For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Eli Day (313) 995–5055; email@example.com
Grassroots Pressure Rises to Defund Congressman Jack Bergman Amid Nationwide Calls for Accountability After Capitol Insurrection
Campaign reflects the difference between party-driven political theater and grassroots-led accountability
CHEBOYGAN, MI — March 1, 2021 — As Michigan Republicans joins local and state GOP parties across the nation in censuring party leaders who either dared to admit that last year’s presidential election results were accurate or voted to impeach the president who shamelessly spread the lie that they weren’t, grassroots leaders in northern Michigan’s 1st Congressional, which went overwhelmingly for Trump and Republican Congressman Jack Bergman, are rising to demand accountability for the latter’s role in what many have called the “Big Lie.”
The Defund Bergman citizen accountability campaign was launched in February by more than 45 constituents in both the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula. The campaign calls on Bergman’s donors to stop financially supporting him since he repeated the Big Lie and attempted to have Michigan’s votes thrown out. The 1st Congressional is made up of mostly small rural communities. Its largest cities are Traverse City and Marquette, clocking in at roughly 15,000 and 21,000 respectively.
Constituents are operating independently and say they are defending the vote of their neighbors who voted Trump as well as those who voted Biden. They also strongly back the integrity of their mostly Republican local county and township clerks’ work. As Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy, who voted for President Donald Trump, put it in a recent Detroit News piece, “People have been ‘brainwashed’ into believing something ’that isn’t real.’”
“My granddaughters were so excited to vote in their very first election,” Eric Lampinen of Manistee said. “They did their homework on candidates and tracked the results closely. What do I tell them when their own member of Congress works with Texas’ attorney general to throw out our entire state’s vote? Including theirs? What kind of a civics lesson is that?”
“I volunteered at our polling location,” Cheboygan resident Owen Goslin said. “Like most counties in our region, our clerk is a Republican. And they did an excellent, professional job under really tough conditions. I’m outraged that our Congressman would smear our clerks’ and election workers’ integrity and try to throw out our votes. This is a dangerous threat to our entire democratic process and we have to hold Bergman and all who perpetuated the Big Lie accountable.”
As Dr. Elizabeth Flynn, a Keweenaw Peninsula resident and professor emerita of Michigan Tech University wrote in a recent oped, the Defund Bergman campaign has the “potential to heal us” because it promises “to transform the irresponsibility and self-centeredness that are destroying any sense of community and common humanity upon which a healthy society depends,” concluding that “Jack Bergman’s donors need to defund him so he never serves as our representative again.”
Michigan has been a hotbed of political controversy throughout the 2020 election cycle, from the kidnapping plot and threats on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s life to Trump’s repeated efforts to prevent certification of the state’s election results.
While a powerful few attempted to silence voters and squelch turnout, voters still showed up in record numbers. And while a handful of politicians have attempted to use fear and scapegoating tactics to drive wedges between communities in our state, the people of Michigan know better.
Defund Bergman volunteer leader Rev. Wendy von Courter is a minister and farmer from Buckley. As she puts it, “The Big Lie our congressman has supported has done great damage. So, too, the continued posturing and censuring of Congress members. It’s like bad theater but with dire consequences here in our community.” Von Courter added, “The damage isn’t just to our electoral process, it’s impacting relationships between neighbors, within families, and local businesses. We are speaking out to hold our Congressman, Jack Bergman, and his donors accountable. We can only move forward, heal, and work together toward a better tomorrow when we have accountability.”
Defund Bergman is a coalition of grassroots activists and organizers in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District who are demanding that Bergman’s donors withdraw their support from one of the countless elected officials whose lies have caused such enormous damage to our democracy. Learn More at https://defundbergman.com/ on Twitter @DefundBergman and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DefundBergman/