnessed. Like President Trump, they have helped create an atmosphere where violence, harassment and intimidation has become normalized.
Most recently, some Republicans in the Michigan House of Representatives wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence asking him to delay finalization of the November 3 election results, delaying by 10 days so lawmakers could, “meet, investigate and as a body vote on certification or decertification of the election.”
Some House Republicans also joined a brazen and unprecedented attempt to steal the presidential election and override the will of the majority of Michigan voters. By signing onto the Texas v Pennsylvania lawsuit, Michigan lawmakers became knowing and willing accomplices in a failed coup d’état.
Just as disturbingly, two Republican members of the Michigan House were listed among the plaintiffs in another federal lawsuit that aims to require state legislatures, not electors, to certify the results of presidential elections. That lawsuit was full of debunked conspiracy theories, baseless claims and outright fabrications – all of which perpetuate mistrust in our democratic institutions.
There have been no public apologies or even acknowledgement from these 18 Michigan legislators that they erred, nor have there been any repercussions for their actions. They have not apologized. In fact, some have doubled down. This is not acceptable.
When we are sworn into office, we swear an oath to uphold the Constitution of Michigan and the United States — to uphold our form of democratic government. These Republican lawmakers advocated to subvert our government, which should be construed as a major breach of the public trust. Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum has asked Attorney General Dana Nessel to investigate this matter — something that I fully support. In the meantime, if these Republican lawmakers truly believe there was fraud in Michigan’s elections, they should by the same logic reject their own re-election results and decline to be seated when the 101st Legislature convenes on January 13.
As a result of their brazen actions and breach of the public trust in clear violation of their oath, the following Republican lawmakers must disavow their actions: Rep. Julie Alexander, Rep. Joe Bellino, Rep. Ken Borton, Rep. Steve Carra, Rep. Gary Eisen, Rep. Beth Griffin, Rep. Michele Hoitenga, Rep. Bronna Kahle, Rep. Matt Maddock, Rep. Gregory Markkanen, Rep. Luke Meerman, Rep. Jack O’Malley, Rep. Brad Paquette, Rep. John Reilly, Rep. Daire Rendon, Rep. Rodney Wakeman, Rep. Mary Whiteford and Rep. Douglas Wozniak. Should these Members fail to disavow their shameful conduct, I am calling on you to take immediate, appropriate action to discipline these Members under your authority as Speaker or pursuant to the House’s plenary authority to discipline its Members.
As Speaker, I implore you to consider what is at stake if these lawmakers are allowed to advocate for the subversion of our democracy one day and then be allowed to make decisions on behalf of the people of Michigan the next. I urge you to consider the disturbing message it would send to the people of Michigan and future generations. I hope you will join me in holding these individuals accountable for their irresponsible actions by taking action up to and including not seating them in the 101st Legislature without disavowing their support of unproven conspiracy theories and actions, undermining our democracy and encouraging the violent overthrow of our government.
Michigan House of Representatives