Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell, a candidate for Michigan's 52nd House District, is calling for the resignation of state Rep. Jase Bolger from his post as speaker of the House .
Kent County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth last week issued a report indicating Bolger and Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids) worked to rig an election in Schmidt’s favor by helping Schmidt, who had served in the House as a Democrat, switch to the Republican Party just before the May 15 filing deadline.
The party switch left a vacancy for a Democratic candidate on the November ballot. Bolger admitted his role in the act, and also admitted to recruiting Schmidt’s nephew, Matt Mojzak, to run on the Democratic side.
“We can’t get to work in attracting new jobs and economic investments in Michigan if politicians like House Leader Jase Bolger are allowed to defraud voters and lie to citizens," said Driskell, who is running against state Rep. Mark Ouimet of Scio Township. “This is about leadership and the deceptive decision to restrict voter’s options. The voice of democracy is being silenced by the majority leader. As a mayor, I am appalled at the utter disregard by the House leader for our representative government.”
With her remarks Friday, Driskell joined other Democrats who have demanded Bolger’s ouster.
Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer last week demanded Bolger resign, telling MLive.com, “Given the fact that the people of Michigan can no longer rely on anything that comes out of his mouth, Speaker Bolger should step down immediately from leadership in the House.”
Bolger’s spokesman Ari Adler said the House Speaker has no intention of stepping down.
“The speaker has said he has no intention of resigning,” Adler said in an email to . “The Kent County prosecutor determined that no laws were broken nor rules violated by the speaker or any member of his staff."
Adler also criticized the House Democrats who have spoken out against Bolger.
“If the House Democrats are serious about accomplishing (in this) election, they need to find a way to work with Republicans instead of continually beating a rhetorical drum that accomplishes nothing,” he said.
Driskell said she is urging members of the House leadership pass more reforms aimed at cleaning up elections and campaign laws in Michigan.
"Creating an environment of trust is crucial to Michigan’s future. It is imperative that we act quickly and rebuild the trust in our legislators that our citizens deserve. I pledge that I will work to make elections fair and support legislation that will hold elected officials accountable for their actions. I am asking Mark Ouimet to join me in speaking out against corruption and pledge to reform our state government. This is about doing the right thing and this is about legitimate leadership," she said.
Ouimet was not available for comment on this story.