District 9 News & Updates

State Senator Paul Wojno

Dear Friends, 

For those of you starting a new school year, I wish you success in all your endeavors. Fall is a good time to connect and reconnect with friends and loved ones. I would like to thank those who have reached out to my office asking for assistance cutting through government red tape or to share their views on pending legislation and state issues that are important to them. 

Featured in this newsletter: 

  • New funding grants for local drinking water infrastructure 
  • Suicide Prevention Month information and resources  
  • Governor signs executive directive to create jobs, strengthen economy 
  • Absentee ballots now available for the Nov. 8 General Election 
  • Beware of scammers trying to take advantage of federal student loan debt forgiveness program 

If you have any questions, want to comment on pending legislation, or resolve any issues in state government, please do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at (517) 373-8360 or by email at SenPWojno@senate.michigan.gov


Warmest regards, 

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Paul Wojno
State Senator
District 9


NEW FUNDING GRANTS FOR LOCAL DRINKING WATER INFRASTRUCTURE 

The cities of Eastpointe and Fraser were recently awarded funding for drinking water grants. Eastpointe received a Drinking Water Infrastructure (DWI) Grant totaling $2 million and Fraser received a Drinking Water Asset Management (DWAM) Grant for $410,480. 

These investments in our drinking water infrastructure will continue to help provide safe and clean drinking water to our communities. This grant program was the first to be developed by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy under the MI Clean Water Plan — a plan to invest $500 million to help communities around the state upgrade drinking water and wastewater. 

The city of Eastpointe project includes approximately 10,682 linear feet of water main replacement on Beechwood Avenue and Gratiot Avenue and 86 lead service line replacements along Tuscany Avenue. As part of the water main replacement, the project will also include approximately 32 hydrant assemblies, 139 water service transfers, and the installation of new gate valves. 

The city of Fraser project involves work related to the city’s Distribution System Materials Inventory and drinking water Asset Management Plan. Field verification will be conducted for a minimum of 361 service lines out of their total of 5,358, including a combination of contracted and consulting engineer efforts, as well as conducting in-building documentation of service line materials. In addition, Fraser’s drinking water plan will be updated based on a comprehensive asset inventory, condition assessment, and rate structure review.  


SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH, RESOURCES FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY 

In recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, it is important to be aware of the crisis resources available to those in need. The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act authorized 988 as the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in 2020. The number became effective nationwide after July 16, 2022.  

Additional resources for suicide prevention, like warning signs for suicidal thoughts and how to approach someone you feel needs mental health assistance, can be found at The National Institute of Mental Health website, including assistance for veterans.  

Crisis Resources: 

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 988. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. Feel free to call if you or a loved one are experiencing the following: 

  • Mental health-related distress 
  • Thoughts of suicide 
  • Substance use crisis 
  • Emotional distress 

For specialized services for veterans, visit veteranscrisisline.net. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can also still be reached at its previous number: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 


GOVERNOR SIGNS EXECUTIVE DIRECTIVE TO CREATE JOBS, STRENGTHEN ECONOMY 

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive to create jobs in Michigan by taking advantage of the resources in the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). This directive will ensure state departments and agencies harness every available tax credit and other opportunities in the IRA to build on Michigan’s manufacturing strengths, advance its energy and mobility leadership, and empower workers to succeed. 

Over the last three years, Michigan has received multiple awards for its manufacturing capabilities and was recently named the #1 state in the nation for energy sector job growth. The IRA will build upon this momentum, helping Michigan build and retool factories to manufacture electric vehicles, batteries, solar panels, and much more. 

The executive directive will deploy every available resource from the IRA to create good-paying jobs for Michiganders and make Michigan competitive for investment over other states.  


ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE NOV. 8 GENERAL ELECTION 

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is reminding Michigan residents they can now apply to vote absentee in the Nov. 8 general election. Voters choosing to vote by mail are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible to avoid postal delays. 

All voters registered in Michigan are eligible to vote absentee. They can apply online at Michigan.gov/Vote or print an application form from the site and mail, email, or hand deliver it to their local clerk. Voters can find their clerk’s contact information at Michigan.gov/Vote

Voters with disabilities may apply online for an accessible electronic absent voter ballot at Michigan.gov/Vote or Michigan.gov/AccessibleBallot. The accessible ballot can be completed electronically, printed, and returned to their clerk. 

Clerks will begin mailing out absent voter ballots by Sept. 29. They will be available for early, in-person voting in clerks’ offices on that date as well. 

A ballot-tracking tool on the Michigan.gov/Vote site allows voters to check when their clerk received their absentee ballot request, when they mailed out the ballot, and when they received the ballot back from the voter. 

For more information on absentee voting, or to register to vote, go to Michigan.gov/Vote.  


BEWARE OF SCAMMERS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN DEBT FORGIVENESS PROGRAM 

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wants to warn Michiganders to be on the lookout for potential scammers seeking to take advantage of borrowers pursuing new sweeping student loan debt relief recently announced by the Biden Administration. 

Here are the highlights of the announced loan debt relief:  

  1. The current student loan repayment pause has been extended to Dec. 31, 2022, with payments resuming in January 2023. 
  2. The U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households. 
  3. The previously announced limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program waiver is still in effect until Oct. 31, 2022. It forgives the remaining balance on your federal student loans after 120 payments working full-time for federal, state, tribal, or local government; military; or a qualifying nonprofit. The limited PSLF waiver allows borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF. For more information on eligibility and requirements, go to PSLF.gov.  

AG Nessel encourages residents to follow these tips to avoid scams seeking to take advantage of borrowers’ eagerness to obtain debt relief: 

  1. For more information about this relief, visit the Federal Student Aid website and/or their loan servicer.  
  2. Do not provide your personal or financial information in response to unsolicited emails, phone calls, or texts either from the federal government or a company claiming to be able to assist you with obtaining the announced relief.  
  3. Do not agree to pay anyone for assistance in obtaining this relief.  
  4. Don’t be rushed. To get you to act fast, scammers say you could miss qualifying for repayment plans, loan consolidation, or loan forgiveness programs if you don’t sign up right away. Take your time and check it out.  
  5. Don’t give away your FSA ID. Some scammers claim they need your FSA ID to help you, but don’t share your FSA ID with anyone. Dishonest people could use that information to get into your account and steal your identity.  

Those who wish to make a report about potential scams can do so with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection team by filing a complaint online or by calling 877-765-8388. 

As an elected representative, I believe in being readily available and transparent because my office is your office.

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