The Michigan Republican Party is embroiled in controversy after Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey was caught on tape falsely saying the January 6 coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in five deaths, was “staged” and that it was a hoax. He also made more sexist comments about Governor Whitmer in his taped meeting with Hillsdale County Republican Party officials.
Meanwhile, lawmakers have a lot of important work to get done. Many schools are re-opening in the coming weeks. There are billions of federal dollars on the table to help the state get more vaccines in the arms of Michigan residents and otherwise help get the state through the worst medical and economic effects of the pandemic
Listen: State Senator Erika Geiss on the turmoil in Lansing.
State Senator Erika Geiss is a Democrat from Taylor representing the 6th state Senate district. She says Senator Shirkey’s comments on the insurrection at the Capitol are divorced from reality. “Continuing to play into the lie that led up to the January 6 riot and siege is just really unfortunate coming from someone who is supposed to be a leader,” says Sen. Geiss.
Regarding the majority leader’s comments on Governor Whitmer, Sen. Geiss says it is indicative of a larger dismissive culture toward women. “The attitude toward Governor Whitmer is one that is very sexist and misogynistic,” says Sen. Geiss. She adds that this outlook is not something that should be tolerated by state leadership. Going forward, Senator Geiss says that the Republican caucus should hold a vote of no confidence in Senate Majority Leader Shirkey and pick a new leader.
State lawmakers aren’t just sparring over Shirkey’s comments — Democrats and Republicans are also at odds about school re-opening legislation. Senator Geiss says the Republican $1 billion budget for school re-opening doesn’t come close to the Democrat’s proposed $2 billion plan. She says adequate PPE and updated HVAC systems are needed for safe return to school, and that costs money.