Nov 8, 2007

Recall of Livingston County Republicans appears unlikely

HOWELL - While the recalls of some Legislators who voted to increase the state income tax and implement a sales tax on certain services that helped balance the budget and do away with a $1.8 billon budget deficit are going forward, the recalls against the two Livingston County Republicans who voted for the tax are apparently stalled.

Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Howell, and Rep. Chris Ward, R-Brighton, crossed party lines and voted for the tax. The two have faced some heat at home in their districts, and Ward lost his leadership position as Republican Floor Leader. An Oakland County group calling itself "Stop Hurting Michigan's Kids" led by Rochester Hills resident and conservative activitist Tom McMillin planned to launch a recall against Ward, that that has not materialized.

The Michigan Taxpayer Alliance, led by Republican Macomb County Commissioner Leon Drolet, has launched recalls against other lawmakers, and the group said it plans to launch a recall against Garcia. That effort, apparently, is on hold. In an article published in the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, Drolet said he's been in touch with some unidentified local people who want to organize a recall against both Ward and Garcia — but the senator has raised more interest.

"The passion out there seems to be with regard to Garcia, and the role he played in the service tax increase," Drolet said, according to the P & A. "It seems like the deeper, burning disappointment is with Senator Garcia."

But the two have some steady support in the predominately Republican county. The Voter’s Voice of Livingston County put out a release defending Ward’s votes. The steering committee said it wanted to publicly praise Ward for his courageous vote.

The Voter’s Voice is a multi-party political committee consisting of moderate Republicans, Democrats and Independents with the mission of providing accurate information to encourage the political participation of the moderate citizens of the county. It was formed in 2001, and it has sponsored forums on campaign finance and other political issues.

“Because we have a general understanding of the subtleties and complexities of current events, we appreciate Rep. Ward's reasons for voting as he did,” the statement said. “ He has suffered a great deal of abuse from his fellow Republicans and some citizens in his district, as he imagined he would. Nevertheless, he recognized that Michigan's fiscal condition is in crisis, and rather than remaining stubbornly partisan, he rose above the fray and did the right thing.”

Recall petitions have been rejected because of language include those of Sen. Jerry Van Woerkom, R-Norton Shores; Rep. Mary Valentine, D-Muskegon; House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford; Rep. Marc Corriveau, D-Northville; Rep. Ed Gaffney, R-Grosse Pointe Farms; and Rep. Steve Bieda, D-Warren. Only the language for Rep. Robert Dean, D-Grand Rapids, has been approved.

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