Runestad votes to reject Hertel as health director

‘The same one-size-fits-all, strong-armed, unconstitutional approach will only continue with Hertel at the helm’

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, issued the following statement Tuesday regarding the Senate’s vote on the appointment of Elizabeth Hertel as director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services:

“The Senate made a mistake today in allowing to stand the appointment of Elizabeth Hertel as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Many of us had hope that things would change with the appointment of Hertel, but our hopes have proven unfounded. Nothing the interim director has said or done has indicated she will do anything substantive to improve this department’s response to the pandemic.

“Upon questioning by Senate committees, the interim director has provided vague and abstract answers, refused to provide specific metrics used to make decisions, and refused to offer follow-up answers to specific questions.

“Nothing — absolutely nothing — has indicated anything will be better under a new director. The same one-size-fits-all, strong-armed, unconstitutional approach will only continue with Hertel at the helm.

“The orders given by the Department of Health and Human Services have closed down restaurants and stores, disrupted schools, and forever changed lives. And despite all of the unconstitutional orders, our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been abysmal.

“Michiganders deserve better from the department than what they’ve gotten so far. The people’s trust in government cannot be maintained if their leaders — elected or otherwise — are not transparent and fail to listen to the people they serve.

“For all of these reasons, I voted today against confirming the new director of the MDHHS.”

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