press release


News from Progress Michigan

February 13, 2020

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,

Republicans Reject Qualified Appointee After Pressure from the NRA

The NRA is pressuring Michigan GOP to threaten a quid pro quo if Heartwell not withdrawn

LANSING – This morning, Senate Republicans voted to reject qualified appointee, Anna Mitterling, a biology professor, to the National Resource Commission (NRC). This decision came after pressure from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which pushed Republicans to reject Mitterling if George Heartwell, another Whitmer appointee with a history of supporting common-sense gun laws, did not withdraw from consideration.

Although Anna Mitterling’s appointment came through a committee chaired by Senate Majority Whip, Sen. Peter Lucido (R), and George Heartwell’s appointment is supported by GOP members like Senator Bumstead (R), the GOP voted to not appoint a more than qualified woman and scientist because their special interest friends had a problem with a more than qualified man.

The NRA is an extreme, right-wing group that preys on fear, xenophobia, and racism to sell guns and buy elected officials and it’s shameful that the Senate Republicans did their bidding today,” said Sam Inglot, deputy director at Progress Michigan. “The NRA is not interested in protecting our natural resources, preserving hunting traditions, or allowing qualified people to do their jobs; they only care about pushing their extreme agenda on Michigan and the Senate Republicans were more than happy to oblige. Now that extreme agenda includes the Republican Senate. If GOP senators cared about the well-being of their constituents and not the well-being of their lobbyist friends at the NRA, they wouldn’t have allowed this gun-slinging match to occur.”

Anna Mitterling is a biology professor teaching environmental studies at Lansing Community College and a former wildlife coordinator with the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. She has a Masters Degree from Michigan State University in Fisheries and Wildlife, and teaches children how to hunt.

George Heartwell was the mayor of Grand Rapids from 2004 to 2016 and worked diligently on environmental issues like wastewater treatment and waterway restoration in an attempt to fight climate change through environmental leadership. He also serves on the Michigan Transportation Commission, Environment Law and Policy Center, Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, Michigan League of Conservation Voters (MLCV), and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC).