Updated: LaSata has COVID-19, senators blast her for attending meetings while awaiting test results

By: - November 13, 2020 3:29 pm

Sen. Kim LaSata | Senate GOP photo

Updated, 8:18 p.m., 11/13/20

State Sen. Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Twp.) has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Senate GOP spokesperson Amber McCann. 

LaSata was tested during a medical procedure. Her colleague, Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), learned of her health status on Friday and is concerned. He was, at times, within whispering distance of her during Thursday’s Senate session. 

Hollier told the Michigan Advance on Friday that he saw LaSata wearing a mask at times and not wearing a mask at others.  

“It’s incredibly frustrating that leaders of this state aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously,” Hollier said. “We are not doing what is necessary to keep government functioning safely.”  

On Friday, LaSata announced that she was informed Thursday evening that she tested positive for COVID-19 during a recent routine medical checkup. 

https://www.michiganadvance.com/2020/05/22/republican-declares-i-am-not-detroit-in-heated-covid-19-oversight-hearing/

LaSata and Hollier had a public exchange earlier this year during a Joint Select Committee hearing on the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer administration’s handling of coronavirus. In May, LaSata, who is from Southwest Michigan, argued areas outside of hardest-hit Southeast Michigan should reopen, despite a continued rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths in many areas in the state.

“This pandemic is not only killing people, the disease isn’t killing them, you know not letting them get back to work, and work safely, is killing them. I know specifically two individuals who have died from suicide. I am tired. … I am not Detroit,” LaSata said.

Hollier called the comments offensive. 

“I represent a community that has a very real, large number of deaths associated with this crisis,” Hollier said. “So for you to talk about your reality is perfectly fine but to consistently scream that you are not Detroit is offensive and I would appreciate it if you would not do such things in committee.”

Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) said that she sat with LaSata during the Senate Insurance Committee meeting on Thursday and is disappointed that her colleague attended the meeting while awaiting a COVID-19 test result. 

https://www.michiganadvance.com/2020/11/12/rep-vansingel-is-the-latest-state-lawmaker-to-contract-covid-19/

“I am irked,” said Geiss who is a caregiver for a parent who is suffering from a significant health challenge. “In the interest of public health, you skip the vote.” 

The Michigan Advance reported on Thursday that state Reps. Scott VanSingel (R-Grant) and Ann Bollin (R-Brighton) also recently tested positive for COVID-19. There are widespread concerns that there’s an even larger outbreak of COVID-19 among lawmakers. The House canceled session and hearings on Thursday.

They join a list of Michigan lawmakers who have had the virus. They include Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain), Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit), Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint).

Rep. Isaac Robinson (D-Detroit) died on March 29 and the virus is believed to have played a factor. State Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt) said she believed she had COVID-19, although her test was lost.

https://www.michiganadvance.com/2020/11/11/republicans-cancel-thursday-house-hearings-dem-leader-concerned-about-covid-19/

State Rep. Andrea Schroeder (R-Independence Twp.) reported on Wednesday through her state House office website that her office hours engagement scheduled for Thursday had been postponed.

The constituent meeting, which was set for the Village of Clarkston City Hall, will be rescheduled for a date yet to be determined, the website said. 

However, an email from her suggested that the postponement was because of “potential COVID-19 exposure.” It further stated that Schroeder had not “directly exposed herself” to coronavirus but implied that someone close to her has and is “asymptomatic.” 

“Out of an abundance for your safety, we will keep these postponed til we receive test results to the contrary,” the email read. 

A call and email were placed to Schroeder’s House office but were not returned.

“Any release of personal medical information would be up to the individual representatives,” said Gideon D’Assandro, spokesperson for House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), to Michigan Advance on Friday. 

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.

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