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The Kalamazoo Promise breaks from Southwest Michigan First over CEO hire

Chatfield pens letter criticizing Whitmer for not warning lawmakers of domestic terror plot
Posted at 1:05 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 13:07:12-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Southwest Michigan First lost another partner on Friday, once again because of the hire of new CEO Lee Chatfield.

The Kalamazoo Promise announced it will separate from the economic group over concerns about Chatfield's past views on what the Promise calls "matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion."

According to a letter posted on social media, The Kalamazoo Promise says it had no input on the search for a new CEO, and the choice of Chatfield makes the Promise question if the values of Southwest Michigan First align with their own.

The Kalamazoo Promise has decided to separate ties from the SWMF Board of Directors. Please see the full statement below.

Posted by The Kalamazoo Promise on Friday, February 19, 2021

The Kalamazoo Promise decision follows the City of Kalamazoo, which cut financial backing for Southwest Michigan First earlier this week.

In an interview with FOX 17, Chatfield said he would support adding protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in Michigan. As a member of the Michigan House he apposed such amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Act.

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