No decision on new MDHHS director

While Elizabeth Hertel was not approved or denied, she was pressed on her relationship with Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 7:30 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - The Republican-led Senate Advice and Consent committee did not decide on approving Elizabeth Hertel as the new director the state health department.

While Hertel was not approved or denied, she was pressed on her relationship with Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

“Does Governor Whitmer influence your decision to public these orders?” asked Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-26th State Senate District.

“I discuss my decisions with the governor,” said Hertel. “I’ve issued two orders so far and we have not had any disagreements.”

Hertel went onto say she does not anticipate any disagreement with the governor on future decisions.

“She has been very consistent in that she is following the science,” said Hertel.

Whitmer’s appointee also said Thursday she does not support a regional approach for restrictions.

“I don’t think it’s necessary right now,” said Hertel. “We are doing very well statewide.”

Something Senator Ed McBroom asked her to reconsider.

“They just go across the border so the economic impact is devastating,” said Sen. Ed McBroom, R-38th State Senate District.

The senate expects Hertel to testify again next week. There is no timeline on a decision.

Thursday’s hearing with Hertel taking place just minutes after the senate passed a multi-billion COVID relief plan with only republican support. The GOP plan spends far less federal funding than democrats proposed for testing, vaccines and schools.

“Lansing is actually more dysfunctional than Washington,” said Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-23rd State Senate District.

The bill passed after hours of intense debate and frustration on the senate floor.

“Your reasoning for not providing federally guaranteed food assistance is to guarantee your own political power,” said Hertel Jr.

“Send money, spend money, demand more money,” said McBroom. “As if money were some magic bullet that’s been missing when it comes to solving our epidemic.”

It’s unknown if the house will take up the senate’s proposal. Any bill would need approval from the governor.

You can rewatch Hertel’s full hearing here.

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