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Politician upset with depiction in political ad

Published 11:04am Monday, August 4, 2014

A former state representative is speaking out against his depiction in a recent political advertisement that was printed in several publications over the last several weeks,.

Cameron Brown, of Sturgis, submitted a letter to the editor to Leader Publications and other newspapers around the Cass and St. Joseph County area raising concerns about the use of his image in a campaign advertisement for Bob Sills, one of four Republicans running for the 59th District seat in the Michigan House of Representatives. The letter states:

A recent campaign ad for 59th District state representative used an image of me taken from a group photo that implied an endorsement.  Please know I have made no such endorsement publicly or privately.  

Thank you for the opportunity to use your forum to correct this

According to Brown, the group photo used in the advertisement was taken six to eight years ago, when Sills was the chair of the St. Joseph County Republican Party. Brown said that he gave Sills permission to run the photograph with campaign literature last month.

The photo in question included Sills, Brown and US Rep. Fred Upton, who was cropped out of the image when it was placed in the graphic. In addition, the background behind the subjects in the photo was removed, which Brown said eliminates the context of the image.

“The way it appears in his ad, under the banner slogan, implies that I’m supporting him and his campaign,” Brown said. “He’s trading on someone’s name, and he’s overstepping the goodwill that I’m extending him,.”

Sills said that he is aware of the fact that Brown never endorsed his campaign, and never sought to harm him or his creditability through the advertisement.

“It’s not a misunderstanding, just an unfortunate situation,” Sills said.

Sills said the decision to remove the background was not done for any ulterior motives, but simply for aesthetic reasons.

“The background was eliminated because it wasn’t very attractive,” Sills said. “This tends to be the case when placing an image like this into a brochure.”

Upton’s removal from the picture was done because the candidate had not heard back from the congressman’s office when requesting permission to use his picture, Sills added.

Brown is a former occupant of the 59th District seat, serving residents of Cass and St. Joseph counties from 1998.

Sills is one of four men vying for the Republican nomination for the position, which is currently held by term-limited Matt Lori. The winner of Tuesday’s election will be on the ballot in the general election in November.

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