An Indiana businessman is poking fun at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

An Indiana businessman is poking fun at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, posting a digital billboard near the states’ border that refers to the Democratic governor as the 2020 “Indiana Business Person of the Year.”

The billboard displays several messages critical of Whitmer’s administration, including a sign which says the “Great State of Indiana Welcomes Michiganders to a free-to-roam state.” Steve Swick, the owner of Indiana-based Swick Broadcasting Company and operator of the billboard, told MLive that Whitmer’s restrictions “effectively shut down and destroyed small businesses” during the coronavirus pandemic and led Michiganders to leave the state.

“I’m not anti-Michigan at all, but I certainly feel for the people of Michigan, business owners and operators,” Swick told the website.

Whitmer is one of several Democratic governors who drew criticism during the pandemic for implementing stringent lockdown measures. While the Michigan governor argued the measures are necessary to protect public health, critics said the guidelines are too restrictive and have damaged small businesses already struggling to survive during the pandemic.

Michigan business groups have urged Whitmer to set data-based reopening guidelines, according to MLive. Restaurants and other small businesses are still subject to capacity limits.

Meanwhile, Whitmer has backed a multi-billion-dollar recovery plan to jumpstart Michigan’s economy, using federal funds already earmarked for the state’s use.

“Gov. Whitmer continues to work across the aisle alongside her fellow governors, including Governor Holcomb, to end this pandemic once and for all, and hopes the Michigan legislature will work quickly to pass the MI COVID Recovery Plan, which includes billions of dollars in much-needed funding for Michigan families and small businesses, so that we can get back to normal life and grow our economy,” Whitmer spokesperson Bobby Leddy said in a statement in response to the billboards.

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