Kalamazoo, MI — A former high-ranking Republican lawmaker has quit as leader of an economic development group in southwestern Michigan. It comes just days after Lee Chatfield's hiring was panned by leaders in the region. Chatfield says Southwest Michigan First in Kalamazoo needs someone with a “blank political slate that won’t won’t bring about" division. Chatfield represented a House district in the northern Lower Peninsula for six years and rose to become speaker. Chatfield’s hiring as chief executive of Southwest Michigan First was criticized in the Kalamazoo area because of his conservative political views.