National GOP group dings Dems for Michigan budget with DEI funding ⋆

A national GOP organization has blasted Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on FY 2024 budget, particularly on diversity, equity and inclusion spending. 

The attack from the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), which works to elect GOP state lawmakers across the country, echoes other GOP criticism of DEI or “woke” programs in education and government, like from 2024 presidential candidates former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

The RSLC statement came on Thursday before Whitmer signed what it called the “massive” $24.3 billion Fiscal Year (FY) School Aid budget in Suttons Bay. She has not signed the general omnibus budget passed by the Democratic-led Legislature yet.

In Suttons Bay, Whitmer signs historic $24B education budget

“The signing comes as Democrats in Lansing passed their record $82 billion budget last month, that completely drains a $9 billion surplus while making the government bigger. Why are Democrats more concerned with meaningless pork spending than providing a better future for our children?” said RSLC spokesperson Mason DiPalma.

Michigan Democratic Party spokesperson Tommy Kubitschek said the “radical GOP” is standing in the way of progress.

“Democrats are delivering the future for Michigan families across the state by cutting costs and investing in an education system that will give everyone a chance to thrive,” said Kubitschek. “Meanwhile, Republicans are putting their MAGA Republican agenda first, and have voted against improving our schools, cutting costs for the middle class, and protecting our fundamental rights. If anyone is driving people away, it’s the radical GOP.”

The RSLC also focused on two DEI line items that it called “egregious”: $161,000 for a state government-funded Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion summit and $218,000 for a new DEI officer in the Secretary of State.

“Almost 200 days after Democrats in Lansing promised to deliver a better future for hardworking Michiganders, they have taken it upon themselves to drain a $9 billion surplus to pass a liberal wish list that moves Michigan backward,” said DiPalma. “Democrats are out of touch with reality and while the people of Michigan continue to battle the effects of high prices from inflation, Democrats are more focused on policies that drive people out of Michigan.” 

Cheri Hardmon, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s senior press secretary, affirmed the department’s intent to bring on a DEI officer. 

“The core of the Michigan Department of State’s mission is to ensure we meet every person where they are and provide state government services that work for them,” Hardmon said. “As part of that principle, and to uphold the standards outlined in the Governor’s Executive Directive 2019-09, the Department is bringing on a DEI Officer and investing in training for our team members. We will continue to identify and eliminate any barriers that prevent Michiganders from accessing vital services or equal employment opportunities at the Department of State.”

The Rev. Charles Williams II during the March on for Voting Rights | Screenshot

The Rev. Charles Williams II, National Action Network Michigan chair, pushed back against the RSLC taking aim at DEI programs. The civil rights organization is led by the Rev. Al Sharpton of New York. 

“Republicans are scared of diversity because it’s clear they don’t have any, they are against equity because they don’t want the playing field even and they are opposed to inclusion because they believe in supporting their buddies at the very top,” said Williams. “Republicans have shown us they specialize in homogeneity, inequity, and exclusion. The politics of division is alive and well. That’s why they prefer everybody to sleep instead of woke.”

In Michigan, one local government run by far-right Republicans took action in January to eliminate its DEI department. Ottawa County Commissioner Lucy Ebel, who is now subject to a recall petition, sponsored the measure that passed 7-1. 

“As I knocked on doors, and I knocked on many doors, the voters spoke loudly,” said Ebel in the January meeting. “I heard stories of people applying for jobs and they told them they couldn’t get hired because they were white, and that is hiring based on color and that is not equality. I had a lot of tears, and they told me, ‘If you win, we want you to keep your promise,’ and I made a promise to the voters and now I’m honoring their votes and desires.”



authored by Ken Coleman
First published at

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