Leiser on the far-right shift in the Ottawa County government

October 5, 2023 MLive

“It’s almost as if instead of leading with, ‘OK, what’s our job in this jurisdiction in this county? What services do we provide?’ – and then sort of taking the cues from citizens and policy from there – it’s like a flipped script,” said Stephanie Leiser, a lecturer at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. “I come in and I have an agenda: How can I implement this agenda through the actual levers of power I have control over?”

While local government have begun trending more partisan in recent years, Leiser said it’s a “pretty unusual thing,” to garner national headlines for it, like Ottawa County has. The lasting impact of a partisan-focused policy is something experts say they continue to watch closely.

Most recently, there’s been an enduring focus on the county’s health department, a topic Leiser said the group had “really chosen to take advantage of the fact they have control of that level of policy to make a partisan statement about it.”

More news from the Ford School