Republican Representative Lisa Posthumus Lyons, who calls herself a “proud product of public education,” chairs the education committee for the State House. She made headlines most recently with her quip “pigs get fat, and hogs get slaughtered” in reference to teachers who are to lose their jobs when their school districts get dissolved by the state.
Previous to that, she outraged the education community when she supported an expansion of the Educational Achievement Authority (EAA), but tried to get schools in her district exempt from it. Senator Burt Johnson noted that “this bill somehow helps kids trapped in failing schools while at the same time she carves out an exemption for the students in her own neighboring community so that they won’t be subjected to what she obviously knows is an unpopular and ultimately unsuccessful idea.” Despite saying she supports public schools, she has been receiving campaign contributions from the DeVos founded pro-school privatization group the Great Lakes Education Project.
The EAA isn’t the first instance of Posthumus Lyons making personal exceptions to laws she supports. During the battle over right-to-work legislation that she said “freed” workers, she offered an amendment to exempt prison guards, a job her husband held at the time. Her fellow Republicans even thought that was a bit hypocritical. They refused to vote on the amendment.
Posthumus Lyons, whose father Dick was the Lieutenant Governor under John Engler, worked as an aid for the State House and Senate before she became the “Director of Public Policy & Community Outreach for the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors.” Basically that means she worked for the government, lobbied the government, then became an elected official of the government. Posthumus Lyons received nearly $11,000 for her first campaign from the realty and banking industry. Shortly after getting elected, she co-sponsored, and helped get passed, a pro banking/realty bill to lessen the time that home owners had before their houses were foreclosed on.
Posthumus Lyons was also intimately involved in the notorious BolgerGate scandal. During the 2012 elections, Speaker of the House Jase Bolger conspired with incumbent House Democrat Roy Schmidt to switch parties at the last minute and to recruit a fake candidate to run on the Democratic ticket. That scheme would assure Schmidt a win. Lyons was the messenger between Bolger and Schmidt and appears to have had full knowledge of the affair. The whole scheme blew up and is still being investigated. Because of the ordeal Schmidt lost the election, and Bolger nearly lost his seat too. Posthumus Lyons, on the other hand, was named chair of the ethics and elections committee!
Posthumus Lyons has also carved out controversial opinions on other high profile matters in the state. Lyons said “I fully support majority floor leader Jim Stamas’ decision” to censor State Representative Lisa Brown for mentioning her vagina in a speech. The whole dust up became known nationally as “vagina-gate.” Brown was speaking out against the “over regulation” of women’s health clinics as a way to stop them from performing abortions. Posthumus Lyons is also a sponsor of a bill (HB 5684) that would allow for 12 week old fetuses to be claimed as dependents for tax purposes, an obvious move to legislate when life begins for anti-choice reasons. In an unrelated matter, Lyons even spoke out against the removal of Native American mascots by Michigan high schools.
To summarize, Posthumus Lyons seems to be involved in just about every controversy at the capitol in the past few years. She has used her position of influence for her own personal and political gain. Her constituents appear to be her campaign donors, rather than the people of Kent and Ionia Counties. The Center of Public Integrity gave Michigan an F for transparency in government. When it comes to public integrity, Lisa Posthumus Lyons is at the bottom of a failing class. That is why Lisa Pothumus Lyons is Michigan Populist’s least ethical legislator.
Note: Meet Michigan’s most out of touch legislator: Darwin Booher