LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Lana Theis on Thursday urged her Senate colleagues to consider rejecting the appointment of Elizabeth Hertel by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as director of the state Department of Health and Human Services.
“I have known and worked with Elizabeth Hertel for years,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “But I question whether she is the right person to serve as the director of Michigan’s largest and arguably most important agency at this critical time in our state’s history. Unless she fully commits to reopening the state immediately, to restore a fully in-person learning experience for K-12 students, and to not shutting down school sports, the Senate should reject her appointment.
“As previous director Robert Gordon’s top senior staffer, Hertel helped oversee some of the worst decisions made by the Whitmer administration in response to the coronavirus. Perhaps the most terrible was their direction to place COVID-19-positive people in nursing homes, which led to scores of deaths that shouldn’t have happened. That on its own was bad enough.
“But the recent and continued public health orders forcing so many of our people out of work, without any science to back it up, have been just as devastating. One of Hertel’s first acts as director was to silently extend restrictions on in-person dining at restaurants. So quiet was the extension that many restaurants didn’t even know it was made and their businesses are now left to suffer yet another month without explanation. She also refused to provide any data or metrics concerning the reopening of our schools during a recent appearance at the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee. All of this underscores the need for increased transparency, accountability and public oversight of the executive branch.
“Ronald Reagan said it best that freedom is never more than one generation from extinction. I believe we are, right now, at a crossroads in this state. After nearly a year of government overreach, the people of Michigan must reconsider just how much power the executive branch has and act to restore balance as the founders intended. If not, we might, as Reagan said, be spending our sunset years telling our grandchildren what it was like to be free.”