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Ottawa County commissioner cuts ties with Ottawa Impact, conservative group that helped get him elected

Jacob Bonnema says the reason for the split largely comes from the group's lack of transparency with voters.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — An Ottawa County commissioner is distancing himself from the conservative group that helped get him elected.

Jacob Bonnema made the announcement Monday that he will no longer accept support from conservative political action committee, Ottawa Impact. He says the reason for the split largely comes from the group's lack of transparency with voters.

"Ottawa Impact really came together as a movement of friends, family and neighbors that wants to protect our individual rights," says Bonnema.

But while he still aligns with those views, Bonnema says he can't support how Ottawa Impact members on the board of commissioners have gone about implementing them without transparency to the public.

"That's an important role that we have as commissioners," says Bonnema. "To allow them in on what's happening and see how their government is working."

At the new board's first meeting in January, commissioners made big changes, like closing the county's diversity equity and inclusion office and appointing John Gibbs as county administrator.

Bonnema says he was surprised none of these decisions were made in public.

"If you look at the agenda for that day, those items didn't exist on the agenda. They added those to the agenda during the meeting," he says. "Again, that's breaking transparency, and I don't advocate and go along with that."

Despite the distance from Ottawa Impact, Bonnema says he will continue to uphold the beliefs he was elected on.

"I'm going to continue to be who I am, which is an independent conservative thinker that wants to challenge the status quo," he says.

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