Press Release

September 24, 2021

Ottawa County, Michigan — Two days ago, in a story ran by WZZM, Rep. Luke Meerman and Senator Roger Victory, representatives of the people, spoke out in support of the lawsuit filed by parents Monday against the Ottawa County Health Department (“OCHD”). The lawsuit comes after the unilateral decision made by the OCHD to require masks on pre-K through 6th grade students. Countless members of our community, both elected and unelected, have made it perfectly clear they do not support this mandate and are frustrated with the way the process, or lack thereof, took place.

Indeed, 1,000 parents and citizens attended the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners meeting on August 24, 2021, to express their distress over the OCHD’s oppressive mandate on children, and have advocated tirelessly with elected officials on this matter.

In the recent article, Rep. Meerman is quoted as saying:

“This isn’t right that a health director, on their own, can decide something this significant and I don’t think the law allows for that, and I am glad this lawsuit is going out of it’s way to prove just that.”

– Rep. Luke Meerman

The efforts of parental rights advocates in Ottawa County are being recognized, and the lawsuit is underway. However, there are still certain people with influence who are working against it, and the restoration of parental rights.

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners Corporate Counsel, Doug Van Essen, appears to have a different opinion than the vast majority of residents of Ottawa County. Mr. Van Essen is quoted in the story as stating:

“Neither Representative Meerman nor Senator Victory are members of the Michigan Bar and so they are totally incompetent to provide legal analysis.”

– Doug Van Essen

This is a surprising declaration from Mr. Van Essen. The elected officials he is referring to are elected by the people to be directly responsible for writing and crafting laws in the State of Michigan. Are they actually “totally incompetent” as Mr. Van Essen declares, or is Mr. Van Essen incorrect?

The notion that the people’s voice should not be heard—via their elected representatives—because a representative is not a lawyer completely disregards the fact that Michigan has a citizen’s legislature that is the lawmaking body and the voice of the people.

Who is supposed to speak on behalf of the people, if not their elected representatives? Are the people and their elected representatives capable of making their own decisions? Mr. Van Essen is also quoted in the article saying:

“Sad that Rep. Meerman and Roger Victory would support litigation against Ottawa County.”

– Doug Van Essen

In effect, Mr. Van Essen is suggesting that elected officials should “go along” with the decisions of unelected bureaucrats, instead of doing what is right by the people. If elected officials only “go along,” how will they represent the people when they disagree with mandates and threats?

Ottawa Impact is proud to have legislators like Rep. Meerman and Sen. Victory who stand up for the people, rather than try to silence or ignore them.

The people of Ottawa County have had enough—they want their freedom back—and they want people who oppose individual freedom removed from their positions of influence and power.