State Representative Ann Bollin Diagnosed With COVID-19
November 13, 2020
By Jessica Mathews & Jon King / email@example.com
A local lawmaker is the latest member of the Michigan legislature to contract the coronavirus.
Republican Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township is one of two GOP members that were confirmed Thursday to have tested positive for COVID-19. The other was Scott VanSingel of Grant. The news follows Wednesday's announcement by House leadership that Thursday’s session and committee meetings were being canceled, citing a lack of pressing issues. However, it quickly prompted speculation that the real reason was due to new coronavirus cases.
Bollin was recently re-elected to a second term and was selected to serve as an assistant majority floor leader for the 2021-2022 Michigan House of Representatives legislative session. The assistant majority floor leader’s duties traditionally include assisting the majority floor leader in directing activities on the House floor.
WLNS, TV-6 in Lansing reported that there were are also concerns in the House GOP caucus that more lawmakers may have come in contact with the virus at a large post-election party last Saturday at the home of Rep. Gary Eisen. However, no cases have been linked to that yet.
Michigan Advance reported that House Democratic Leader Christine Greig of Farmington Hills said Republican leadership “has failed to take the steps necessary to allow the House to continue functioning safely during this pandemic. Imagine how different things would have looked for the Legislature and the people of Michigan if the House had approved, rather than ignored, Democrats’ plan for remote participation at the start of this public health crisis,” Greig said.
Judy Daubenmier, the Chair of the Livingston County Democratic Party, said she was not surprised at Bollin's diagnosis after seeing numerous photos of her at Republican events in the county in recent months without a mask. “In light of her diagnosis, Livingston County residents need a full accounting of everywhere Ann Bollin has been in the last two weeks so that people can assess whether she potentially infected them. She held a town hall on Oct. 28 and also was at the TCF Center on Nov. 2. She also needs to pledge that she will cooperate fully with contact tracing and since the system is overwhelmed, she should direct her staff to notify people she was in contact with about her diagnosis.”
Multiple requests for comment were made by WHMI to Bollin and her staff, but none were ever returned. She did, however, return an email to the Livingston Daily in which she complained that she was, “disappointed that various news media, including our other local outlets, chose to newsbreak personal health information — especially without confirmation.” One of the emails that was sent to Bollin by WHMI asked if she was willing to disclose where she had been publicly in the last ten days, during which time she could conceivably have been infectious, and again, she has not replied.
Meanwhile, her office did send out an email Friday morning that said Bollin "is moving her previously scheduled coffee hours for Monday, Nov. 16 to a Zoom call due to increased COVID-19 cases." No mention was made about her status. In addition, her office also announced that Rep. Bollin would be hosting "a virtual town hall on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. to discuss election integrity in the state of Michigan." Again, no mention was made about her COVID status.
A spokesman for House Speaker Lee Chatfield said it is up to each member of the Legislature to announce personal medical information, but that there is a detailed contact tracing program in place that follows all CDC guidelines should any lawmaker or staff report a positive test.