Delivering On My Commitment To You
When I ran to represent you, I heard time and again that people needed relief from the highest auto insurance rates in the country. Rather than sit on the sidelines, I made a commitment to pass sensible reforms that lowered your rates. I got to Lansing and worked across party lines to find common ground to lower the cost to insure all Michigan drivers.
Two years later, I am proud to report that I’ve delivered on that commitment to you. The new law has now taken effect and it has given more choices and guaranteed rate reductions so that you can select the level of coverage that works best for you and your family. What’s more, it includes price caps to ensure costs for auto accidents are no longer substantially more expensive than other treatments.
I made an impact in my first term. But now we face new challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. People want healthy lives and a healthy economy and I want to continue to work on solutions to get us there. Rather than scoring political points, I’m committed to working together to find smart solutions so that everyone can resume their lives safely and sensibly.
Creating a Healthy Economy
We need to help our neighbors get back on their feet and back to work safely.
With the right planning, we can prioritize essential services and get our economy back on track. I’m committed to working on the following:
- Reducing regulations: Michigan needs responsible regulations that put people and communities first. This means removing excessive bureaucracy and letting our job providers continue to invest in our communities.
- Stopping the gas tax: I helped block Governor Whitmer’s 45-cent per gallon gas tax increase plan and remain committed to responsible budgeting to tackle Michigan’s most pressing issues. That’s why I support a bipartisan plan that would put all of the taxes collected at the gas pump to fixing roads. This plan would put additional $800 million per year toward local roads without raising taxes.
- Training our workforce: Workers need more opportunities to learn and develop new skills that will connect them to high-paying Michigan jobs. I cosponsored the Michigan Reconnect grant program, which allows eligible adults to earn an associate degree or industry-recognized certificate tuition-free (HB 5576).
- Expanding health care access: Health care access is critical to building healthy communities. That is why I helped reverse Governor Whitmer’s devastating cuts to our local hospitals and healthcare services (SB 152), which included funds for rural hospitals, opioid addiction, autism, and dementia.
- Criminal justice reform: People should be held accountable for their actions, but once they have paid their debt to society they deserve a second chance. I voted for occupational licensing reforms that allow occupational licenses to those with low level criminal offenses in their distant past. A person should not be banned for life from cutting hair or installing gutters on a house because of a mistake they made a long time ago. (HB 4488-94).
- Building the Great Lakes Tunnel: Building the Great Lakes Tunnel to replace the Line 5 pipeline below the Mackinac Straits will create hundreds of jobs and protect tens of thousands of paychecks and better-protect our Great Lakes. I voted to support the timely issuing of permits for its construction. (HR 282). Constructing the Great Lakes Tunnel will build a better future for our state.
In the next year’s budget, I’ll continue to fight for funding to fix our roads, promote public health and safety, and ensure our children have the resources they need in the classroom.
Returning to School Safely
As a member of the House Education Committee, I’m committed to educating Michigan’s children.
COVID-19 has presented unprecedented uncertainty and challenges for students, parents, and teachers. Our steps in the next year are critical to the development of our young people. After seeking input from pediatricians and guided by data, I support safely and sensibly reopening our schools this Fall. I also supported record school funding for 2020 (HB 4242), and a plan appropriating an additional $256 million to schools to pay for increased costs of operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I listened to local teachers, superintendents, principals, school board members, and students about what we learned from the last school year. Remote learning and curriculum flexibility were clear areas for improvement. We need greater investments in reliable broadband internet to ensure our students can continue to learn outside of the classroom and we need a school calendar that allows curriculum flexibility to accommodate our current challenges.
Finally, I support increased investment in career education and curriculum options to promote our skilled trades (HB 4269-70). I will continue to support policies that create pathways for our students to high paying careers in Michigan.
Fixing Michigan’s Rigged Unemployment System
The state’s rigged unemployment system failed hardworking Michigan families at a time when people needed it most. I have heard heartbreaking stories from people in our communities who had to borrow money from friends and family, take out loans, or go on food stamps while they waited weeks and months to get their benefits through no fault of their own. While these local families struggled to put food on the table, state bureaucrats were able to cut to the front of the line and get their benefits instantly.
During my first term in office, I was fortunate to be appointed Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic. This was a role that has allowed me to bring your stories to light and question the Governor’s administration about what they knew when and why they made the decisions they have.
In short, the Unemployment Insurance Agency was slow to ask for help, did not listen to the concerns being shared by employees and their legislators, and failed to effectively communicate with the public. People in our state are hurting and they just want a callback, voicemail, letter, message, or other communication to know they are being heard and someone is trying to solve their problem. The governor’s administration failed to provide this basic customer service.
To help address this issue, I voted to provide the Unemployment Insurance Agency with the $29.1M they requested to hire up to 500 temporary workers to assist with the surge in unemployment claims (SB 690). I will continue to hold the governor’s unemployment insurance department director accountable and to develop a smarter response to fix our state’s broken unemployment system in the future.
Protecting Michigan’s Elderly Nursing Home Residents
Medical experts and data tell us that seniors are most at risk of experiencing serious health effects from COVID-19. Despite having this information, Governor Whitmer made the reckless decision to place COVID-19 positive patients in nursing homes with our most vulnerable populations. This decision put the health and safety of thousands of helpless seniors at risk.
As Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic, I continue to demand answers and accountability from Governor Whitmer and her administration. The people of Michigan deserve to know the truth about why the governor put the health and safety of elderly nursing home residents at risk.
Building Safe and Healthy Communities
We can do more to listen to one another and learn from each other’s life experiences. We can work together to improve community-police relations. I supported requiring police officers to receive implicit bias training and learn de-escalation techniques (HB 5837).
However, I voted to oppose recent calls to defund police departments (HR 277). Further, when Governor Whitmer slashed funding for our county sheriff departments by $1 Million in Kalamazoo County and $400,000 in Calhoun County, I helped restore those dollars (SB 152).
For their work during the COVID-19 pandemic to preserve order and keep our communities safe, I also helped secure hazard pay for local police officers, corrections officers, firefighters, and emergency medical service providers (SB 690).
I am grateful for the service our first responders provide and will continue to support them.
Safeguarding Our Values
I believe the United States is the greatest country in the history of the world. I am proud of our nation’s founders, flag, brave veterans, history, heritage, traditions, and Judeo-Christian values. Our founding documents and system of government allowed brave Americans the opportunity to overcome wrongs committed in the past and to create a more just and exceptional nation. I support teaching our children to revere our nation’s founders, respect our flag, honor our veterans, appreciate our history, and love our country. I will defend and protect the right to life and our individual liberties. I support upholding our First Amendment rights including free speech, religious freedom, and peaceful assembly; and our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.