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Residents call for Wyoming mayor's resignation over role in Trump elector scheme

A line of people standing in line, waiting to give comments inside city council chambers at Wyoming city hall.
Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
A line of people wait to give public comments during a Wyoming City Council meeting on Wednesday, August 7th.

The mayor of Wyoming sat mostly silent last night as dozens of people spoke out at the city council meeting - many of them calling for his resignation.

It was the first meeting of the Wyoming city council since Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced criminal charges against 16 people who signed a document claiming they were the state’s presidential electors in 2020. It was part of a bid to sway the election to Donald Trump, who lost the state to Joe Biden.

"[W]e must get back to some type of decency and civility in our government.”
Carla Gaunichaux, Wyoming resident

Wyoming mayor Kent Vanderwood was one of the 16 people who signed the document. He’s now facing charges of forgery and of violating election law.

“This is is a stain on this city, a stain on our state,” said resident Carla Gaunichaux. “And we must get back to some type of decency and civility in our government.”

Gaunichaux was among many who called on Vanderwood to resign while he faces the charges.

Another resident, Daniel Rivera, shared a letter from a group called the Democracy Coalition.

“While we recognize the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the pending criminal charges are extremely serious,” Rivera said. “We firmly believe that it is in the best interest of the city you serve for Mr. Vanderwood to resign from his position.”

The line of people waiting to give comments at the meeting stretched out the door. Staff set up an overflow room to offer seats to the dozens of people who showed up. The majority spoke out against Vanderwood, though the mayor did have some supporters.

“I’ve known Kent for a good ten years,” said Tom McKelvey, a former city commissioner from the neighboring suburb of Kentwood. “He’s done nothing wrong, there’s been no trial, there’s been nothing that’s convicted him.”

Vanderwood, who had presided over the main part of the meeting, sat to the side during the stream of public comments, appearing to chew gum. He offered no response to the comments at the end of the meeting.

The city has said Vanderwood was not acting in his capacity as mayor when he met with other Republicans to cast electoral votes for Donald Trump.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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