The Tribune's virtual debate between Rep. Bill Huizenga and Pastor Bryan Berghoef scheduled for Wednesday evening has been canceled after Huizenga tested positive for COVID-19.

Huizenga was to appear with Vice President Mike Pence earlier Wednesday. Prior to that engagement, a rapid test came back positive for COVID-19.

Huizenga shared the news via Twitter:

"Earlier today, I was expected to appear with the Vice President. While taking part in offsite testing protocols, I took a rapid test that came back positive for COVID-19. I am awaiting the results of a PCR test and I am self isolating until I have confirmed results."

Huizenga is the latest in a string of positive COVID-19 tests in Washington, D.C., as President Donald Trump tested positive on Oct. 2, revealing a cluster of cases from those who work in and around the White House.

Wednesday's debate was scheduled to take place in the Grand Haven Tribune offices. It was going to be broadcast on the Tribune's Facebook page. No guests were invited due to COVID-19, but questions were collected from readers beforehand.

Huizenga (R-Zeeland) was first elected in 2010, replacing Pete Hoekstra. Huizenga has long been a vocal supporter of the president, who is visiting West Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Berghoef, a pastor from Holland, issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

"I was very sorry to hear that Rep. Huizenga has joined the over 7 million Americans to test positive for COVID-19. My heart goes out to Bill and his family, and Christy and I will keep them in our prayers. I wish Bill a speedy recovery.

"As we've seen for months, this disease does not discriminate. From our elected leaders to our children, no one is immune. Until we face this problem together as a nation, we will not be able to move forward in our work and our lives. I look forward to a conversation on the issues with the congressman, if and when his health permits. But until then, the health of Rep. Huizenga, his family, and our entire community is our top concern."

(2) comments


How convenient for Rep. Huizenga.....I was looking forward to hearing the contrast between the two candidates on all sort of issues, Health care, Social Security/medicare priorities, policy opinions on Covid-19 and how to deal with the virus that has spread to every state and the economy and job creation that has cratered. Climate change, civil rights, inequality, the indifference of the GOP to the rule of law, and the stripping away of environmental regulations, some from 50 years ago. It was particularly important to me as the GOP did not offer a platform during the RNC convention (unprecedented?), and Trump has not campaigned on any discernible policies - this during a time of a national pandemic of a new deadly virus with no vaccine or treatment, negatively affecting the country and Americans in so many ways. Unfortunately, if Huizenga does test positive in a second test, there is very little time left to re-schedule a debate. Perhaps the Trib could allow Berghoef to speak alone, since they overlooked any details about him in this notice, while detailing Huizenga who has been around forever!


Why don't you go in his place you seem to think you know everything anyway.

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