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The Michigan state legislature is working to ensure that its residents have oversight over Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan House of Representatives Speaker and Republican Lee Chatfield promised Saturday.
In an interview on “Fox & Friends Weekend” with host Jillian Mele, Chatfield said that he recognized there are thousands of families across his state who have had their livelihoods taken away, are hurting, and demanding answers from the state’s leadership.
“They’re being told that they can’t work a job and take care of their family. And, Michigan is an outlier with how we’re handling the COVID-19 pandemic. And, we believe here in Michigan — as Republicans — you can take COVID-19 seriously yet be more reasonable in your restrictions and how you’re dealing with it. And, that’s what we’re calling on the governor to do and we don’t feel we’ve had that reasonableness up to this point.”
Whitmer, a 48-year-old first-term governor, has drawn harsh criticism from the way she has handled shutting down her state to implementing a “contract tracing” program to track the spread of the virus.
A series of measures intended to stem the spread of coronavirus in the state have been deemed “draconian” by many residents. April 9 revisions to her initial “stay-at-home order” included bans on visiting friends and relatives or traveling to vacation homes, and halts on sales of items such as furniture and gardening supplies.
This comes as the Michigan Legislature had scheduled a special session for Friday with the goal of creating an oversight committee to review Whitmer’s coronavirus orders and possibly strip her of some of her powers, the Detroit Free Press reported.
“You know, I think there’s a false narrative that’s out there right now, right?” Chatfield asked Mele. “I think there [are] people saying that you have to choose either the economy or you to choose public health or you have to choose constitutional rights. And, I say that’s a false narrative. We can choose all three. We can prioritize the public health while still being reasonable, protecting constitutional rights, and ensuring that people can have their livelihoods back.”
“Here in our state right now you have thousands of people who are frustrated and they don’t know what data the governor is using to make her decisions. They’ve had their livelihoods completely taken away and they’re demanding answers,” he remarked.
“So, that’s why we created a committee yesterday to ensure we have oversight over the governor, to ensure that we are getting the answers that people are demanding from us as the lawmakers,” Chatfield explained.
“And, we want to ensure that we’re holding government to a higher standard. And, as the legislature, we’re the people’s voice and that’s what we’re trying to do right now in Michigan,” he concluded.
Fox News’ Dom Calicchio, Gregg Re, and Michael Ruiz contributed to this story.