The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement of GOP candidate Bill Schuette for governor is causing a stir among businesses.
By last Wednesday afternoon, more than 50 area business professionals, including the owners of Founders Brewing Co., had signed a letter urging the chamber to rescind its endorsement, according to Nick Manes of MiBiz. The chamber announced its endorsement on Facebook on Monday.
“Mr. Schuette has a disheartening track record that reflects a flippant disregard for the rights of vulnerable Michiganders,” according to the letter, which notes the authors’ disdain the positions they believe Schuette holds on equal rights for LGBT people, environmental issues and other topics the signatories believe don’t align with the Chamber’s mission, according to MiBiz.
“The implications of these policies are so serious that an endorsement of Bill Schuette by the Chamber is unconscionable,” according to the letter. “Mr. Schuette’s agenda is directly at odds with the Chamber’s positioning itself as a diversity and inclusion champion. As alumni of Leadership Grand Rapids and other Chamber-run programs, we the undersigned renounce your endorsement of Bill Schuette for Governor of Michigan and call for it be retracted.”
Founders Brewing posts on Facebook:
We stand with our LGBTQ community and ask that the Grand Rapids Chamber reverse their decision. We will be terminating our membership in the meantime and encourage our fellow local businesses to consider doing the same.
MiBiz reports that Andy Johnston, vice president of government and corporate affairs for the chamber, was asked last week if the chamber considered rescinding the endorsement, to which he texted “No.”
Schuette caught some grief earlier this summer when he ruled as attorney general that the state’s civil rights law does not protect gay and transgender people from discrimination.
Schuette staffer and campaign volunteer Luke Londo, in a post on Twitter, described the center’s allegation as “a disgusting lie,” which Founders Brewing “fell for,” the Detroit Free Press reports.
Schuette, he wrote, was merely interpreting Michigan’s civil rights statute as it is written, not expressing a personal viewpoint.