***SHIRKEY PHOTO ADVISORY*** Sen. Shirkey and guests honor Michigan’s fallen soldiers

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake; Army Spc. Douglas Cockroft; and Phil Sponsler (not pictured) paid tribute in the Senate on Thursday to those who gave their lives defending America.

Cockroft, a U.S. Army veteran, was Shirkey’s guest for the Michigan Senate’s 23rd Annual Memorial Day Service. Each year, the ceremony honors the service members who fought with bravery to defend the nation’s freedom.

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Editor’s note: Click the image for a print-quality version. This photo and others are also available by visiting www.SenatorMikeShirkey.com/photowire.

**SHIRKEY PHOTO ADVISORY** Shirkey meets with Michigan Youth in Government students

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, visited with Branch County students at the YMCA’s Michigan Youth in Government (MYIG) legislative appreciation breakfast on Wednesday. MIYG’s mission is to provide leadership training to meet the needs of a democratic society and to develop an understanding and awareness of state government and national issues.

Pictured from left: Emma Grife from Coldwater High School; Meredith Grife from Coldwater High School; Shirkey; Kyle Germann of Coldwater High School; and Quincy High School student Luke Rufenacht, who currently serves as 2017-18 youth governor.

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Editor’s note: The above Shirkey photo is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorMikeShirkey.com/photowire.

Sen. Shirkey welcomes Jackson pastor to Michigan Senate

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, welcomed the Rev. Terry Boyd to the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday. Boyd serves as pastor at Sycamore Baptist Church in Jackson and delivered the daily invocation before the start of the Senate session.

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 Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of this and other Shirkey photos, click the image or visit www.SenatorMikeShirkey.com/photowire.

Shirkey signs legal brief in support of Jackson community’s prayer at public meetings

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Mike Shirkey and state Rep. Julie Alexander have signed an amicus brief in support of Jackson County in its court case concerning prayer at Jackson County Board of Commissioners meetings.

Shirkey said the prayers are an example of free speech.

“Opening with prayer at public meetings is not prohibited by our Constitution and actually has a long history in our state and country,” said Shirkey, R-Clarklake. “Those words are as free as the ones you’re reading in this paper. We are eager to see this suit resolved in support of free speech.”

The case in Jackson County came to light after a resident said he was offended by the opening prayers at county commissioner meetings after he began attending in 2013.

The person brought a lawsuit against Jackson County, and the case is now before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Alexander said local government officials have opened meetings the same way for many years, without incident.

“As a former Jackson County commissioner who has personally opened commission meetings with prayer, I will always support free speech and all rights as provided and protected by our Constitution,” said Alexander, R-Hanover.

In a show of support, legislators from Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee and three former Kentucky governors have signed the brief.

The next step will be the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which is expected on or after June 14.