Ann Arbor SPARK withdraws from upcoming Brighton chamber political event

Ann Arbor SPARK, the organization that provides economic development for Livingston County, is removing itself as co-host of the upcoming Power Luncheon: Meet the Candidates! event of the Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce because the “nature of the event” changed this year.

The event, billed as a “Meet the Candidate!” event, drew fire for only featuring Republican candidates.

Pam McConeghy, president of the Brighton chamber, said that it was a “luncheon for incumbents.”

However, not all the featured guests are incumbents: Ann Bollin, the Republican candidate for the open 42nd District state House seat, as well as a member of the Brighton chamber board, is facing Democrat Mona Shand in the Nov. 6 election, and Republican John James is challenging Democrat incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

“In year’s past, a similar event connecting elected officials with the business community to discuss questions and concerns and share the business community’s needs was held in November,” said Phil Santer, senior vice president and chief of staff for Ann Arbor SPARK. “That’s not the case this year, and the nature of the event changed, as has our support of it.’

Santer explained that Ann Arbor SPARK is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that doesn’t support or endorse political candidates.

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