GOP Candidate for Michigan Governor Wants to ‘Dismantle’ Public Schools

Ralph Rebandt said he wants to be Tudor Dixon's lieutenant governor. (Image via screenshot)

By Jason Salzman

April 7, 2022

During a recent forum, Ralph Rebandt said he also wants to eliminate sex education from schools, even though Michigan does not require it.

A candidate running to be Michigan’s next governor said recently that, if elected, he would like to “dismantle” the state’s public education system and “start over.” 

When asked at a GOP forum in Grand Rapids whether he would support “legislation that would allow for a voucher system so that parents can choose to take their tax dollars to private or to home school,” Ralph Rebandt replied: “Absolutely.” 

“We need to pretty much dismantle the public school system and rebuild it,” Rebandt, a pastor, told the crowd at the forum sponsored by Christian advocacy group Michigan Coalition for Freedom. “And I am all about a first-class education system, not a first-class indoctrination system. So, on my first day I would certainly do what [Virginia] Gov. Youngkin did and I would eliminate the same thing; I would eliminate critical race theory and all of the things that are anti-American and remove them.”

“I’ve even said that I would eliminate sex ed from curriculums in schools,” he added. 

Michigan schools are not required to teach sexual education, and critical race theory is an academic legal framework taught only in graduate level courses.

Rebandt didn’t answer an email seeking comment. 

RELATED: ‘These Policies Do Attack Michigan Families’: Inside Betsy DeVos and the Michigan GOP’s War on Public Schools

Rebandt and four other candidates at the March 29 forum are among the Michigan Republicans vying for the GOP nomination to take on Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.

Rebandt and fellow candidate Ryan Kelley both made baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, but Kelley went further, arguing that Michiganders—including Whitmer—should be prosecuted and jailed over their supposed interference in the 2020 election.

“The people that stole that election need to be prosecuted, including Gretchen Whitmer, [Michigan Attorney General] Dana Nessel, and [Michigan Secretary of State] Jocelyn Benson,” said Kelley, who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and is regarded as a top election conspiracist in Michigan. “You do not disrespect our constitutional republic and our election system the way that they did in 2020.”

Rebandt also promised an investigation but didn’t mention Whitmer by name.

“On day one of my administration, I will open an investigation into what happened. If people aren’t found out and aren’t prosecuted, they’ll do it again,” Rebandt told the crowd. 

“There were ballots sent to addresses where there was nobody living,” said Rebandt. “Thousands of them. In Ann Arbor when kids were out of school. Somebody picked those up. Somebody actually sent those in. So, I am completely in favor of clearing up the past, putting people in jail for what they did, and then seeing, as we look at the future.”

To be clear, elections officials and others—including the Republican-led Oversight Committee in the state Senate—have found no evidence that there was any widespread fraud in Michigan during the 2020 election, where Joe Biden beat Trump by more than 154,000 votes. 

Kelley, who organized an anti-Whitmer protest last year that led to an armed attack on the Michigan Capitol, went on to say that people who “silenced” doctors about using Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 should be “prosecuted for murder.” Primarily a veterinary drug, Ivermectin’s use for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 is unproven and possibly dangerous.

“I was kicked off of Twitter permanently because I was stating, well, first of all, Fauci is a fascist,” said Kelley, a former Allendale Township planning coordinator, “and second of all, that hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin should be allowed to [be] prescribed, because, just like the left says about with masks, ‘if it saves just one life…’ Well how about effective treatments if it saves just one life? The individuals that silenced those doctors need to be prosecuted for murder charges.”

Rebandt and Kelley appear to be angling for the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. Both candidates joined Trump at a March fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago for Michigan GOP Attorney General candidate Matthew DePerno. Though Trump hasn’t endorsed a candidate in Michigan’s race for governor, the former president is clearly behind a slate of loyalists whom he wants to prevail at the April 23 Republican convention, where GOP activists will begin selecting candidates for down-ballot races like secretary of state. All Republican voters can participate in the primary for the governor’s race Aug. 2.

Other candidates at the forum were radio host and businessman Michael Markey, Jr., Bob Scott, a teacher, and Lansing resident Evan Space.

To make the Aug. 2 primary ballot, these Republican candidates, and over a dozen others in the race, need to submit 15,000 signatures by April 19.

READ MORE: ‘It’s About Controlling Who Votes’: The Michigan GOP’s Plan to Overhaul Voting Laws


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