LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan House Republicans are calling on the speaker to remove a Democratic Calhoun County lawmaker from his role as chair of the state House Labor Committee.
They claim that Rep. Jim Haadsma, D-Battle Creek, tried to coerce a woman who accused a union leader of sexual assault to resolve the case out of court.
“If any wrongdoing took place, it is up to the speaker (of the House) to ensure there are consequences. There’s too many questions centered around what took place, what happened, who was involved, and to what extent. We are all concerned that this could be just swept under the rug and not dealt with,” Rep. Gina Johnsen, R-Lake Odessa, said at a news conference in Lansing Tuesday.
A spokesperson for Speaker of the House Joe Tate, D-Detroit, told WOOD TV8 that Tate had “no plans to change committee assignments, nor would he undertake any effort that could interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.”
Police records show that Haadsma met with the woman and Jonathan Byrd, who at the time was the president of the South Central Michigan Area Labor Council of the AFL-CIO, on April 20, 2022, the day after Byrd allegedly touched her inappropriately. The police report says Haadsma told investigators he was not aware of any allegations of touching; he thought the interaction was verbal. Haasdma told police Byrd apologized and he thought that was the end of it until he learned the woman was reporting it to police.
The woman went to police in November 2022, saying she decided to come forward after learning that other women had similar experiences with Byrd.
The Michigan Attorney General’s Office was called in to determine whether the case should move forward. The office said Tuesday it was still reviewing the case and had no updates.
Byrd resigned from his role with the union in March of this year.