LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield has received criticism for taking a job as the new CEO of the Southwest Michigan First economic development group.

Chatfield said he and his family are excited for the new journey and that this new position is not about positioning himself for a return in politics.

“This was a unique opportunity to be fully immersed in a community and to not have to do the commuting back and forth like I did in Lansing the last six years,” Chatfield said. “This has absolutely nothing to do with any concocted theory of future political aspirations.”

Since taking the position, he has received criticism over his lack of experience in an economic development role. He points to his work with the business community while in the legislature.

He also denies claims that he was given the job as a thank you for supporting legislation that would allow a hotel tax in the area to generate funding for an arena.

“I never had a conversation about Southwest Michigan First or even was aware that this position was available until I was out of the legislature,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield also said he took his new position to help grow Michigan’s economy.