LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The $2.36 billion Chinese car battery plant in Northern Michigan has created lots of controversy, due to the Gotion Company’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.
Gotion wants to pump more than $2 billion into a new plant, thus creating 2,300 jobs in Big Rapids, but conservative opposition from former GOP gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon and others has the governor coming to the defense of the project.
Republican State Rep. Tom Kunse was an early backer of the project but then a steady drip of questions began, including the nature of the relationship of the company to the Chinese Communist Party.
“It went from, ‘Boy I’m really excited about this’ to, ‘We need to tap on the brakes,'” he said.
In fact, the company delayed a zoning request for the project to devote more time to explaining the deal to the opposition.
For a while, the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office did not wade into the back and forth but now she is advising the opponents to stop pigeonholing the project.
“This is a strategy that is paying off. We can’t waver. We can’t let people who want to pigeonhole this good opportunity for Michigan from their own political need to win,” said Whitmer.
Gov. Whitmer is concerned that when groups oppose the creation of more jobs, it will send the wrong signal to other companies thinking about expanding or coming here. She wants to affirm that.
“If you do business in Michigan, we’re going to live up to our end of the deal. They need to know there is stability,” said Whitmer.
But right now, the Gotion Company deal looks a little wobbly.