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‘It’s very scary’: Michigan lawmaker asks leadership to step up after violent threats

The Democratic lawmaker said her colleagues on both sides of the aisle are experiencing countless threats after Rudy Giuliani’s visit.
Published: Dec. 7, 2020 at 6:06 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - (12/7/2020) - Rudy Giuliani’s visit to Michigan once again cast a national spotlight on the state.

And, a local lawmaker said that’s resulted in countless threats against her colleagues.

State Representative Sheryl Kennedy (D - Genesee County) is asking the state leadership to speak up.

Rep. Kennedy took to Facebook Sunday night, writing a lengthy post that expresses her concerns for her fellow lawmakers -- both Democrats and Republicans.

Kennedy said she hopes to show she’s an ally to them; because she said, her non-white colleagues are dealing with a different level of hatred.

“We don’t have the support that a President has, you know, a Secret Service following us around everywhere,” she explained. “We’re just citizens in the community representing the community. So it’s very scary.”

House Oversight Committee Member Representative Cynthia Johnson is Kennedy’s seatmate at the Capitol.

She played a key role in the hearing last Wednesday with the President’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and has since received a number of threats.

Kennedy said she shared a racist, cuss word filled voicemail with them.

In part, the anonymous woman said “...Should be swinging from a f---ing rope, you Democrat. You f---ing Democrats stealing the election, you deserve everything you f---ing get.”

“It just shakes you to the core, because you do get a sense that these people leaving these messages -- of course they’re anonymous, of course they’re cowards -- that they have an intent,” Kennedy explained.

And Kennedy said, these threats aren’t just aimed at Democratic lawmakers. She said her colleagues on both sides of the aisle are experiencing this at the hands of what she considers are people who are anti-government.

“Then, when you add on top of it the issues of race, the issues of gender, the issues of ethnicity or religion. It’s just it -- the layers of vile behaviors just increase and it’s really sad,” she said.

Kennedy explained she only sees this stopping if Republican State House Leaders speak up in a bipartisan way.

“We’ve seen gaslighting, we’ve seen victim blaming, we’ve seen -- And, and I don’t understand it because, because Republican members are also feeling the same sense of anxiety, if they’re in that position,” Kennedy said.

ABC12 reached out to the House Speaker’s spokesman. He said Rep. Lee Chatfield made statements condemning threats both of words and of violence in response to what the Governor and Secretary of State have dealt with.

In regards to the protests outside Jocelyn Benson’s home this weekend, Rep. Chatfield issued this statement: “Political violence is always wrong, and so are threats of violence used to intimidate anyone. That is not how our republic works nor what our country stands for. Secretary of State Benson is simply trying to do her job, which the people of Michigan elected her to do. These threats are wrong and need to stop.”

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