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2021 Michiganians of the Year

Sen. Ed McBroom sought truth amid misinformation

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State Sen. Ed McBroom, a dairy farmer and father of five from the Upper Peninsula, dove in as a wave of misinformation about the 2020 presidential election washed across Michigan this year.

The GOP chairman of the Senate Oversight Committee put partisanship aside and spearheaded a months-long probe, eventually reporting in June, there was "no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud" in Michigan's election.

The findings and McBroom's detailed, plain-language approach to debunking claims — his staff looked into the individual names of voters who were allegedly deceased — gained national attention and put him at odds with former President Donald Trump, who issued press releases criticizing the state lawmaker by name.

Ed McBroom, Michiganian
The GOP state Senator spearheaded a probe reporting there was "no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud" in Michigan's election.
David Guralnick, The Detroit News

"I wanted to have the answers that I felt people were asking for and deserved," McBroom said. "It was hard to get them. It was hard to dig into things."

McBroom, who served three terms in the state House before becoming a senator in 2019, said the election inquiry was one of the most intense projects he's worked on in his career. The resulting report was developed through 28 hours of committee testimony from about 90 people, a review of thousands of subpoenaed documents and hundreds of hours of Senate staff investigation.

The Republican lawmaker's team ventured to understand cryptic language used by some critics of the 2020 election to allege "hacking" occurred. Michigan uses paper ballots, the 55-page Senate report countered, noting those documents would easily be able to identify any digital wrongdoing.

All of the work the committee put in has not been enough for some Republicans who have passed censure motions against McBroom at local GOP meetings and for Trump himself. The former president has maintained that fraud cost him the 2020 election in Michigan.

"Michigan State Senators Mike Shirkey and Ed McBroom are doing everything possible to stop voter audits in order to hide the truth about November 3rd," Trump said in a statement on June 24.

In Lansing, however, McBroom, 40, is known for his passion for history, the state Legislature and his beloved Upper Peninsula. Many of his colleagues have stood by him despite Trump's criticism. McBroom is a man of great integrity and resolve, said Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake.

Michigan State Senator Ed McBroom stands in front of the State Capitol building, in Lansing, September 29, 2021.
Michigan State Senator Ed McBroom stands in front of the State Capitol building, in Lansing, September 29, 2021. David Guralnick, The Detroit News

"The world would never know the countless hours he spends away from his family and his farm in the U.P. to serve in this Legislature, or how often he is awake into the wee hours of the morning working on the issues that matter most to the families in this state," Shirkey said. "He uses his position and his intelligence to serve others and faithfully represent his district. Sen. Ed McBroom is an exemplary public servant to all of us." 

Unity and coming together, McBroom said, are better for the health and safety of his children and everyone's children than dissonance and tribalism.

"We have a lot of wonderful people in this nation," McBroom said. "But we have a lot of disagreements between those great people. And we have some not-so-wonderful people, too. And it's difficult. Running a republic is a difficult enterprise. And it's painful at times."

Asked if he would vote for Trump in 2024 if he runs again, the lawmaker responded that there's a "strong likelihood" he would.

"He has weaknesses," McBroom said of Trump. "He has a lot of policies that are better for the country, particularly better than policies currently being acted on."

cmauger@detroitnews.com

State Sen. Ed McBroom

Age: 40

Occupation: Senator who is chairman of the Senate Oversight Committee

Education: He holds bachelor’s degrees in music education and social studies secondary education from Northern Michigan University

Family: He and his wife, Sarah, have five children

Why honored: The senator led a months-long probe into the 2020 election that eventually put him at odds with many within his own party

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