Tale of Two Chambers: Dueling Endorsements for Dixon, Whitmer

MI Chamber of Commerce backs Dixon, while Detroit Regional LGBT Chamber sides with Whitmer

Jason A. Michael

In a move disappointing to Michigan progressives, the state’s Chamber of Commerce came out earlier this week in support of gubernatorial candidate Republican Tudor Dixon.

The candidate has devoted much of her campaigning to anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, running disgusting ads distorting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s positions and targeting Michigan’s LGBTQ+ community with proposed education legislation mirroring Florida’s notorious “Don’t Say Gay” law. Dixon is also vehemently opposed to reproductive freedoms, campaigning against Proposal 3, which would codify the right to abortion in the state. She has stated in an interview that “a life is a life for me,” even in cases involving rape or incest.

In a statement, MI Chamber President and CEO Jim Holcomb said that “the multitude of challenges facing our state’s job providers and impacting our economy warrant a new direction — that’s why we believe Tudor Dixon is the best choice to lead Michigan for the next four years.” Holcomb went on to say that “Tudor is a champion of free enterprise and has demonstrated a clear commitment to practical problem solving and building a stronger Michigan that works for businesses, communities and families alike.”

But what kind of families? Pride Source pressed the MI Chamber about their endorsement and its implication: that by endorsing Dixon they are endorsing her special brand of hate and fear mongering for the queer community. Asked to respond, Sara Wurfel, chief communications and marketing officer for the MI Chamber, was vague and evasive.

Wurfel said that the Chamber’s endorsement was based on several factors, including recession concerns, inflation, ongoing supply chain shortages and the like. The Chamber, she said, felt that Dixon was the best candidate to tackle these issues.

“Their success directly impacts the ability of all families and Michiganders – LGBTQ+ and straight – and our communities to thrive,” Wurfel said.

Wurfel appeared dismissive of the fact that, according to her campaign commercials, queer families most certainly will not thrive under Dixon’s leadership. Still, Wurfel said that the endorsement “doesn’t impact in any way our other work or deep commitment to build a stronger Michigan for all" — a claim that evokes skepticism, at best.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Regional LGBT Chamber of Commerce announced their first-ever endorsement for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a democrat and LGBTQ+ ally. “We feel that in this election, the stakes are too high to sit quietly and allow a homophobic conspiracy theorist and election denier to get anywhere near the governor’s mansion,” said Kevin Heard, the LGBT Chamber’s executive director and founder.

Heard said that the LGBT Chamber represents one of the most diverse populations in the state and that it is “imperative that we have leadership that leads with an inclusive and bipartisan lens.”

To sum it up, Heard said the state needs four more years of Whitmer and her lieutenant governor Garlin Gilchrist, II.

“Whitmer has proven time and time again that diverse, inclusive, and equitable business policies and practices are central to the success of the state,” he said.

Election Day is Nov. 8. Early voting is happening now. Learn more about candidates and ballot issues on the Pride Source Election 2022 web page.