When I first ran for office I promised to fight for area schools in Lansing, I’m proud to say our area has seen the highest education funding increase in 15 years. I’ve brought back increased funding for local K-12 schools every single year as your State Representative; lessening the per-pupil funding gap. I’m proud to say we have increased annual school funding $1.1 billion dollars since I’ve taken office.
As a member of the School Aid and Dept. Education Appropriations Subcommittee I’m honored to say that 2018-2019 budget included the highest K-12 funding in Michigan’s history.
But, we still need to do better for not only the students of Grand Traverse County, but statewide. Equity in school funding allows area schools to attract top quality teachers to educate our children and entice businesses to invest locally.
When re-elected I will continue to make area schools a top priority - I’m confident my third term will allow us to close the funding gap - something no other representative has been able to achieve.
No student or staff should ever feel unsafe at school.
I’ve met with various educators, law enforcement, emergency responders, healthcare professionals and community leaders get their perspective on what more can be done to keep our schools safe.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I passed a $60M funding bill dedicated to school safety. It establishes a statewide school safety commission to evaluate schools throughout the state, provides for grants and other funding for school safety improvements, and makes the OK2SAY program, an anonymous tip line for students to report threats, permanent.
Following the Larry Nassar scandal at MSU, we passed a series of bills designed to make our universities and community colleges safer by increasing accountability and reporting requirements for these institutions.
During my third term, I will continue to support efforts to increase school safety and work closely with our local leaders to ensure our schools are as safe as possible.
As a member of both the Higher Education and School Aid Appropriations Subcommittees, I have seen the importance of education in meeting Michigan’s needs for a talented 21st Century workforce.
Though college isn’t the right choice for everyone, all students deserve a fair shot at success. That is why I have supported Governor Snyder’s Marshall Plan for Talent, which provides $100M annually for talent and workforce development programs. By increasing opportunities for students to enter the professional and skilled trades, we make sure that the right career path exists for everyone and that Michigan businesses have the kind of local talent that they need to succeed.
I look forward to continuing to promote education and professional development as a means to strengthen Michigan’s economy and ensure that our workforce is prepared for the evolving demands of the 21st Century economy.
As a member of the Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, I understand the vital role of our healthcare providers in the wellbeing of our state. In this year’s budget, I voted for a $65M funding increase for community mental health funding, which will help more Michiganders live happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives. I also fought hard for a $10M increase to the Rural Hospital and OB/GYN Stabilization Fund, which helps Northern Michigan hospitals like Munson provide vital services to our communities.
Serving on the Health and Human Services Subcommittee, I have worked to combat the State’s opioid epidemic. Last year, I helped pass landmark legislation meant to cut down on opioid overdoses. This epidemic crosses all socioeconomic groups and it’s hard to find someone unaffected by it in some way. We’ve made strides in the House with legislation, but more needs to be done.
One of the important steps we’ve made in the most recent budget is to include funding for resources designed to identify specific drugs in overdose cases, allowing the state and our local partners to better target prevention and treatment programs.
I plan on making a continued fight against the opioid epidemic a main focus on his third term as well.
Line 5 needs to be removed.
The aging pipeline has passed its life expectancy and needs to be taken out before it threatens our Great Lakes. However, protecting our environment extends well beyond removing Line 5, which is why I supported a budget that provides funds to combat lead paint in homes and PFAS chemicals in groundwater supplies
This year, as co-chair of the Joint Capital Outlay Subcommittee, I recommended $844,400 in grants for Grand Traverse County though the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board. This money helps local governments and the DNR protect the scenic beauty of our environment and preserve it for generations to come.
I'm also proud to have introduced HB 5898, which provides $115M annually to update Michigan's aging water infrastructure. The fund helps local communities replace lead pipes, and update their storm, sewer, and drinking water systems.
Clean and safe water is fundamental to the continued health of our environment and our economy, and I am committed to safeguarding it for the generations to come.
The condition of Michigan’s roads affect our daily lives and hurt our economy. That is why, in 2015, I committed to increasing annual road funding by $1.2B by 2021. So far, we are halfway to our goal, with $600M raised annually dedicated to fixing our roads and bridges. Additionally, I voted for supplemental road funding totaling $475M over the past two years.
However, roads and bridges are not the only infrastructure that is in desperate need of repairs. Michigan’s aging water infrastructure threatens drinking water supplies throughout the state. That is why I introduced a bill that provides $115M annually to help communities make vital repairs to their water infrastructure.
When re-elected, I will make sure we have solutions in place to fully meet our road funding obligations by the 2021 deadline and I will fight to update Michigan’s aging water infrastructure.
During my almost 30 years of public service I have been a consistent advocate for area veterans. I believe the development of an expanded clinic or hospital for our servicemen and women is critical to the Grand Traverse Area. As State Representative, I am honored to have chaired the Military and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Committee. We have increased funding for the Michigan National Guard tuition assistance program as well as the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy which helps at-risk youths get back in the right track.
On the local level, I served on the Veterans’ Affairs Board which oversaw the education and processing of veterans’ benefit claims for three counties. I also assisted area veterans with their day-to-day needs and services as Commander of the Sons of AmVets, Post 114.
During my third term, you can count on me to continue to stand for area veterans.
AGRICULTURE AND FARMING
Having served Grand Traverse County on the Farmland Preservation Board since its inception until being elected State Representative, I understand the importance of preserving our area’s rich agricultural history. I am dedicated to supporting this vital economic driver to our area through farmland preservation and backing farmers and processors for generations to come.
One of the achievements of which I am the most proud is helping the 10 Cents a Meal Program become a State of Michigan program. This program provides matching funding to local farmers to provide fresh, local produce to Michigan students for their school lunches. What started as a partnership between TBAISD, TCAPS, and the Groundwork Center has grown to encompass much more of the state, and I am proud to have championed it from its inception.
During my third term, I will continue my strong advocacy for our local farmers and will make the 10 Cents a Meal Program funded and implemented statewide.
During my time on the County Board of Commissioners and as a State Representative, one of my main goals was to make sure that the government lives within its means. That means balanced budgets and planning for the future.
As a State Representative on the Appropriations Committee, we have passed our budget early every year, giving local governments more time to plan their finances. I have also passed increased revenue sharing and indigent defense funding to local governments, which help them meet their financial obligations and provide more services.
We have grown the state’s budget stabilization fund, also known as the “rainy day fund” to more than $1B during my time in office. This money helps us weather any unforeseen economic downturns or unexpected shortfalls.
When re-elected, keeping our financial house in order will be one of my top priorities. Michigan families need to live within their means, and so should our government!
JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS
Trimming over-regulation on businesses is key to attracting new employers and retaining our young people. Creating a tax policy that will draw new, desirable businesses and support our current small businesses is vital to our growth.
Supported Governor Snyder’s Marshall Plan for Talent, which is a $100M program dedicated to revitalizing Michigan’s workforce through improved training programs and increased opportunities for careers in professional and skilled trades.
The Good Jobs For Michigan Program created a fund that incentivizes companies to move to Michigan and provide well-paying jobs.
I will continue my support for strong, pro-business legislation during my third term to ensure that our local economy prospers
Throughout my time serving our community, I have been a strong advocate for our senior citizens.
As a Grand Traverse County Commissioner I served on The Commission on Aging Board of Directors, I saw first-hand the effects Michigan’s taxes have taken on our area’s Senior Citizens. I believe we need to maintain programs for seniors without straining local governments and taxpayers.
As a State Representative, I helped pass a bill that protects consumers from fraud by providing free credit freezes. Since many seniors live on a fixed income and are one of the groups most targeted by fraud scams, these credit freezes help them avoid this devastating crime.
I also supported a bill that prevents local communities from raising additional taxes on food and beverages. For our senior citizens, whose grocery bills represent a large chunk of their monthly budget, extra taxes such as these can have a debilitating impact on their finances.
I am committed to continue supporting pro-senior bills during my final term as State Representative.