Rep. Bergman shows solidarity with U.P. weatherman fired for refusing vaccine

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

In a show of solidarity, U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman said he and the Upper Peninsula stand with the longtime TV weatherman who says he was fired by his employer for not following the company's vaccine mandate.

"The U.P. stands with Karl Bohnak! #IStandWithKarl" the Republican congressman posted on Facebook Friday with a photo of himself and supporters at a campaign event in Marquette. 

Bergman was referring to Bohnak's announcement this week that he was no longer employed by WLUC-TV where he'd worked covering the weather since 1988. He said the station's owner, Gray Television, had fired him for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Many of you have taken one of these injections, and that is absolutely your right,” Bohnak said on Facebook. “It is also my right to choose the medical options I feel are right for me. I have authority over my body.”

Karl Bohnak

Bergman, 74, of Watersmeet is vaccinated against COVID, and his office has said a large portion of his constituents in northern Michigan and the U.P. are, as well, according to spokesman James Hogge. 

"It’s a personal decision and should not be forced on anyone," Hogge said. "The fact that the weatherman (not a health care professional, or teacher etc.) can lose his job over this is absolutely insanity."

Bergman has spoken against President Joe Biden's new requirement to be vaccinated or tested regularly for COVID-19 if you are a federal employee or work for a private company with more than 100 employees. He called it "a disgusting overreach."

"I’m not anti-vaccine and have publicly stated that I made the personal decision to get vaccinated — but this move by Biden will punish our workers and businesses and is overtly un-American," Bergman said in a statement last week.

"I trust Americans to make the decision that is best for them and their family."

In this image from video, Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, April 23, 2020.

mburke@detroitnews.com