Feb 18, 2008
Former GOP speaker speaks out against recall attempt
Former Republican Speaker of the House Rick Johnson, R-Leroy, has published an editorial denouncing the recall attempt of Rep. Mike Simpson, D-Liberty Township.
The Michigan Taxpayer Alliance, led by Republican Macomb County Commissioner and former state Representative Leon Drolet, is leading recalls against primarily Democratic lawmakers who voted for the increase of the income tax and the sales tax on some services -- since repealed -- that avoided a government shutdown and helped balanced the state budget last October.
Johnson’s editorial defending Simpson was published in the Feb. 14 edition of the Jackson Citizen Patriot, and Johnson calls Simpson “an outstanding public servant who puts the people of mid-Michigan ahead of partisan politics.”
Johnson was first elected to the House in 1998, and he served two terms as the Speaker of the House until 2004. He served with Drolet, but Johnson had some harsh words for Drolet’s effort, calling his group extremist and radical.
“Now, an extremist group wants to recall Mike — by any measure a dedicated public servant who has acted in the best interests of our citizens. This radical group wants to tear our community apart and divide our citizens through misrepresentations, distortions and deception. While Mike invests in our common future, this group wants to send Michigan backward.”
Also on the recall effort, the leaders of the Republican caucus in the Michigan House and Senate - House Minority Leader Craig DeRoche, R-Novi, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester - called for no state party to take action to issue a recall at the Michigan Republican Party convention in Lansing on Friday. The Michigan Democratic Party is pushing a - some say - token recall against DeRoche in retaliation for the recall launched against Democratic Speaker of the House Andy Dillon.
Although the Michigan Republican Party is not officially involved in the recalls, party officials have been hauling a prop around the state called the “Michigan Taxpayers' Check” to the districts of Democratic lawmakers where recalls are going on.
Earlier this month the MTA filed new recall language against Simpson after the Jackson County Elections Commission rejected six previous petitions for not having clear language. Also earlier this month the Oakland County Election Commission filed an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals after a Circuit Court Judge ruled that the recall petition language against Rep. Marie Donigan, D-Royal Oak, was unclear. In other recall attempts, the same Oakland County Commission rejected the petition language for DeRoche, and Rep. Aldo Vagnozzi, D-Farmington Hills, is appealing his approved language to circuit court.
Recall language has already been approved in the recalls against Rep. Marty Griffin, D-Jackson; House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township; Rep. Marc Corriveau, D-Northville; Rep. Ed Gaffney, R-Grosse Pointe Farms; Rep. Steve Bieda, D-Warren; Rep. Robert Dean, D-Grand Rapids; and Vagnozzi. Recalls pending against lawmakers who had recall language rejected include Simpson, Donigan, DeRoche, Sen. Jerry Van Woerkom, R-Norton Shores; Rep. Joel Sheltrown, D-West Branch; and Rep. Mary Valentine, D-Muskegon.