The Gadsden Center was busy educating voters at the Republican Conference on Mackinac Island. The Center published and distributed an informational flyer to conference attendees. The flyer created quite a stir as it highlighted the voting record of State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker.
Currently in her second and final term, Senator Schuitmaker is rumored to be considering a run for Attorney General (AG) in 2018. The Republican nominee for AG will be selected by delegates to the 2018 State Convention. Given that many convention delegates attended this weekend's Mackinac conference, our flyer directly informed voters about the legislative record of potential candidate for statewide office.
Our flyer caught the attention of many Lansing political insiders, officeholders, and the media. A sitting State Senator, and key architect of Obama’s Medicaid Expansion in Michigan, appeared perturbed when he was handed a flyer. He asked, “To what end?” To which The Gadsden Center responded, “Voter education.”
The Detroit Free Press described our distribution of the Schuitmaker flyer this way:
“Wes Nakagiri, the Livingston County Republican who challenged Calley in 2014, is a founding member of the nonprofit that paid for a flyer attacking Schuitmaker, said the purpose was “to highlight her votes on an issue that’s very important to me.” He said he’d heard rumors she is planning to run for attorney general.”
The Detroit News chimed in with this:
“As Snyder and GOP leaders work toward crafting a deal, conservative groups are stepping up their pressure on lawmakers who support any tax hike.
At the Michigan Republican Party’s Mackinac Island conference over the weekend, tea party activist Wes Nakagiri was passing out fliers targeting Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, for voting “six times to hike gas taxes.”
“I think there’s still a chance to derail it,” said Nakagiri, who has formed a new political group called The Gadsden Center.
Nakagiri said Snyder and Republican legislative leaders are unwilling to consider wide-ranging cuts to state agencies and programs to make roads a higher spending priority.
“It just seems like the definition of compromise is they get everything they want,” he said.”
Referring to itself as “Michigan's oldest and most comprehensive newsletter covering the activities of Michigan state government,” MIRS wrote about our flyer distribution efforts in this way:
“. . . Schuitmaker, who was tagged today in a full-color flier put out by Wes NAKAGIRI's Gadsden Center as being a tax hiker.
"Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker voted six times to hike gas taxes . . . and she's not done, yet," the flier read. On the flip side, the flier read, "When Michigan needed money for road repairs, real conservative lawmakers increased road funding by prioritizing spending . . . instead of raising taxes. But Senator Tonya Schuitmaker voted time and time again to raise gas taxes, supporting no fewer than six Senate bills to increase gas prices."
When shown the flier, Sen. Rick JONES (R-Grand Ledge) said Nakagiri is a "buffoon like Todd COURSER" and is "not a Republican."
"He is a self-appointed, self-absorbed attention seeker. He doesn't want a common-sense road solution like the majority of Michiganders," Jones said. "He wants Michigan's economic growth to founder on bad roads. Sadly, Mr. Nakagiri never delivers workable solutions -- just empty rhetoric."”
It is clear that The Gadsden Center flyer struck a nerve with Senator Jones. “Sometimes the truth hurts so much that even a seasoned lawmaker will go off the deep end while spewing falsehoods and personal attacks,” said Gadsden Center President, Wes Nakagiri.” Nakagiri continued, “Like Schuitmaker, Jones also voted to raise your taxes. Jones’ claim that we never have workable solutions demonstrates his lack of knowledge on this important issue. The Gadsden Center has long supported the plan drafted by his Senate colleague Patrick Colbeck. The Colbeck Plans funds our roads without raising taxes. It seems that the Lansing political class has forgotten that citizens rejected a tax hike for roads by a margin of 80% to 20%."
“It’s ironic that Jones, a former county sheriff, supports a road funding plan that is the equivalent to highway robbery.”