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.
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.
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.”
I had an inspiring morning at a reproductive health roundtable with Rep. @caglanville and an incredible group of practitioners and stakeholders, including @PPofMI, @PPofMI_CEO. We've been hard at work, but let's remember, our mission continues. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/qvTlU8KeiT— SML Winnie Brinks (@WinnieBrinks) August 21, 2023
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.
I'm thrilled to announce that Rep. @caglanville & I secured funding in the budget for @GRMuseum. Cultural institutions are an integral part of our neighborhoods, benefiting people’s health & community growth. ☀️🌈 I'm proud to help lead a budget that prioritizes the people. pic.twitter.com/bfvqiPxZyM— SML Winnie Brinks (@WinnieBrinks) August 22, 2023
🧡@JBZOOGR is a vital part of our city & community. Rep. @caglanville & I are proud to secure support for the zoo through our bipartisan state budget. Who knew we could get donkeys🐴 & elephants 🐘 to agree on something? Here's to bipartisanship & a roaring good time at the zoo🦁 pic.twitter.com/RrmA46c9VQ— SML Winnie Brinks (@WinnieBrinks) August 22, 2023
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.
Read more from the Michigan Senate Democrats at SenateDems.com/press.