Issues Statement from the RWFM on the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony

The annual Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame (MWHF) will take place on Wednesday, October 18th. The MWSA selects upwards of 20 contemporary and 20 historical women with roots in Michigan who are billed as pioneers, visionaries, leaders and women of great accomplishment. The RWFM and its members nominated several worthy women for induction to the Hall of Fame. Of note, Mrs. Ronna McDaniel is only the second woman elected to the Republican National Committee and the first woman from Michigan. Ronna is credited for Republican Donald J. Trump’s presidential win in Michigan, a feat not seen since 1988. Also, Mrs. Eileen Lappin Weiser, statewide elected official to the Michigan State Board of Education having served previously as chair and nationally recognized as an education advocate, change agent, and leader. Ms. Weiser was named by the Detroit Free Press as one of the “Most Influential Women” and Crains Detroit dubbed Mrs. Weiser as an “Ambassador of Giving” for her efforts in saving the arts. Added to the list of submissions was Mrs. Betsy DeVos who serves as the 11th U.S. secretary of education. Mrs. DeVos is the third woman to hold this office and the first person from the Great State of Michigan to ever hold the office of U.S. Secretary of Education. In partnership with then Governor John Engler, Betsy DeVos achieved a milestone in education reforms in Michigan through Schools of Choice (a program that puts parents and students first and eliminates academic discrimination based on zip code). These glass ceiling breakers are conservative women who have positively impacted Michigan, its citizenry, and still call Michigan home.  Sadly, not one was selected by the MWSA.

Nominees are reviewed by a panel formed under the Michigan Women’s Historical Society through the MWSA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Enjoying tax-exempt status, the MWSA should ideally be non-partisan.  Yet it touts an array of liberal inductees; its apparent disregard for conservative women evidenced by a dubious choice this year.

Refusing to select just one of many conservatives – women who make Michigan their home and contribute to its welfare – MWHF chose long-time California resident Mary Kay Henry, President of the International Service Employees International Union (SEIU).  Astonishing, when under Ms. Henry’s leadership, SEIU took $34,000,000 from Michigan’s low-income families – poor persons caring for ill or impaired family members at home.  Without financial means to place loved ones in high-cost facilities, they suddenly became “workers” once SEIU exploited a state subsidy program.   Automatically deducted SEIU dues reduced their much-needed monthly grants.

SEIU forcibly culled millions in dues from the poor.   Using this bounty for political purposes – notably, in violation of campaign finance laws – SEIU received one of Michigan’s highest fines ever.   SEIU’s wrongdoing compounded, the 2017 Michigan Capitol Confidential reported:  “The union responsible for skimming tens of millions of dollars from home caregivers has been placed under an emergency trusteeship to investigate alleged financial malpractice.”

Arguably then, MWHF’s selecting SEIUs Henry presumes political favoritism that smacks of discrimination.   Hardly coincidental, 2017’s MWHF selection panel included a Michigan SEIU vice-president.  Then there’s the corroborating, broader national context where conservative women in higher office and influence are marginalized, demonized, and criticized.

Entrusted to recognize the best of purportedly all Michigan women, in 2017, MWHF unsurprisingly ignores accomplished conservatives, favoring a woman whose ‘fame’ in Michigan resulted from forced union dues – irredeemable even by a post-facto vote – and a union still under investigation.   Under Ms. Henry’s leadership, SEIU broke “campaign finance laws and paid one of the largest fines in Michigan history. The ballot proposal for SEIU failed  . . . workers could no longer be forced to belong to the union, SEIU Healthcare Michigan membership dropped 80 percent.”

The fiasco evinces Henry’s poor leadership; this alone should have compromised MWHF recognition. Add the damage done on Henry’s watch to thousands of Michigan’s poor and a reasonable conclusion can be drawn: impeccably credentialed, conservative women take a backseat to a liberal woman who sits atop an alt-left entity, regardless of her performance when so seated. The blatant disregard by the liberal left toward conservative women here in Michigan has not gone unnoticed and will not go untold.

If writing about this story, please consider this comment from Linda Lee Tarver, President of the RWFM: “Several members of the RWFM caring for sick and disabled loved ones were forced to pay union dues as a result of the Granholm-Henry collusion. For liberal Democrats to honor a disgraced Californian over a multitude of worthy conservative Michigan women is both politically telling and tragic. The Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan is determined to speak out and honor the women who are incredibly deserving of induction and who call Michigan home.”