Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks celebrates key local budget wins in her district, prioritizes diversity and equity

The unique needs of the many diverse communities in West Michigan and ensuring no one gets overlooked: These are top priorities for Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks’ (D-Grand Rapids).

With a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, Sen. Brinks has been incredibly busy this summer — spending dedicated time in District 29 to attend community events and engage with constituents. 

This month, Sen. Winnie Brinks attended various local events, taking time to listen to different perspectives on topics such as entrepreneurship, economic development and reproductive rights from key stakeholders in her district.

As the Michigan Legislature prepares to return for fall session, she plans to bring constituent concerns back to the Capitol for further discussion and deliberation. Her commitment to uplifting constituents’ voices is already evident through the recent passage of the “Make It In Michigan” budget, which marks the first Democratic Majority-led state budget in 40 years.

“This budget will lead to transformational change for everyone who calls our state home,” said Sen. Brinks. “I am so proud the Majority for the People seized the opportunity to craft and pass one of the most inclusive and equitable state budgets in Michigan’s history.”

More specifically, the City of Grand Rapids received more than $90 million from the state’s “Make It In Michigan” budget.  

On August 18, Rep. Kristian Grant (D-Grand Rapids), Sen. Brinks and other esteemed public officials made their first stop on the celebratory “Make It In Michigan” tour at the Grand Rapids Fire Station on South Division.

The Grand Rapids Fire Station will receive $35 million for the Grand Rapids Fire Department’s improvement projects, including building a new fire station in the third ward. The Grand Rapids’ Martin Luther King Park is set to receive $6 million in state funding to go towards a project to replace the park’s aging lodge and add better recreational facilities.

Additionally, Sen. Brinks attended another roundtable discussion on August 18, held by the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with Rep. John Fitzgerald (D-Wyoming). While there, she intently listened to constituents and stakeholders, namely within the Latinx community, who expressed their need for better language translation tools, mental health resources and educational investments. 

“Representation and diversity very much matter, not just in political affiliation, but in gender, race and ethnicity, age, background and more,” said Sen. Brinks. “With state government being more reflective of all of Michigan and the variety of people we serve, our policies are more reflective of the concerns of our constituents as well.”  

Sen. Brinks joined Rep. Carol Glanville (D-Walker), along with Planned Parenthood of Michigan and Women’s + Health Collective advocates, to discuss reproductive rights on August 21. The thoughts shared in the roundtable discussion will undoubtedly create more open dialogue surrounding reproductive health in the state of Michigan.

“In our first eight months, our Democratic majorities took a swift and strong stand for reproductive freedom and the protection of women, their bodies and their rights, repealing the dangerous and archaic 1931 ban on abortion, without exceptions for rape and incest,” said Sen. Brinks. “As a whole, we have been bringing forth good policies to protect, advocate for and uplift all Michiganders.” 

On August 22, Sen. Brinks and Rep. Glanville were able to celebrate key local budget wins at the John Ball Zoo and the Grand Rapids Public Museum — two longstanding institutions that represent the vibrancy and fortitude of West Michigan. Together, these investments will economically benefit and culturally enrich the existing Greater Grand Rapids area as well as the state of Michigan — with $14 million in state funding to go towards the John Ball Zoo to enhance wildlife education and $11 million allocated towards the Grand Rapids Public Museum for their $50 million expansion.  

In her new role as Majority Leader, Sen. Brinks’ ultimate goal is to ensure progress for all Michiganders. Currently, she is excited about the newly announced funding allocated to prevent racial disparities, which will be used for mobile health units, programs, grants for LGBTQ+ community services and support for the Racial Disparities Task Force and Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act Expansion.  

Her priorities mirror that of President Joe Biden, who recently echoed similar sentiments in a Washington Post op-ed — openly advocating for racial equity and cultural competency across the nation. 

These efforts are tangible proof of what happens when the people make their voices heard and when lawmakers truly listen to their communities. 

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