ANGOLA, Ind. — A businessman in Michigan and Indiana is getting national attention for his billboards.
He’s calling out Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her COVID shutdowns and policies during the pandemic.
We all know that billboards are usually easy to miss. But not these. They target Whitmer’s decision to close businesses due to COVID. Restaurants and bars still have capacity limits and curfews.
“In fact, I think over 3,000 restaurants and bars are permanently closed because of her actions and literally forcing them out of business,” said Steve Swick of Swick Broadcasting Company.
Swick has radio stations in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio as well as an auto parts store in Michigan.
He owns the billboards and started putting them up last year.
“I don’t like the overreaching policies that, so to speak, ‘Big Brother’ tries to do to you as a citizen, and it’s up to you and I,” he said.
Swick’s messages are visible to drivers along I-69 in Angola, not far from the 80/90 toll road right across the Michigan border.
They’ve targeted closures of hair salons and barber shops, continued shutdowns across the state, and the most recent one that’s still up declared Whitmer the “2020 Indiana Business Person of the Year.”
“So, what has been happening," said Swick, “Indiana is the beneficiary of all that commerce pouring over from people wanting a sense of normalcy because Indiana basically did not shut down basically every piece of normalcy of our life.”
Swick understands that COVID is real, and he’s not debating that as he’s lost friends from it. He just doesn’t feel that everything should be forced to shut down by the government, saying people can make their own decisions.
“If you feel vulnerable, if you feel you need to stay hunkered down and what have you – fine, do it. But again, it’s up to each individual,” he said.
Swick tells me it’s not a partisan issue but rather how two different state administrations handled the pandemic. His businesses too were affected, and he’s lost money in the process.
“You cannot continue to shut down the economic engines and destroying main streets, not only across the state of Michigan, or Indiana, or across the United States, you cannot continue to do this,” he said.
In response to the billboards, Governor Whitmer’s staff issued this statement to FOX 17:
“Governor Whitmer continues to lead our state by putting the health and safety of Michiganders first, and the results speak for themselves.
“Michigan ranks as the best state in the Midwest for the lowest rate of new average COVID-19 cases according to CDC data. To date, we have distributed roughly 680,000 more vaccines than Indiana, and Michigan ranks 9th among all states compared to Indiana, who ranks 16th for total vaccines administered. And a study from the University of Michigan suggests the latest Pause to Save Lives likely saved more than 100,000 Michiganders from contracting this deadly virus and prevented nearly 2,000 deaths.
“Governor Whitmer continues to work across the aisle alongside her fellow governors, including Governor Holcomb, to end this pandemic once and for all, and hopes the Michigan legislature will work quickly to pass the MI COVID Recovery Plan, which includes billions of dollars in much-needed funding for Michigan families and small businesses, so that we can get back to normal life and grow our economy.”