Sen. Colbeck: Getting punted from committees by Majority Leader was an issue of politics
LANSING, Mich. —
In a rare, and controversial move, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof stripped away Sen. Patrick Colbeck's committee assignments.
It’s a move that Colbeck, who is running for governor, said is unfair punishment.
Meekhof has not provided an explanation for his actions, but Colbeck, R-Canton, said he has some ideas.
"It was a deliberate attack, frankly, on our gubernatorial campaign," Colbeck said.
Colbeck said Meekhof's move to remove him from four committees is an example of how the political establishment is trying to squash his campaign for governor.
"It's that kind of pettiness I’m tired of."
The decision surprised some Senate Republicans, including Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.
Colbeck served on Jones' Judiciary Committee.
Jones said it appears the action was taken because Colbeck violated Senate rules when he traveled to Meekhof's Ottawa County area district, without notifying him.
Jones also said stands by the Senate leader's power to discipline.
"Anytime you enter another senator's district you tell them ahead of time, I'm going to be speaking in your district,” Jones said. “It's just a courtesy so the senator knows what's going on and it's a rule."
Colbeck said he wasn't in Holland on Senate duty, but as a candidate for governor.
This isn't the first time Colbeck and Meekhof have clashed.
"Sen. Meekhof has denied me chairmanships because of my stance on Common Core and Medicaid expansion," Colbeck said.
But that might not be the whole story.
Some Senate Republicans feel the outspoken conservative isn't a "team player."
Newschannel 3’s political reporter Nick Minock talked to Colbeck about the fact that colleagues consider him hard to work with.
“Anybody that has tried to work with me on policies, they find very good collaboration on it,” Colbeck said. “And that's what's really frustrating. It's this false narrative they put out there, but ask them for an example when they've tried to work with me on something."
The senate majority leader declined to comment on the story Wednesday. Under Senate rules, though, in addition to committee assignments, he has the authority to take away member's parking spots, offices, and staff. And, he can do so without explanation.