GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema of Grandville reiterated that he would not be stepping down as an elected member of the RNC following calls for his resignation.
He responded to those criticisms for the first time on camera during a fundraising breakfast at the Sundance Grill in downtown Grand Rapids early Monday morning.
“I think people got to realize I was elected by the delegates in the state. The delegates vote once every four years and I was overwhelmingly elected by the delegates. My job is to present the grass roots. So, that’s what I’m doing,” Agema said.
Calls were made for his resignation last week by several members of the Republican Party in West Michigan, including the former chair of the state Republican party, Betsy DeVos, Rep. Fred Upton, Rep. Justin Amash and his challenger, Brian Ellis.
Nationally, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also asked him to resign his position.
“For the good of the party, we believe Dave Agema should resign,” said Priebus and Michigan GOP Chairman Bobby Schostak. That comment was released in a joint statement on Friday, January, 24.
However, Agema said that the “grass roots” Republicans need a voice in the RNC as well.
“People got to understand, people vote. If the grass roots are disenfranchised with the party, we can lose elections. If we don’t have the Tea Party, the i-Caucus and the various other independents and so forth in the party, we can’t win an election,” said Agema. “So, we have to keep them in the party and that’s what my goal all along is, unity, not disunity. So, that’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
Agema caught more criticism for not attending the winter meeting in Washington D.C last week. He chose to send a proxy, Kent County Republican Chuck Yob, to vote in his place instead.
Last week, he said liberal critics in the Republican Party were the reason he didn’t want to attend the winter meeting.
He issued this statement saying, “My liberal critics within the Republican Party have chosen to elevate this discussion to the RNC Meeting and make it a drawn out fight between liberals and conservatives within the party. For this reason, I have decided it is best for the party that I not attend the meeting this week and instead have sent a proxy who will vote how I want on the Rules.”
However, Monday, he said Priebus was the one who suggested that he not attend.
He also pointed out that Schostak did not attend the meeting either.
“I was actually asked by Reince Priebus. He said there would be news media all over the place that might distract, ‘Would I consider just putting in a proxy for me there?’ I didn’t want to do it. I said, ‘I’d rather be there.’ But, it’s going to distract from our meeting. I said, ‘OK, I won’t.’ So, I put a proxy in for me. It’s not a big deal. I mean, even Schostak didn’t show up. He had a proxy,” said Agema.
Agema also said that he is representing a faction of the Republican Party that needs a voice. “My goal is to build the GOP not tear it apart.”
He said the fact that the breakfast meeting was packed was proof that there are many out there that are dissatisfied with the Republican Party.