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Jobs & Economy

Michigan is known far and wide as “The Great Lakes State.” And we have all the tools necessary to make Michigan “The Great Job State.” We need to make sure the buck stops here — and stays here in Michigan. That starts with electing people to the Michigan Legislature who understand what it takes to create good jobs. In today’s ever-changing global economy, we need new state policies, not the same old ideas. In the State Senate, I will fight to expand educational opportunities and skilled training for everyone. And I will support of small businesses that create good-paying jobs.

While serving in the State House, I fought efforts attempting to block GM’s new technical facility in Warren and co-sponsored a bill that won $1 billion in new investment and 1,800 good paying jobs for Macomb County. But too many people feel left behind in today’s economy. We need an economic strategy that creates opportunities for everyone in Michigan.

As State Senator, I will fight for:

  • Retraining programs — for Veterans and workers who have lost jobs through no fault of their own so that No Worker is Left Behind.
  • Equal pay — for equal work.
  • Increasing — the minimum wage.
  • Hire Michigan Workers First — policies for companies receiving state loans or grants.
  • Fair Trade Agreements — and eliminating tax breaks for companies that outsource Michigan jobs.
  • Protecting — prevailing wage.
  • Repealing - Right to Work.

Education

As a parent, one of the most important issues for me is improving the quality of public education. Settling for the best, and nothing less, is the key to Michigan’s future. Globalization and technology are transforming the workplace and our kids must be prepared with better schools and better job training programs. We need to make sure our educational system provides opportunity for all children, no matter where they live.


Schools have been hit with funding cuts in recent years. Programs have been cut, teachers have been laid off and schools have closed. We’ve seen this in bad economic times, but even in good times. That’s not the way it should be. We know that when public schools are strong, communities stay strong.

In the State House, I fought for and won an additional $20 million for area schools and over a half-million dollars for Macomb Community College’s Job Training Program. If we want to make sure our kids stay in Michigan, we need to start investing in their future again.

As State Senator, I will fight for:

  • Early Childhood Education — by creating a universal preschool program that lays the foundation for future success.
  • Reducing Class Size — and investing in K-12, at-risk and special needs students.
  • Vocational and Skilled Training — expansion because a four-year college degree isn’t for everyone.
  • Giving Local Control — back to our school districts and professional educators in the classroom.
  • Charter School Accountability — so they’re required to meet the same high academic and operational standards as public schools — because all Michigan students deserve to be successful.
  • Affordable College — through incentive programs available to all high school students, so they can graduate without debt.

Environment

Michigan’s awe-inspiring lakes, rivers, forests and natural resources are critical to both our economy and way of life. Our health and the health of our communities depends upon our commitment to protect these valuable resources for each other and for future generations.

The Great Lakes are the lifeblood of our state and home to 21% of the world’s fresh water. We cannot let climate change, pollutants and invasive species damage this priceless natural resource.

In the State House, I fought attempts to roll back environmental protections and supported legislation to make polluters pay to clean up their toxic waste.

As State Senator, I will fight to:

  • Protect our Great Lakes — and inland waters from nitrogen-rich runoffs from farms, algae blooms, Asian carp and sea lampreys.
  • Shutdown Line 5 Pipeline — transporting oil under the Straits of Mackinac before a leak causes an environmental catastrophe.
  • Promote Clean Energy Jobs — as an alternative to oil and gas development.

Infrastructure

Investing in infrastructure in Michigan is critical to raise the standard of living for our families. For too long, the Legislature has failed to offer solutions to maintain our state’s crumbling roads and bridges, even though they’ve raised gas taxes and vehicle registration fees. Leaders have also failed to address the problem of lead in our schools and pipes so that what happened in Flint won’t ever happen anywhere else.

In the State House, I supported improving our roads and infrastructure while making sure that tax dollars were protected. I proposed requiring guarantees and warranties from contractors in the bidding process to help ensure that our roads, bridges and water systems are fixed right the first time.

As State Senator, I will fight for:

  • Increasing State Road Funding — so that local roads and bridges are finally fixed and the quality of work is guaranteed.
  • Replacing Lead Pipes — so everyone has safe drinking water.
  • Revenue Sharing — increases to cities, counties and townships, dedicating those resources to infrastructure repairs.

Senior Citizens

Michigan seniors need a champion in the Legislature. Rising taxes, higher out-of-pocket health care costs and elder abuse are serious problems. Seniors deserve to retire in dignity after a lifetime of hard work. I know firsthand how seniors can struggle, as my father spent years as my mother’s caretaker. They spent a small fortune to keep her in at home as she wanted, instead of in a nursing home.

In the State House, I supported tax credits for those taking care of their family members at home. I also co-sponsored bills that doubled the penalties for criminals that victimize older and disabled citizens and called on nursing homes to increase their worker-to-patient staffing ratio.

As State Senator, I will fight for:

  • Repealing the Pension Tax — so seniors can keep more of the money they’ve worked so hard for.
  • Family paid leave — and benefits for in-home care.
  • Increasing funding — to combat elder abuse.

Veterans

Veterans have sacrificed so much to protect our country and deserve to be honored with more than just lip service. Yet thousands of Michigan veterans don’t get the health care they have rightfully earned after serving our nation. And too many veterans find themselves homeless and jobless, even though they have so much to offer.

In the State House, I supported additional funding for medical care, including mental health services, counseling, housing and family assistance.

As State Senator, I will fight for:

  • Better Job Training Programs — for veterans.
  • Providing — immediate access to health care, including mental health services.
  • Help — for low-income veterans and their families to prevent homelessness.