West Michigan Republican representative Dave Agema of Grandville has been removed from his spot on the Michigan House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee. Both the Grand Rapids Press and the subscription-only Gongwer news service reported that House Speaker Andy Dillon had Agema removed after Agema left the country for a hunting trip during key discussions on Michigan’s budget and because Agema’s staffers called Dillon “a liar.” Following criticism in the media of his absence, Agema’s staffers said “Dillon was fully aware that this [the trip] was happening.” It iss also worth noting that Agema has missed more votes–76–than any legislator in either the Michigan House or Senate.
In his defense, Agema was quoted in the Grand Rapids Press saying that:
“It’s retribution for me standing up for my guiding principles…This is a smokescreen, because they wanted to get rid of a guy who was finding government overspending and the guy who was representing the moral views of my constituents.”
Agema has complained in the media that the coverage of his Russian hunting trip was unfair and that his plan to allow teachers to be armed was “mischaracterized” by the media. He even went as far as to say to the Grand Rapids Press on October 7 that media coverage “made me look like a flaming wacko.” However, even the Grand Rapids Press–who endorsed Agema in the November 2006 election–criticized him and said that he has “only himself to blame” for the reaction to his hunting trip and legislative proposal.