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Whitmer nominee for Michigan Natural Resources Commission grilled by Senate panel

Gretchen Whitmer

A state Senate committee met on Thursday to grill Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s choice to chair the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.

But the Senate Advice and Consent Committee adjourned without making a recommendation to confirm or deny the appointment.

Former Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell was questioned about his positions on hunting, fishing, and gun rights.

Heartwell defended his position when he was mayor that guns should not be openly carried at city council meetings.

“Emotions can run high in public meetings. You all know that. In my opinion, guns do not, do not belong in that environment,” he said.

Heartwell told the committee he no longer hunts, and is a catch-and-release fisher.

Republican Senator Peter Lucido chairs the committee. He said Heartwell’s history and current positions on guns will be taken into consideration.

“At the end of the day, there’s decision-making to be done. Some things are easy. Some things are more difficult,” he said.               

The Senate has until early April to makes its decision.

Another Whitmer appointee to the commission was rejected last week by the Republican-controlled Senate.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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