Grand Traverse County Republicans have voted to no longer recognize Gov. William Milliken as a Republican. Party delegates passed the resolution at a convention in Grand Traverse County on Thursday night.
Milliken, a longtime Traverse City resident who is the longest serving governor in Michigan history, announced that he was endorsing Democrat Hillary Clinton for president last week.
“It’s just the final straw,” says Jason Gillman, a county delegate and former Grand Traverse County Commissioner who wrote the resolution.
“What we are acknowledging is that it is unacceptable to promote Democrat candidates … from our podium,” Gillman says.
Milliken has endorsed other Democrats before, including John Kerry in 2004 and Gary Peters during the 2014 U.S. Senate election.
The resolution also criticizes Gov. Milliken for vetoing bills that would have ended state funding for abortion in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It states that those actions were “contrary to the core principles of Republicans.”
“It’s time that Republicans start behaving like Republicans,” Gillman says. “It’s nothing personal against Bill Milliken himself. He’s an honorable man. He’s served his country. He’s served his state.”
Jason Gillman’s father, Michael Gillman, spoke out against the resolution before the vote. He worked in the Milliken administration as an attorney for nearly 13 years.
“I think we’re at a critical time for the Republican Party and I think that it’s important that we do nothing to diminish or attempt to exclude anybody who is going to call themselves a Republican,” Michael Gillman says.
Efforts by IPR to reach Gov. Milliken have been unsuccessful.