FENNVILLE, Mich. — A Fennville city commissioner defended himself for the first time publicly since being appointed to office.
Morgan Bolles attended his first meeting on Monday as a commissioner to a packed room. Bolles became the center of attention on Fennville for his previous criminal history and social media posts some claim are derogatory.
The mayor asked anyone who would be open to speaking to step up to the podium during public comment.
The large majority of those who spoke at the meeting defended Bolles, calling him a family man who wants to serve the city. Others said they were concerned regarding his affliation with the 'Proud Boys' group, which is considered an alt-right group by many. Bolles said at the meeting he believes they are pro-freedom.
He read a statement to those who were at the meeting:
"Good evening everyone, commissioners, residents of Fennville and members of the community. This has been quite a week for not only myself and my family, but for all of Fennville. The media has put quite the spotlight on me and my past. This has caused a large disruption in and around my town. None of this was my intention. My intention as commissioner is as I said during my campaign... and in the first interview with the Holland Sentinel is that I wanted to get the community more involved. All the media attention has brought up a lot of debate about me and my ability to perform as commissioner. I have been striving to become a better person everyday for the last few years, not only for myself, my wife and my family. I am by no means a perfect person, and I make mistakes. The definition of one's character is how they recover those mistakes though. I've grown a lot since then, and I only wish to be allowed the opportunity to serve my community and give back. Over the last week, I have seen some members of our community voice concerns that I have tried to hide my past. I would like to say this is not the case. I have had very few interactions with my fellow commission members. In those interactions, the topic has never come up between the commission and myself. Parts of my past that have not been talked about are the 6 years I served in the military, my deployment to Iraq and up until today, that I am currently [serving at our local VFW]. I got married in June, and I am currently working on a Bachelor's of business administration. I have never held hate for anyone because of their race, gender, sexual orientation or religous beliefs. I care about people. I care about our community. Moving forward, I hope to prove that I am deserving of this seat. I promise to do my best to serve this city of Fennville and all of its people, fairly and equally."