GOP gubernatorial candidate announces Grand Rapids town hall

GVL / Courtesy -

GVL / Courtesy -

Devin Dely

Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who is running for the governor’s seat in this year’s election, announced the first of a series of town halls on Thursday, Jan. 18. The event will take place in Grand Rapids on Monday, Jan. 29, at the Kent County Republican Committee building, located at 725 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. The event will begin at 7 p.m. 

The upcoming town hall, and the ones following it, will be focused on Michigan’s top Republican gubernatorial candidates. Top contenders in the GOP race include Attorney General Bill Schuette, Dr. Jim Hines and state Sen. Patrick Colbeck. Calley expressed his excitement about the town hall, while simultaneously calling out his rival, Schuette, in the process. 

“I’m excited to share my plan for how to continue Michigan’s comeback directly with Republican voters,” Calley said in a press release announcing the town hall. “I’m looking forward to discussing our vision for the future with voters in Grand Rapids and at town halls across the state, and Bill Schuette needs to do the same. You shouldn’t be dodging the voters you hope to lead. Republican voters deserve the opportunity to ask questions of every candidate running for governor.” 

While he is focused on Republican voters for the time being, Calley will undoubtedly be faced with the need to eventually address his Democratic rivals. Top Democratic candidates include author Shri Thanedar, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed and former Michigan Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, who is currently tied in the polls with Schuette. 

Calley, who formerly attended Grand Valley State University and received his Master of Business Administration through the Siedman College Of Business, was the youngest lieutenant governor in the U.S. at the time of his induction. He was elected with Gov. Rick Snyder in 2010, and the duo was re-elected in 2014. Calley is also well-known for his autism advocacy throughout Michigan. 

“April is Autism Awareness Month, but let’s change our mindset to autism acceptance,” he said in a 2015 promotional video. 

Calley also attended Michigan State University for his undergraduate degree and graduated from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government with a Master of Public Administration. 

Last November, Calley discussed his bid for governor in an interview on WXYZ Detroit, Channel 7. His main points give an insight into what kinds of issues he will likely be addressing at the town hall on Monday.  

“Michigan has come so far since the (last) decade,” he said. “We’ve seen job growth—500,000 new private sector jobs. The unemployment rate has hit a 17-year low. We see incomes on the rise, population growing again, inbound migration of people with bachelor’s degrees, … and with this comes a new optimism about the future. I want to continue the comeback and the rise that has been happening; I want to build on this strong foundation and bring Michigan to the next level.” 

Calley and his campaign office were unavailable for additional comment at this time.