Want to Advertise With Mike and Jon? Click Here to Learn More!

Mike & Jon New Logo Small

Search the Latest Local News

Local progressive PAC allies itself with West Michigan group

A local progressive political organization has formally allied itself with a similar group in west Michigan.

Ottawa Integrity PAC announced late Wednesday a partnership with newly formed Livingston Integrity PAC. According to a press release, the two groups have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, “aligning their missions and agreeing to operate under the same principles of integrity.”

The groups say their partnership came into being when Livingston County activists Julie Ohashi and Cori Charbonneau, who founded the grassroots group Hartland Truth, approached leaders of Ottawa Integrity PAC earlier this year with a desire to join forces in pursuit of good governance.

“We are thrilled to partner with citizen leaders in Livingston County who are facing the same challenges we have in Ottawa: extremists with no actual desire to govern, but who seek to impose a far-right agenda on our communities,” said Ottawa Integrity PAC Founder and Interim Executive Director Kim Nagy.

In January, the newly-elected Ottawa County Board of Commissioners made major changes during their very first meeting, including firing county administrator John Shay and replacing him with former GOP congressional candidate John Gibbs, despite the fact that Gibbs never underwent a public interview for the position. The board, which included eight members backed by the far-right political group Ottawa Impact, also voted to eliminate the county’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office and change the county’s motto from “Where You Belong” to “Where Freedom Rings.”

Ohashi said their group had been watching the Hartland Consolidated Schools Board of Education and administration undergo what she called “agenda-fueled attacks,” and they recognized the need to organize and move forward as a political action committee to try and combat what they view as extremists attempting to take over local government.

In Hartland, the conservative Clean Slate, composed of Glenn Gogoleski, Greg Keller and Michelle Blondeel, were elected last November and have already become a point of contention. Gogoleski and Keller recently were censured by the board for their participation in a podcast in which “irresponsible and inappropriate” comments were made concerning disciplining students with special needs. Gogoleski also asserted that wanted to enter schools unannounced and see how far he could get without an escort, a comment that garnered concern from district parents.

“We connected with Ottawa Integrity because they have been facing the same issues,” said Ohashi. “We wanted to utilize their expertise in being received by moderate voters, who share a concern about where our local politics are headed. We need to reach out to those not necessarily aligned on all the political issues, but who want to see consensus in government in a way that works for the people, not for political ideology and culture wars.”

“We look forward to working with Ottawa Integrity and are excited about partnering with those who share our vision,” Ohashi continued. “Hopefully other communities across the state, especially in deep red rural districts, will realize that they are not alone and reach out to connect for resources and support.”

According to the press release, Ottawa and Livingston PAC adhere to the Principles of Integrity:

  • Commitment to democracv and democratic solutions
  • Commitment to honesty, transparency, and insight
  • Commitment to the dignity of individuals, families, and the natural beauty in our community
  • and agree to work on behalf of their communities to support candidates, institutions and initiatives that reflect these principles.

Both groups are nonpartisan political action committees authorized by the State of Michigan and both say they will maintain local control and focus on issues particular to their county, sharing best practices and strategies.

More information can be found at ottawaintegrity.org and livingstonintegrity.org

Don't Miss A Thing!

Join the GIGO family and get updates on the latest Livingston County News!

Subscribe to Livingston County News Alerts

More Stories Around Livingston County

Hartland Art Walk runs through Oct. 7

An Art Festival and Competition kicked off Saturday in Hartland Township and will run for the next two weeks. The Hartland Art Walk, which features