Shirkey's spokeswoman to leave for job in Nessel's office

Craig Mauger Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey's spokeswoman is leaving the Michigan Senate to work for Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel, Nessel's office confirmed Wednesday. 

Amber McCann, deputy chief of staff for the Senate GOP, will serve as special projects director in Nessel's Office of Public Information & Education. She'll begin March 8 and report to Nessel's Communications Director Kelly Rossman-McKinney.

"Ms. McCann has a reputation as a tireless worker and consummate professional, and Attorney General Nessel is eager for her to continue serving the people of our state,” Rossman-McKinney said in a Thursday statement. 

Shirkey said Thursday that McCann was "a trusted adviser, a consummate professional and integral part of my staff."

"She has been a fixture in the majority leader’s office for some time and, like many staff in this term-limited environment, she sought an opportunity outside the Legislature where she can still be of service to the public. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Amber,” Shirkey said in a statement.

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When contacted by The Detroit News Thursday, McCann said she had nothing to add.

McCann worked under former Republican Senate majority leaders Mike Bishop, Randy Richardville and Arlan Meekhof before beginning her work with Shirkey in 2019.

Shirkey of Clarklake has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks for calling the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection a "hoax," falsely claiming that dead people voted in the November election and saying Republicans had "spanked" the governor in political battles. 

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, talks to reporters in November 2019; his spokeswoman Amber McCann listens behind him.

The Senate leader has previously faced criticism for saying Whitmer and Democratic lawmakers are "on the bat s--- crazy spectrum" and for describing his own battle with COVID-19 as wrestling a soldier from the "Chinese flu army."

Rossman-McKinney, under whom McCann will work, is a former Democratic candidate for the state Senate who lost to Republican Sen. Tom Barrett of Charlotte. 

McCann's new role was criticized by some in the Democratic Party, including Progress Michigan Executive Director Lonnie Scott.

"...Maybe there is something that I am missing, but this strikes me as a HORRIBLE decision," Scott said on Twitter. "Amber McCann has defended sexism, misogyny and some of the most ridiculous abuses the Legislature has passed in the past decade. Really disappointed."

The majority of the attorney general's office's work — such as consumer protection, elder abuse prosecutions and identity theft investigations — is non-partisan, Nessel said on Twitter Thursday. Nessel said she largely does not know the party affiliations of department employees, "nor do I care."

"What matters is having talented, hard working public servants who care about the good people of our state," Nessel said. McCann "will make a phenomenal addition to our department, and I’m grateful to have her on staff. Good people serving in government means we all are better off."