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Whitmer visits Michigan National Guard members in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON D.C. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer traveled to Washington, D.C., Friday to visit members of the Michigan National Guard as they near the end of their deployment, according to a news release from Whitmer’s office.

Michigan contributed 1,000 National Guard service members to assist with the ongoing Capitol security efforts with “the expectation that their needs would be met,” officials said in the release.

This deployment will run until around Friday, and Whitmer has “no plans of agreeing to an extension of this deployment,” officials said.

While on the ground, the governor met with service members during their lunch break to “thank them for their service and acknowledge their tremendous sacrifices,” officials said in the release.

Whitmer was joined by U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, and Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Hills, and U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell and Elissa Slotkin.

“The brave men and women of the Michigan National Guard are professionals who excel at the work they perform, and this time is no different as they answered the call to protect our nation’s Capitol building,” Whitmer said in a news release. “The Michigan National Guard has been called upon in an unprecedented manner over the past year as we responded to COVID-19, natural disasters and civil unrest. Today’s visit was about showing appreciation for all of their sacrifices over the past couple of months, and an opportunity to recognize some outstanding service members. I am incredibly proud of them and eager for their return home.”

Peters released the following statement Friday after joining Whitmer in meeting and eating lunch with the Michigan National Guard members who have been deployed to protect the U.S. Capitol:

“It was an honor to again thank the Michigan National Guard for their service in protecting the Capitol: the very symbol of our democracy. During my interactions with our Michigan Guardsmen throughout their deployment, they demonstrated their commitment and their call to service in stepping up for this mission.

“Their presence at the Capitol guaranteed that the work of the American people could continue uninterrupted.

“I remain outraged that our Guardsmen were being fed food that was undercooked, unsanitary and inadequate and — in some cases — even making them sick and in need of medical attention. Our Guardsmen deserve better. I have shared my concerns with National Guard leadership and Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard. I will continue pressing to ensure our Guardsmen have access to safe and adequate food — they have earned nothing less.

“I can’t thank our Michigan National Guardsmen enough for all they’ve done — not just during this deployment, but throughout the pandemic in distributing life-saving personal protective equipment, supporting vaccine distribution efforts and assisting in response during the catastrophic dam collapse in Midland County. Our state is forever indebted to them.”

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