Republican says balance of power has been ‘emasculated’ as Senate rejects another 5 Whitmer appointees

By: - February 3, 2021 2:13 pm

Sen. Ed McBroom speaks on the floor of the state Senate | Nick Manes

State Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) said the “balance at the bargaining table” has been “emasculated” over the pandemic, culminating with the Senate voting Wednesday to reject more of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s state board appointees. 

“Where is the balance at the bargaining table? It’s gone. It’s been abrogated, emasculated, taken away,” McBroom said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “As I’ve said before, the answer is found in not one silver bullet, not a magic plan, not unilateralism. But the plan is for us to strive forward, staying true to the democratic process, staying true to hearing our constituents’ needs, bringing them forward as their duly elected representatives, having the debate, taking the votes, and deciding if it’s the right thing to do.”

The Senate rejected five appointees, including Andrea Dickson for the Michigan Technological University Board of Trustees, Jason Morgan for the Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees Mikyia Aaron and Noreen Myers for the Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees and Gabriella Abel for the Board of Cosmetology.

There are few restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic, but Republicans continue to oppose Michigan Department of Health and Human Services orders restricting indoor dining and banning indoor high school sports.

Michigan has more than 560,000 cases and more than 14,600 deaths.

The move Wednesday comes after a longer list of 13 appointees that were rejected last week by the Senate.

The arguments made by Republicans in favor of rejecting the appointees has nothing to do with the appointees themselves, but is due to their frustrations with the governor and her administration’s executive powers throughout the pandemic.

Democrats were critical of the Republicans for using a standard political procedure to send a message to the governor. 

“Even hostage takers are decent enough to give a list of demands,” Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) said.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) said that now is the time to compromise. 

“Sometimes you have to sit down with [Whitmer’s] staff, or the lieutenant governor [Garlin Gilchrist] or the department director and offer differences of opinion and compromise,” Ananich said. “Because the governor doesn’t like your idea, doesn’t mean she’s obstructing. It means you offer a compromise or say, ‘What do you want to do differently?’”

The Senate’s move came as the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday morning voted on legislation for COVID-19 aid that has strings attached for the Whitmer administration, which was challenged by several Democrats on the committee. 

“Based on the votes in today’s House Appropriations Committee, I am deeply concerned Democrats are looking for reasons to not support this COVID-19 recovery package – denying Michigan families the help they desperately need,” House Appropriations Committee Chair Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) said.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.