Rep. Donni Steele today slammed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for rushing a pair of special elections to fill two vacant seats in the Michigan House. The primary elections are set for Jan. 30 and the general elections are planned for April 16. The seats are open after two Democrats resigned to fill mayoral posts. The House is now evenly split 54-54 between Republicans and Democrats.
The governor announced her plan to fill the seats last Wednesday, only giving prospective candidates until 4 p.m. this Monday, Nov. 27, to file. Given the holiday weekend, interested residents had merely 12 business hours to file their intent to run with local clerks.
“The timeline laid out by the governor was clear political manipulation of the election process,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “Voters in these communities deserved a fair and honest process. Instead, the governor found a new way to operate in the shadows. Potential candidates may have missed the filing opportunity while celebrating Thanksgiving with their families. This political gamesmanship continues to erode our democracy.”
Steele served on the Orion Township Board of Trustees for nine years before coming to the Legislature. She said empathizes with elected officials in these communities now facing the financial and administrative burden of managing two unexpected elections.
“Presidential election years are stressful and expensive enough as it is,” Steele said. “This plan ignores the immense stress faced by local officials. The governor could have easily used the existing election date in February. But instead, she is adding two new elections and forcing local clerks to play her political games.”
Steele also noted the hypocrisy of rushing special elections after Democrats ended the legislative session at the earliest date in 55 years. With the House evenly split, Steele and her Republican colleagues have been outspoken proponents of potential bipartisan work that needs to be done right now.
“Forcing special elections to take back a slim majority is a perfect depiction of the Democrats’ time in power,” Steele said. “Normal people just want their Legislators working and solving problems. Democrats would rather play political games and continue to cripple Michigan with their horrible policies.”
“In a time when political divides keep deepening, the House needs something for everyone to agree on; I’m confident this school safety legislation is that something,” said Steele, R-Orion Township. “This week, we’re remembering a tragedy at Michigan State University. Being from Lake Orion, I can’t help but draw the connection to our neighboring sister community of Oxford and the terrifying events which occurred there over two years ago. The best was to prevent these horrific events from repeating themselves is to bind together and pass school safety bills. Our kids and communities depend on it.”
“All people have a moral obligation to speak out against hate whenever it rears its ugly head – this is one of those times. As elected officials, we are the voice for our communities. We are held to a higher standard and must answer to all comments we make, including any and all social media posts.”
“Higher incomes, less taxes should be the vision for Michigan,” said Steele, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee. “Prices are so high that people must choose between breakfast or lunch because they can’t afford both. Families walk around their homes in four shirts because they can’t afford to raise their heat higher than 60 degrees. The middle class doesn’t need subsidies for electric vehicles; they need their hard-earned tax dollars back in their pockets.”