‘Republicans and Independents for Whitmer’ Announces Formation to Help Elect Former Senate Democratic Leader

Group includes former Snyder, Engler, Milliken cabinet officials, co-author of Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act

LANSING – Today a group of Republican and Independent leaders from across the state announced the formation of a new coalition to help elect former Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer as the next Governor of Michigan. ‘Republicans and Independents for Whitmer’ will be co-chaired by former U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-Battle Creek), Jim Haveman, the former Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health under Governor John Engler and Governor Rick Snyder, Richard McLellan, who served as Transition Director to then Governor-Elect John Engler, and Vivian Carpenter, who served as Deputy State Treasurer under Governor Bill Milliken.

“Now more than ever, Michigan needs a governor who knows how to put partisanship aside to get things done,” said Haveman. “As Director of DCH under Governor Snyder, I worked across the aisle with Sen. Whitmer when she was putting the votes together to pass Medicaid expansion, and because of the bipartisan work we did, 680,000 Michiganders now have access to health care. That’s exactly the kind of leadership our state needs right now to keep building on Michigan’s economic comeback.”

Additional members of ‘Republicans and Independents for Whitmer’ include: Trish Foster, retired Senior Managing Director and COO at CBRE-Martin; former Rep. Mel Larsen (R-Oakland County), co-author of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act; Mary McLellan, a retired Department of Civil Rights employee; Bill Milliken, Jr., Real Estate Broker at Milliken Realty and son of former Governor Bill Milliken; Rod Nelson, retired CEO of Mackinac Straits Health System; John Pirich, a partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn; Dennis Smith, retired CEO of the UP Health Plan; Paul Tarr, President of PM Tarr and Associates; Gina Yob, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for 3S International LLC.

“I’m fed up with all the partisan bickering in Lansing and Washington,” said Dr. Schwarz. “Our state is facing some real challenges, and we need a serious leader who can bring people together to actually solve problems. Gretchen has shown she’s not afraid to work with Republicans to find common ground and build consensus on important issues like expanding Medicaid.”

“I’m a lifelong Republican, and I’m supporting Gretchen Whitmer this year because she’s the best person for the job,” said McLellan. “While the Attorney General has disingenuously argued we can pay for new roads without any new revenue, this is a serious issue and conservative voters like me understand that it will take money to fix them. Meanwhile, Gretchen Whitmer has offered pragmatic solutions to attract businesses to Michigan by rebuilding our infrastructure the right way and clean up our drinking water, and that’s a big part of why I’m putting partisanship aside this year and working to send Gretchen to the governor’s office.”

“Gretchen just gets it,” said Carpenter. “She’s someone who always stands up for what she believes in, but she’s also someone who knows how to listen and work with folks on the other side of the aisle to get things done. That’s the only way to change everything that’s wrong in Michigan with divisive politics.”

Republican and Independent voters who wish to join the group to support Whitmer may sign up online at www.gretchenwhitmer.com/republicansindependents.


# # #