The BOC Chairman Invited the Proud Boys to the Lectern--and Badly Damaged Business Recruitment
The Grand Traverse County Commission pandered to white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys. We shouldn’t be proud of that.
There are several venture capitalists in Traverse City that are working to bring high-paying year-round jobs to Northern Michigan, making our economy less dependent on tourism and low-paying seasonal hospitality jobs. Those efforts were set back significantly when four Republicans on the County Commission invited twice-convicted felon Randy Bishop and the Proud Boys to town and did their bidding by passing a gun sanctuary resolution at their meeting on March 4, 2020. Commissioners Hentschel, Clous, Jewett and LaPointe voted in favor of the resolution.
The County Commission’s cooperation with Proud Boys will haunt us for a decade when companies and potential employees do their due-diligence research on Northern Michigan. In the math, computer science and statistics classes I took for my doctoral degree, it was not unusual to be the only native English speaker in the class. Women wearing a hijab are common at my professional conferences.
When employers and employees research job opportunities in Northern Michigan, they will learn about the Imam who was disinvited to a choral concert. They will learn that the former Kalkaska Village president made Islamophobic and racist comments on his Facebook page. They will discover that a Leelanau County Road Commissioner repeatedly made racist comments in public. And they will certainly learn that the Grand Traverse County Commission, against the wishes of most of the attendees at the March 4 meeting, sided with a repugnant hate group.
I don’t support the Proud Boys and I won’t vote to support their goals. I will work to make this a safe community for people who don’t look like me.
I encourage you to view the March 4th meeting on Traverse Area Community Media.