Junge appearance rattles Sunrise Rotary Club meeting

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Paul Junge

It’s all apologies after Paul Junge, one of five Republicans vying for the chance to take on Democrat U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin in November, ignored instructions and instead delivered a “highly charged political message” that landed with a big thud at the Jan. 31, 2020, Livingston Sunrise Rotary Club weekly breakfast meeting.

In the wake of Junge’s appearance, Sunrise Rotary Club President Jim Gilmore issued an apology to members on Facebook, saying that though Junge was “briefed extensively” before the meeting on what he could and could not say “in accordance with … Rotary standards,” Junge ignored the rules.

“Rotary is not the place for politics, and we, as an organization and as a club, go to great lengths to keep at arms length … anything that would keep us from our goal of service above self,” Gilmore said. “Usually those things involve politics and/or religion.”

What Junge said during the meeting is unknown; whatever it was, though, it clearly kerfuffled the Rotarians.

“I attempted to stop him without being rude,” Gilmore said. “But he carried on until he got out his message.”

Despite his reportedly extensive briefing, Junge said that he “misunderstood the rules prohibiting any political comments.”

“I am running for Congress,” Junge said. “… I apologize to the Club.”

Club President Gilmore reiterated his apology for the controversy to Sunrise members: “I … commit to you that we will continue to work hard to keep our club non-political and non-religious so that we can do the work that as Rotarians we have committed to do, serve others in our community and the world.”


U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a moderate Democrat, flipped the 8th District seat held by Republicans for almost two decades by beating U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, in 2018.

Candidates in the Republican primary include Mike Detmer, a Howell Realtor; Alan Hoover, an Iraq veteran and entrepreneur from Ortonville in Oakland County; Paul Junge of Brighton, a former prosecutor and TV news anchor; Kristina Lyke of Fowlerville, an attorney at Lyke Law in East Lansing; and Nikki Snyder, a member of the state Board of Education who doesn’t live in the district, but said she’d move in if elected.

The 8th Congressional District includes all of Livingston and Ingham counties, and northern Oakland County.

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About Maria Stuart 241 Articles
Journalist Maria Stuart lives in Howell. She worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. These days, she runs The Livingston Post, and is often spotted holding court at Uptown Coffeehouse.

1 Comment

  1. District Governor Mac Hickman From Rotary International: ”….. expected to seek reliable information through balanced programs and discussions so that members can reach their own conclusions after a fair, collective examination of the issues. ”

    ” Rotary International is a non-political and non-religious organization. As a matter of policy, Rotary Clubs do not take positions on public questions including political or international issues. ”

    ” It is acceptable to have a congressman, senator or other elected official speak to our club when the format is simply a report to constituents on congressional or legislative affairs. ”

    “One of the most sacred things about Rotary to me is the stand to be neutral towards religion and politics that Rotary has always taken. This ensures that no matter how divisive the issues are it does not cause our clubs to offend or lose members over such matters.”

    “If a Rotary Club is to become perceived as political, the damage not just to the club but to the public image of Rotary as a whole is immeasurable.”

    “Always make sure it is fair to all concerned before engaging a speaker.”

What do you think?