Michigan Republicans — January 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm

MI GOP Sen calls PR Exec a “hooker”, Gretchen Whitmer responds & GOP strategist calls her a “govt hooker”


Last week, Senator and serial sexist Rick Jones from Lansing called public relations executive Kelly Rossman-McKinney a “hooker”. Brian Dickerson of the Detroit Free Press describes the situation:

[Senator Jones] likened longtime Lansing public relations executive Kelly Rossman-McKinney to “a hooker” in the Michigan Information and Research Services’ widely read Capital Capsule, a daily report on state government news.

Rossman-McKinney, a self-described “tough old broad” who has worked in both houses of the Legislature and three executive branch departments, has been a fixture in the state capital for decades. She’s about as thin-skinned as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and she says she figured Jones would swing back after she named him one of Lansing’s Biggest Losers of 2011 in an another MIRS interview.

But Rossman-McKinney says she was stunned when Jones responded by asserting that “Kelly, like a ‘hooker,’ works for whichever client hires her.” She says her anger intensified when an embarrassed Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, told her that Jones had made the unsavory comparison in an unsolicited e-mail dispatched over the objections of the Republican Senate Caucus staff.

This isn’t the first time in the past few months that Jones has shown his Neanderthal behavior. He recently posted a comment on the Facebook page of tea party leader Joan Fabiano saying, “I heard you were taking head meds. Is that true?”

Jones’ actions have forced Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville to issue a public apology on behalf of the entire Senate.

Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) compared a female public relations executive to a hooker, and now Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) has apologized on behalf of the Senate GOP caucus. […]

Jones has not apologized to Rossman-McKinney, but Richardville did on Thursday.

“As elected officials, we’re all subject to criticism — it just comes with the job,” Richardville told MIRS. “I don’t appreciate Kelly Rossman-McKinney’s assessment of Sen. Jones and his motives, but I certainly don’t condone the use of the word ‘hooker’ against any of our professional colleagues — and I would consider Kelly to be one of our colleagues.”

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer isn’t taking this offensive boorishness laying down. Her op-ed in today’s Detroit Free Press is blistering.

As a female legislator, I often speak to groups of women — from Girl Scouts and graduates to fellow female attorneys and aspiring politicians. I share my personal experiences and discuss the myriad of challenges females face in elected office. But I rarely convey how much chauvinism and sexism still go on in politics today because, quite frankly, I am embarrassed by it. I do not have the heart to tell a classroom full of girls that the same attitudes and animosity they encounter on the playground persist to our highest levels of government.

Sexism in the Legislature is usually more latent, but as of late it has become particularly blatant. Recently state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, publicly and premeditatedly compared a prominent female professional in Lansing to a “hooker.”

Everyone knows how supercharged such terms are, and this is a new low in a political realm that is already known for its cheap shots and name-calling. This is completely out of line, and I am appalled that anyone, let alone a legislative colleague, would exercise such inappropriate conduct.

Sadly, this is just the most recent and most prominent incident in a pattern of Jones’ boorish and chauvinistic behavior and his leadership’s apparent willingness to tolerate it. […]

It is going to be difficult to change that and attract more female leaders if the Neanderthal quotient continues to grow. Much of the opposition to Granholm’s policies came in personal and often chauvinistic attacks (i.e., calling her “Jenny” in formal statements).

As the first female leader in the state Senate, my rivals often seek to undermine me with dismissive condescension and thinly veiled sexism. In the past few months, Jones has insulted and intimidated a female conservative activist and a moderate pundit alike, notching two formal complaints by two women in two months.

With its “boys will be boys” mentality, the good ol’ boys network in Lansing has gotten out of hand and must stop. A strong woman is NOT a bitch. A successful woman is NOT a hooker or a gold-digger. A compassionate woman is NOT overly sensitive and thin-skinned. And a passionate woman is NOT shrill. […]

My colleagues often talk about promoting our state so our economy is not incorrectly viewed as a dinosaur. But how credible can we be when our standard-bearers act like cavemen?

Read the whole thing. It’s sensational.

Senator Whitmer is once again acting like the adult in this situation while her pathetic, 19th Century-mindset colleagues act like naming-calling children. These are the people who have control over the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the Governor’s office, the Secretary of State’s office and the Attorney General’s office. With them in power and acting as if they can do and say anything they want, no matter how insulting, offensive or childish, our state is actually moving backwards, not forward.

Perhaps this is what they meant when they said they want to “take our state back”.

UPDATE: WWJ radio host and Republican strategist Greg McNeilly responded to Senator Whitmer’s op-ed with this tweet:

Actually I do think Gretchen Whitmer is a government hooker…just to be clear.

This, of course, makes McNeilly as classless and juvenile as Jones. This is your Michigan Republican Party. You own this, Republicans.

Whitmer photo courtesy of Sen. Whitmer’s Senate website, Jones photo courtesy of Sen. Jone’s Senate website