People on both sides of the political aisle are expressing concerns about how some state lawmakers are reacting to the November election.
“It clearly was done in a way where the committee decided to partake in the current political circus… And that’s where I’m sad. That’s where I’m frustrated. And I think a lot of Michigan residents should be.” — Former state Rep. Martin Howrylak
On MichMash, hosts Cheyna Roth and Jake Neher talk with a former Republican lawmaker about a committee hearing in Lansing which featured President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
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Martin Howrylak was a Republican state representative from 2013 through 2018. For four of those years, he was vice chair of the House Oversight Committee, the same committee that held a hearing featuring Giuliani and a plethora of “witnesses.” Giuliani and the people who spoke to the committee on December 2 attempted to prove that the 2020 election was a sham. They asserted oft-repeated, oft-debunked claims of voter fraud and election misconduct, and in the end Giuliani asked the representatives to “take back their power.”
“I’m watching this Michigan House Oversight Committee meeting and really frustrated,” Howrylak tweeted during the meeting. “This should not be happening and the meeting is out of control. It’s rather sad actually. Nea[r]ly five hours of delusion.”
The way the Wednesday oversight hearing was run is not how it’s supposed to work, Howrylak tells Roth and Neher.
“It clearly was done in a way where the committee decided to partake in the current political circus, though, that we have at the moment,” he says. “And that’s where I’m sad. That’s where I’m frustrated. And I think a lot of Michigan residents should be. And it really, at least in the near term, is going to undermine the confidence that the public has in the oversight committee.”
“It’s just completely taking the committee in a completely different and uncharted territory.” — Former state Rep. Martin Howrylak
Howrylak says Democrats were “marginalized” during the hearing and the witnesses were “out of hand,” which is all very unusual for a committee that is supposed to essentially act as a nonpartisan, balanced watchdog that looks for ways to improve and reform different aspects of state government.
“When you look at going from that to a committee that clearly is just jumping right into a very hyper-political situation — and timing clearly is saying we’re going to embrace all of the hyper politics that are present right now — it’s just completely taking the committee in a completely different and uncharted territory,” he says.
There is a time for the oversight committee to fulfill their role of evaluating election reform, Howrylak says. In fact, he says it would be a good idea for the committee to look at how the state’s elections are run. But that time isn’t now. Instead, it should be after the inauguration, with the new Legislature that will be starting in January, he says.
“When we’re beyond all of the antics that are presently happening right now. The Electoral College, for example, hasn’t even met yet. I would certainly say it has to be on the other side of the Electoral College meeting,” Howrylak says.
“Certainly in the near and medium term, I think it’s doing some damage to the committee and its role, important role, in state government.” — Former state Rep. Martin Howrylak
In the short-term, Howrylak is concerned about the public’s trust not just in the House Oversight Committee, but in state government as a whole.
“My lamentation is, I think that it’s potentially damaging to the committee, at least in the near term,” he said. “I have better hope in the long term, but certainly certainly in the near and medium term, I think it’s doing some damage to the committee and its role, important role, in state government.”
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