I’m running for the State House because of our communities. I served the City of Linden for eighteen years – twelve of those as the Mayor. I really enjoyed the service and working with other public officials in southern Genesee County to make our communities better.
Think back about where you grew up, the home your family lived in, the street, the neighbors next door, the school you attended, your teachers, and your friends.
For me, it was 2710 Renshaw Drive and 5410 Sturbridge Road. We rode our bikes all over the place, played in the woods, went sledding during the winter, played marbles on the playground at school, we were in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts together. I loved the communities I grew up in and the one that I call home today.
Communities matter. We need to restore the lost revenue sharing that the State Legislature has cut since 2002 so that we can fund the much-needed equipment for our police and fire departments, fixing local roads, upgrading playground equipment. The cities, villages and townships in our district have lost out on $15 million in revenue sharing. That’s not right.
A few weeks ago, I was walking door to door and came upon a father and son who were welding a new frame for a 1963 Buick Rivera in their garage. For me, that moment captured the skills and knowledge that the father is passing onto his son. Vocational skills that will last a lifetime.
I propose “The Michigan Commitment”: a new source of funding to help pay for Michigan high school seniors to use for skilled trades, two and four year degree programs in Michigan. The students sign up, enter their program, graduate on time, and keep their student debt as low as possible or zero.
In exchange, they agree to stay in Michigan for ten years after graduation. If we as a State are going to create a new talented class of citizens, we need to retain them while attracting new investments from across the globe.
This will take time and investment. But Michigan needs to look more like Minnesota than Mississippi. Communities matter. Investing in people and places.