Michigan Progressive Women’s Caucus demands Shirkey step down as Senate Majority Leader

February 11, 2021 7:54 PM EST

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Shirkey comments on U.S. Capitol attack, governor make him unfit

LANSING, Mich., Feb. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Michigan Progressive Women’s Caucus on Thursday called for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, to step down as leader of the Michigan Senate after calling the attack on the U.S. Capitol a “hoax” and making lewd and disturbing comments referring to “spanking” the governor on certain political issues and challenging her to a fistfight. 

The bi-cameral caucus, chaired by Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, D-Livonia, said Shirkey’s half-hearted attempt at walking his initial comments back was quickly exposed to be nothing but a ruse after an exchange between Shirkey and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist was broadcast far and wide.  

In the exchange captured by mic on the Senate rostrum, Shirkey told Gilchrist, “I frankly don’t take back any of the points I was trying to make.” 

Pohutsky and House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski, D-Scio Twp., said the words spoken and actions taken by Shirkey show he is unfit to serve in an elected leadership post.  

“This isn’t the first time Senate Majority Leader Shirkey has feigned an apology, just to repeat the same vile and outrageous comments,” Pohutsky said. “It’s totally unacceptable the majority party leader called the unpatriotic attack on the U.S. Capitol a ‘hoax’. His degrading and disturbing comments about Gov. Whitmer send a horrible message to women across our state. Enough is enough. Shirkey should resign his leadership post in the Senate immediately.” 

“Other state Legislatures have taken steps to strip leadership and committee posts from their habitual bad actors and now it’s time for the same accountability in Michigan,” Lasinski said. “Anyone who watched the shocking videos of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol should be outraged by Mike Shirkey’s despicable comments. The people of Michigan deserve accountability and that starts with holding accountable so-called leaders who push bogus conspiracy theories, foment violence and coddle extreme para-military groups. Republicans everywhere should demand Shirkey truly apologize or resign, or the voters will hold them accountable.”  

Lasinski has repeatedly called for accountability, including sending a letter to House Speaker Jason Wentworth calling for 18 Michigan House Republicans who signed onto lawsuits and letters fomenting Election Day conspiracy theories and lies to publicly apologize or not be seated in the 101st Legislature.  

The Michigan Progressive Women’s Caucus proudly represents and serves the women and families who call Michigan home, while encouraging greater participation of women in shaping public policy through education and advocacy. 

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