|State Rep. Cindy Gamrat with son Joey|
By Brandon Hall
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
State Rep. Cindy Gamrat once called House GOP Caucus meetings an "incredible experience." Yesterday, she was told to get the hell out and never come back after Speaker Cotter purged her from the caucus over a Facebook post-at least that's the reason given.
A WMP analysis of Cindy Gamrat's social media accounts shows just one mention of House GOP caucus meeting information, and that came in November-when she said via email and her website she couldn't talk about what happens in them.
"Attending my first caucus was an incredible experience that I will never forget, however I am not really able to share much about it. The rules of the caucus are that of confidentiality and what happens in caucus stays in caucus. We are even asked to put our phones away."
In her email newsletter posted on her website, Gamrat wrote:
"This was the first day for us to attend caucus. Caucus happens in a small room off the back of the House Floor in the Capitol. Walking across the House floor for the first time caused me to pause and recognize the gravity and profundity of what it meant to be there as a Representative and servant leader. After the rigors of the campaign, this was a humbling moment! The ushers on the floor in their bright red coats were very attentive and led me right to the caucus room where I joined the newly elected Representatives and those beginning their second term.
Attending my first caucus was an incredible experience that I will never forget, however I am not really able to share much about it. The rules of the caucus are that of confidentiality and what happens in caucus stays in caucus. We are even asked to put our phones away. In a room full of strong personalities, I was impressed and pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie, professional respect, and deference shown to each other in the room. There clearly seemed to be a high standard of conduct set by each class and each Representative.
As most of you have probably heard by now, Representative Cotter became our Speaker of the House. After winning our primaries, Gary Glenn, Todd Courser, and I released a press release stating that we would stand together uncommitted in the leadership race while looking for the candidates who demonstrate support for our conservative values, such as opposing Elliott-Larsen, and supporting zero based budgeting and the Hastert Rule. After hearing both candidates speak the night before caucus, Representative Cotter won our support as the candidate who best demonstrated the values we are committed to. According to MIRS, it was our support that resulted in swinging the race and giving Cotter the momentum to win."
I wonder how MIRS figured it out it was that close? I guess a lots of legislators don't live by the "what happens in caucus...." rule they demand Gamrat live by!
Now, look at the "offending" post that "broke the rules."
Nothing that happened or was said at the meeting was revealed.
We already know subcommittees are working on budgets and she said she was listening to them, then subsequently and separately opined on programs that already receive government funding. She didn't break the rule of "what happens in caucus stays in caucus" merely by saying she was listening.
Also, notice she says "listening to subcommittees." It sounds like it wasn't at all clear this was a caucus meeting.
Perhaps because caucus meetings are usually held in the Capitol-Wednesday's was in the Christman Building across the street, home of lobbying group Michigan Municipal League.
The MML is comprised of local governments across the state, who use our tax dollars to pay the MML to lobby for more taxpayer money from Lansing. Why was a "caucus meeting" taking place there anyway??
Anyone who believes Gamrat was booted for a derpy Facebook post probably thinks Prop 1 is the "only way" to save our roads...Why was she REALLY booted?
Cotter's decision is like a ref who throws a flag for pass interference when the guy barely even got touched-pure trash. Cotter is a good guy with a proven record of service, I know he faced immense pressure from a small but prominent group that hates Gamrat. I hope he does the right thing and reverses his decision.
Gamrat responded to her removal, writing, "In no way did I reveal anything confidential from the meeting, and I have never violated the integrity of our caucus."
Here is her full statement:
"I ran for office on a platform of transparency and accountability. Yesterday, I made a Facebook post regarding some thoughts on House budget bills that had already gone through public hearings before being passed by their respective subcommittees. I did this while in attendance at what had been described to Republican legislators as a “budget workshop.” Today I was informed that the Facebook post, attached below, was a violation of the sanctity of the caucus, and was told by the Speaker of the House that I was no longer welcome as a participant in the weekly Republican caucus meeting.
In no way did I reveal anything confidential from the meeting, and I have never violated the integrity of our caucus. I may disagree on issues with my colleagues, but I respect the trust between us. I was elected to be accountable to the hard working taxpayers of Allegan County and the state of Michigan. I will work diligently and independently every day for their best interests. I appreciate your prayers and support as I continue to stand as a strong voice for personal liberties, Constitutional rights, and fiscal responsibility, even if I must stand alone.
With firm reliance on divine providence,
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics
Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com
|Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson|