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Ottawa County Commissioner addresses why he voted against 'Constitutional County' resolution

The lone commissioner who voted against the resolution explains his reasoning.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — Ottawa County is now a "constitutional county." A majority of commissioners voted in favor of the "Resolution to Protect Constitutional Freedom" during a meeting Tuesday night that lasted until 2 a.m. the next morning.

The resolution was introduced last Tuesday with the final text approved on Friday.

More than 100 people spoke during the public meeting.

"I am a veteran. A combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient," said one Ottawa County resident of the resolution. "My oath has no expiration date and I'll fight for my country and rights to bear arms."

"We're not okay having your ultra-conservative Christian beliefs and exclusionary views forced upon us. And tonight, we have another example of just that," said a resident in opposition.

After around six hours of public comment, the county board voted "yes" with a nine to one vote on the resolution.

While the resolution is mainly symbolic and doesn't carry legal authority, it encourages police and prosecutors to not enforce laws they believe violate the constitution. 

Commissioner Doug Zylestra, the lone "no" voter, told 13 ON YOUR SIDE he believes there's lack of clarity in the resolution's text which states it will protect the individual freedoms of the people outlined in the U.S. Constitution including parental and second amendment rights.

"That's, for me, the basic issue is we don't have that right to be judges of the constitution. Say this law is constitutional, that law is not constitutional. That's not one of the powers granted to us and that made me uneasy and that's one of the reasons why I voted no."

Zylestra says the board as a whole didn't discuss why they're putting forth this resolution and what they specifically intended to accomplish. 

He poses this question for resolution's supporters.

"If Ottawa County had a Democratic board for example, and there was a Republican trifecta, and they were passing laws and the Democratic board in Ottawa County says, 'hey, we don't like these, we may or may not abide by them.' I doubt these same people would be supportive of the resolution."

The resolution also calls for copies of the constitution to be sent to various state and local officials and for a copy to be displayed on the wall of the county board room.


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