LANSING —  Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes today called on Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, to immediately resign over his close ties to Michigan militias, whose members plotted to kidnap and kill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Shirkey’s up-close and personal relationship with militia members was detailed in a blistering story in the New York Times.

“The Michigan Republican party, led by Mike Shirkey, has embraced right-wing extremists with open arms, including armed militia members who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6,” Barnes said. “Mike Shirkey has met with these men behind closed doors, spoken at their rallies and helped fund efforts to fight back against the governor’s attempts to keep Michiganders safe during a global health pandemic. For all these reasons, Mike Shirkey should be out. I call on him to resign immediately.”

According to the New York Times, Shirkey stoked the fires of unrest and contempt for government during a Grand Rapids rally, where he appeared on stage with one of the men arrested for plotting to kidnap Gov. Whitmer.

The Times also reported Shirkey used a charity to funnel $500,000 to a group openly defying the governor’s efforts to keep Michiganders safe during a deadly health pandemic. The Michigan Republican Party contributed more than $600,000 to the effort, according to the Times.

“Mike Shirkey and the Republican Party had every chance to denounce hate and violence. Instead, they chose to bankroll it,” Barnes said.

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