With summer here, many Michiganders are enjoying time outside by walking to work or taking a stroll to their local park. You may find me and my office staff out enjoying this beautiful weather, attending community events, or knocking on constituent doors to find out which issues are most important to you.
I am listening to you, and I am working hard to represent you (more on what we’ve accomplished below!). I appreciate hearing your concerns and ideas. The best methods of connecting with my office can be found below. For more frequent updates on what I am working on and where I am in the district, please follow my official Facebook page.
Phone: (517) 373-2426
U.S. Mail: P.O. Box 30036 Lansing, MI 48909
Please join me for my upcoming events in Senate District 14 and stay tuned for more events over the summer:
Coffee & Conversation is an informal event that allows me to connect with my constituents face-to-face. Feel free to look at these upcoming dates and mark them on your calendars!
- Coffee Hour on Tuesday, July 18th from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Dexter Senior Center (7720 Ann Arbor St, Dexter, MI 48130)
- Coffee Hour on Thursday, July 27th from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at DOZER Coffee (112 Jackson Plaza, Ann Arbor, MI 48103)
- Coffee Hour on Friday, July 28th from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. at Zou Zou’s Café and Coffee Bar (101 N Main St, Chelsea, MI 48118)
FY 2024 Budget Update
Our people-focused budget has finally passed — reflecting the needs and interests of Michiganders everywhere. This budget uplifts families struggling to make ends meet, keeps our communities safe and places opportunity in the hands of hardworking, dedicated residents.
With our new Democratic Majority, our members prioritized the input of residents, communities, and organizations from around the state, using those perspectives to craft this budget. We are proud to have engaged a diverse group of Michiganders, contributing to the most transparent budget process seen in decades. The budget is full of transformative, innovative, and equitable investments that will improve lives and our state’s future. Here are a few highlights:
- Public Health and Safety, including funding for essential direct care workers to get a wage increase, fire stations to upgrade their equipment, local health departments and federally qualified health centers, support for gun violence prevention efforts, and emergency alert system upgrades.
- Education, including universal school meals, fully funded special education programs, as well as historic investments in community colleges, public universities, student financial aid and student support resources.
- Infrastructure, including one-time funding for the most critical road and bridge projects across the state, as well as support for improved transportation, water, and environmental systems — plus transformative community investments in housing, municipal needs and more.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, including funds to support the Racial Disparities Task Force and recently passed Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act expansion, as well as racial equity in community health plans, and grants to support business owners and entrepreneurs.
- Support the Washtenaw Conservation District’s work to bridge the gap between farmland owners and seekers through a pilot program, MiFarmLink.
- Expand minority-owned businesses in agriculture in the state.
- Construction of a two-story multi-purpose resource center to replace the aging Dexter Senior Center. The new facility will provide additional capacity for wellness, education, information and referral, advocacy, and case management spaces, increasing the number of older adults supported in the region.
- Provide additional funding for supportive services and resident-determined housing needs in Jackson and Ann Arbor.
- Establish a new federally qualified health center operated by Hamilton Community Health Network to serve the Whitmore Lake community.
- Provide weatherization and home improvement grants through the Jackson Community Action Agency.
- Invest in Ann Arbor’s landfill solar energy installation project.
- Allocate traffic control services provided to the Michigan International Speedway.
- Replace playground infrastructure with all-abilities inclusive equipment at Swain Memorial Park in Brooklyn.
- Complete the Village of Grass Lake Pedestrian Railway Crossing, and
- Make upgrades at the Jackson County Fairgrounds.
Distracted Driving Laws Now in Effect
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed a package of bills to reduce distracted driving and save lives by ensuring drivers have their full attention on the road with the use of hands-free technology. On June 30, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) began installing Hands-Free Device Use signs at 37 locations along state line and border crossings and displaying reminders of the new law on their dynamic message signs throughout the state.
The new law updates Michigan’s distracted driving laws, which currently prohibit texting and driving, to also include watching or recording videos and engaging in social media, among other uses. Additionally, the law provides accountability for drivers who put themselves and others in danger and requires the Michigan State Police to submit a progress report on the effectiveness of the new law 3.5 years after it is enacted. Additional information regarding this legislation and the penalties associated are available at Michigan.gov/DistractedDriving.
Last month, the Senate Environment and Energy Committee heard testimony on the Clean Energy Future Plan. This innovative package of bills aims to address climate change by enacting several clean energy policies designed to make Michigan a leader in clean energy production. You can find an archived video of the hearing, along with my testimony, via the Michigan Senate TV website.
Experts and stakeholders from several different organizations provided testimony in support of the bill package. This included testimony from environmental groups (Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Michigan Environmental Council, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, and Natural Resource Defense Council), economic interests (Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, Coalition for Community Solar Access, and Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association), and health advocates (Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action and Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America–Michigan Chapter). Several of these stakeholders praised the bills for their potential to create good-paying jobs, protect our state’s environment, and lower its reliance on fossil fuels.
Climate change continues to be one of the greatest threats to our state’s environment and economy; these bills combat this threat by addressing key financial and accessibility issues by transitioning to renewable energy sources, allowing more homes and businesses across the state to improve their energy usage. As the Clean Energy Future Plan continues through the committee process, Michiganders are one step closer to having the necessary tools needed to decrease their carbon footprint and combat climate change.
In the Community
Last month, I joined in on Juneteenth celebrations in both Ann Arbor and Jackson. While Juneteenth provides an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come to protect the rights and equality of every American, it must also be a reminder of how far we have yet to go in the pursuit of equality for all.
Henry Ford Health Opens Milk Bank in Jackson
Nancy Smith from our office was thrilled to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Henry Ford Health’s new Milk Bank in Jackson. This facility will be a tremendous asset to our community by providing pasteurized donor breast milk and is one of only two milk banks in the state. Thank you again to Henry Ford Health for allowing my office to participate in this fantastic occasion!
Grand River Brewery Celebrates its Tenth Anniversary
I was so happy to visit Grand River Brewery in Jackson on June 18th to celebrate their tenth anniversary. After ten years of operation, Grand River Brewery has become a staple of Jackson’s bar and brewery community, and I’m proud to congratulate them on a decade of success!