Capitol and Community Update 2-15-19

Friday, February 15, 2019

Dear friend,

Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! As always, I am honored by the opportunity to represent you in Lansing, and encourage you to stay up to date and let me know of the issues you care about most.

In this Edition

  • Upcoming Coffee and Happy Hours
  • Legislative Update
  • State of the State
  • Capitol Caucus Leadership Position
  • Constituent Contact

Upcoming Coffee and Happy Hours

These coffee and happy hours give us the opportunity to meet in person and have informal conversations regarding issues concerning our community and state. This is a great way to help me understand the issues you care about and allows me to more effectively work on your behalf in the Legislature. I hope to see you there!

March:

  • Thursday, March 7, from 6-7 p.m. at the Maple Leaf Inn in Vermontville
  • Monday, March 11, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at Willow Tree Coffee & Bakery in Olivet
  • Monday, March 18, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at Robin’s Nest in Eaton Rapids
  • Friday, March 22, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at Fay’s Evelyn Bay Coffee Shop in Charlotte

April:

  • Friday, April 12, from 8-9 a.m. at Cops & Donuts-Capital Precinct in Delta Township
  • Thursday, April 25, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Cugino’s in Grand Ledge
  • Monday, April 29, from 8-9 a.m. at Willow Tree Coffee & Bakery in Olivet

May:

  • Monday, May 6, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at Robin’s Nest in Eaton Rapids
  • Friday, May 17, from 8-9 a.m. at Fay’s Evelyn Bay Coffee in Charlotte
  • Thursday, May 23, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Charlie’s Bar & Grill in Dimondale

Legislative Update

Last week, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle introduced a resolution to reject Governor Whitmer’s executive order (EO) that would ensure our water is safe to drink and our air is safe to breathe. Specifically, the EO would reorganize the Department of Environmental Quality to create the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, an agency that would house a new clean water public advocate, an environmental justice public advocate, and an office of climate and energy. The EO also strengthens the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) to help inform the public about PFAS, locate contamination, and take action to protect sources of drinking water from these dangerous chemicals. Finally, the EO enters Michigan into the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors from 19 other states that have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

I voted no on the resolution to repeal this executive order, as I believe it was simply an attack on our environment and an effort to limit the governor’s ability to make decisions in the best interest of the people she represents. Michiganders deserve access to clean water and should be able to trust their government will be responsive to any water or air quality issues that arise.

Unfortunately, the resolution passed the House and eventually the Senate, solidifying the Legislature’s rejection of the EO.

State of the State

On Tuesday night, we heard Gov. Whitmer give her first State of the State address, outlining her priorities and vision for the next few years. I was glad to see her focus parts of her speech on strengthening public schools, prioritizing skills training and college attainment to prepare Michiganders for the good-paying jobs of the future, and making government work for our state’s hardworking men and women. I’m looking forward to her budget proposal next month that should give us a deeper dive into her priorities and recommendations for fiscal year 2020.

Capitol Caucus Leadership Position

During our first meeting last week, I was honored to be selected by my fellow Lansing area legislators to be vice chair of the Capitol Caucus for the 2019-2020 term, serving alongside Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D–East Lansing) as chair and Sarah Lightner (R–Springport) as another vice chair.

The caucus is a nine-member, bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers from the mid-Michigan region, who represent legislative districts in Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, and Shiawassee counties. Other members of the caucus include Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Potterville) and Reps. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), Julie Brixie (D-Meridian Township), Kara Hope (D-Holt), Graham Filler (R-Ovid) and Ben Frederick (R-Owosso). I will try to keep you updated on any projects the caucus is working on that benefit the Greater Lansing region throughout this term.

Constituent Contact

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with any concerns over pending legislation, issues you’re experiencing with state government agencies, or if you just want to chat with me or my staff. Since our last newsletter, we have been contacted by 80 constituents voicing their opinions on a variety of different issues. Of those 80, included were 40 phone calls and 40 emails, many of which were regarding their support of a ‘no’ vote on the resolution to reject the governor’s executive order 2019-2. Our recent coffee hour at Grand Ledge Coffee on Saturday, Feb. 9 was also a tremendous success, and I enjoyed a productive conversation with several community members.