A high five for the little township that could!
While it’s near impossible for ordinary Americans to do anything to slow down the unvetted trespassing at our southern border, the situation is not as bleak when it comes to pushing back against a foreign adversary purchasing U.S. agricultural land.
Consider the case of Green Charter Township, Michigan – a rural community of 3,200 located about an hour north of Grand Rapids. Months ago, the previous Township board voted (unanimously!) to bring Gotion, Inc., an electric vehicle battery component plant, to Mecosta County, where Green Charter Township is located, by offering the company a tax abatement plan to build a three-million-square-foot manufacturing facility on prime farmland.
Additionally, Lansing state senators voted to give Gotion, Inc. a whopping $175 million in tax incentives. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who unflinchingly competes for unpopular EV business by using the power of the government purse, was an enthusiastic booster of the mega industrial project.
“Gotion’s $2.36 billion investment, creating 2,350 good-paying jobs in Big Rapids is the biggest ever economic development project in Northern Michigan and will shore up our status as the global hub of mobility and electrification,” stated Whitmer.
Township residents, however, were having none of it.
A key sticking point was the fact that Gotion, Inc. is the American subsidiary – incorporated in California in 2014 – of Gotion High-tech Co. which is based in Hefei, China. The latter’s corporate mandates include a requirement that the company “carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China.” (Wonder what party building entails? Is wearing red de rigueur?)
Chuck Thelen, Gotion’s vice-president of North American operations, addressed the political ideology concerns in a panel discussion: “There is no communist plot within Gotion to make Big Rapids a center to spread communism.”
Well, Chuck, what about the Chinese-sponsored Confucius Institutes on college campuses that still exist but have declined in number due to ideological concerns? Thelen’s comment was exceptionally tone-deaf, given the proposed factory’s proximity to Ferris State University.
With heightened concerns from patriots regarding national security risks and potential surveillance collection by the CCP, as well as environmental worries about water pollution from the chemicals used to make EV batteries, a populist backlash ensued. Meetings were packed with angry residents waving “No to Gotion” placards. U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar requested a federal review of the plant’s plans. Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy gave a speech at a horse farm near the site proclaiming, “We will not let our children become Chinese serfs.” And on it went.
In the end, ‘we the people’ took it upon themselves to initiate the tedious signature collection process that would place the incumbent township board of six on a recall ballot, as well as have replacements ready should they prevail.
And prevail they did with a loud voice.
The entire board was recalled during last week’s election due to their belligerent support for the CHICOMS and the Governor. They were replaced by patriots and independents who are eager to re-evaluate the factory plan with transparency and with care. Jason Kruse, who replaced Township Supervisor Jim Chapman, received over 70% of the vote. Shortly after being elected, Kruse told WMKT radio's Nick Rhudy that the previous supervisor “stated that 96% of the community wanted this Gotion project.” Uh, LOL?
Kruse added, “Gotion doesn’t have a site plan. They don’t have permits. Nothing there.”
“The new board is going to examine these development agreements … and decide if it’s the best fit for the community.”
There are many challenges ahead, of course, for this new slate of public officials. But they have offered an Americanist yeoman’s strategy and an everyman’s philosophy to think locally and take a stand. A red, white, and blue stand which has inspired millions, given the national and international media coverage the recall story has received.
The Green Charter Township dwellers have also shown when economic nationalism should prevail over foreign investments, and why championing ‘reasonable growth’ and ‘local zoning’ is the better agricultural land management philosophy for small communities than is mindless economic growth mantras.
“Global hub of mobility,” as Gretchen Whitmer put it, is a designation on the path to ruining a rural community’s character.
The last word goes to Rep. Moolenaar who told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, two days after the recall vote, “We can’t be subsidizing companies that are aligned with the Chinese Communist Party.”
No, we can’t.
You can find Izzy Lyman on Twitter.
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