From My Desk in Lansing
It doesn't seem long ago when I first walked into the capitol in January 2011 to take the official oath of office for state representative of the 24th House District.
The past 24 months have been filled with our efforts at the state to help Michigan reinvent itself. Remember, we were 50th in the country in most categories. Unemployment was around 15 percent. And the general moral of our friends and neighbors was that Michigan's best days were behind them.
I, along with my new colleagues, were determined to change the mood around Lansing and step away from the previous administration's policies that were simply kicking the can down the road. These were not quick or simple changes. Whether it was tax reform, education reform or regulatory reform, we took on these tough issues because we believe that Michigan's best days are in front of us.
For me, it was good to bring some of that excitement and focus to our beautiful lakefront communities. I approached the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality about doing some water quality testing and lake muck testing. The goal was to find out what was truly causing these problems for Lake St. Clair. It was not about pointing fingers and casting blame. We have one of the best areas to fish in not just the entire country but the world. Moving forward, our goal is to scientifically address the causes of the lake problems and to stop those responsible.
We have also improved our bond rating in Michigan to AAA according to Moody's, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, which is good news for all of us as the cost of government will go down. We have a structurally balanced budget and a lifeline of money for schools and local essential services are now more dependable.
That being said, there are still too many residents that are unemployed...or underemployed and for them we are still fighting to deliver life support. For those, we need to work with our community colleges to bring up our skill levels to fill the higher paying jobs that are still going unfilled.
Something that I'm particularly proud of during my first term in Lansing was that my nine bills that have been signed by Gov. Snyder and are now public acts were approved by 98% of the Michigan House of Representatives. Several of these bills are things that have been tried for years and they couldn't come to a common ground to get it done. These include:
- Medical Amnesty for minors (PA 125 of 2012, Forlini Primary Sponsor)
- Prisoner sales tax exemption repeal (PA 126 of 2012, Forlini Primary Sponsor)
- Guidelines on temporary signs at polling locations (PA 156 of 2012, Forlini Primary Sponsor)
- Banning of elected officials names on absentee ballot materials (PA 280 of 2012, Forlini Primary Sponsor )
- Education standards for election specialists (PA 271 of 2012, Forlini Primary Sponsor)
- Harrison Township Library funding (PA 191 of 2012, Forlini Primary Sponsor)
- Government Accountability Audit Bill (PA 230 of 2012, Forlini Primary Sponsor)
- Michigan Election Law Reform Bill (PA 417 of 2012, Forlini Primary Sponsor)
- Police Officer and Fire Fighter Survivors’ Additional Educational Opportunities (PA 470 of 2012, Forlini Primary Sponsor)
Farewell to St. Clair Shores
As a mentioned earlier, it doesn’t seem that long ago when I first became your voice in Lansing. I know that you may not have always agreed with how I voted but know that I always have an open door policy with anyone on the issues.
It has been an honor and my pleasure to serve these past 24 months as your voice in Lansing. And it is with great sadness that I move on to the new 24th House District that no longer includes St. Clair Shores. I hope that you will see fit to keep in touch as I still share your concerns over water quality and lake muck in Lake St. Clair.
Please feel free to contact me if you ever have a question or concern. Thank you again for allowing me to be your voice in Lansing.