Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome to my first e-newsletter of the 101st legislature! I would like to take a moment to thank you for allowing me the privilege of continuing to serve as the representative for the 71st House District. I am looking forward to continuing to fight for the hardworking families of our state and working with all of you to build the best possible future for our community.
My responsibility as your representative is to lead and find creative
solutions to today’s pressing challenges. I am committed to doing all I can to
ensure the issues you care about most are prioritized because Michiganders
deserve a government that works for them.
I will be most effective in my job when acting on your direct input, so I
encourage you to reach out to me and my staff with any questions, comments or
concerns that you may have regarding our community or the state and with any policy ideas you might have.
Please sign up for up-to-date news from the Capitol by going to www.repwitwer.com. And as always, please do not hesitate to reach out by phone at (517) 373-0853, or send an email to AngelaWitwer@house.gov.
State Representative, 71st House District
Virtual Coffee Hours
Although COVID-19 will keep us from meeting in-person, I want to do all I can to ensure you are able to communicate with me and let me hear your ideas and feedback.
I will be holding virtual coffee hours on Facebook Live each Friday at 11 a.m. You will find the link on my coffee hour event page on Facebook at that time, and no code is needed to join.
I hope to see you there!
Goals for the 101st Legislature
Our community and state are stronger when each and every person has access to the tools, resources and opportunities they need to succeed. Now more than ever, we need to do all we can to identify and address inequalities in the support we provide to those that need it.
Supporting Our Teachers, Students
Our students and teachers are enduring an unprecedented shift in the way education is delivered due to the ongoing pandemic. It is absolutely critical that we continue to stay engaged with teachers and administrators across our state as the year goes on, and as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. We need to ensure we are giving our teachers every resource they need to provide our students with the world class education they deserve. They have done such an amazing job in a near impossible situation these past ten months, and in this new term, we need to show our appreciation by increasing education funding like we should have a long, long time ago.
Just last week, during a press conference on recent COVID-19 developments, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer communicated her encouragement for K-12 schools in the state to begin offering in-person learning by the beginning of March. Less than two months away, that target date might be difficult for some districts to achieve, but I am in complete agreement with the governor on this and hope the districts in our community and around the state will follow suit.
Supporting Our Veterans
Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to the men and women who served in our military. Whether they are at home or abroad, our active duty service members, veterans and their families made countless sacrifices to keep our nation safe. Unfortunately, many veterans right here in our own communities are struggling to access the health care, housing or job opportunities they deserve. It is time that we put our money where our mouth is, and ensure anyone who has sacrificed so much for us is taken care of when they come back home.
Supporting Our Seniors
Seniors are a vital and valued part of our community. After a lifetime of hard work and experience, many continue to give back to their neighbors through volunteering or other activities. As much as our community needs our seniors, I know that sometimes they need the help and support of your community, in return.
In my last term, I was proud to fight on behalf of our seniors in the Legislature. Whether it was through introducing legislation such as my senior financial protection bill, or working with Gov. Whitmer to make Michigan the first state in the Midwest to join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States, I feel like we have a lot to be proud of. The work does not stop there, though, and I remain committed to ensuring that all members of this state, no matter how young or old, are adequately valued and given the opportunities and protections they need to not just survive, but thrive.
Supporting Our Food Banks
Although it often goes unseen, hunger and food insecurity is a serious issue in communities all across our state, but if we continue to work together to find solutions to this problem, I believe we can begin to make a real difference in the lives of many.
One of the things I was most proud of in my first term was the work I was able to do with our local food banks. Food banks perform such a critical role in our communities, and we need to take a deeper look at what we can do to support them, and how we can supplement the incredible work they do. I am looking forward to continuing this work in the new term, and am excited by some of the ideas that are already in the works.
COVID-19 Vaccine Info
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how diseases without vaccines can devastate an economy and public health. In modern history, vaccines have been integral in reducing, and in some cases, eliminating diseases. The Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is committed to following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for prioritization of distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines, with input from state public health and health care leaders and reviewed correspondence from the public. Distribution in Michigan will be in a phased approach, with an emphasis on ensuring the continued functioning of the health care system and essential services in the community and protecting people at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Continue on below for more information, or visit michigan.gov/coronavirus.
Vaccination Approval Process
Vaccines are approved only after they have been held to the highest safety standards. By the time a vaccine like the one to be used to combat COVID-19 is granted approval, the data has been reviewed by the country’s top public health, medical and immunization experts.
In an incredible feat, the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed faster than any before thanks to the unprecedented, worldwide collaboration among scientists, medical doctors, health and government officials, and manufacturers. This collective effort has allowed researchers to shorten the typical vaccine timeline without sacrificing safety or quality.
Initial Vaccine Distribution & Administration Plan
Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan will follow the CDC’s phased approach, including the following phases:
Phase 1A: This phase includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
The first priority of this phase is to keep critical health care infrastructure open and functioning through the vaccination of staff who perform direct patient care and work in critical areas, including emergency medical service providers, emergency departments and intensive care units. Phase 1A also focuses on preventing outbreaks in long-term care facilities by vaccinating workers who have direct contact with large numbers of vulnerable residents, including staff who come in and out of the buildings. Vulnerable residents in long term care facilities will also be prioritized for vaccination during this phase.
Phase 1B: This phase includes some workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services.
Additional essential workers will be the focus of this phase, in order to keep critical infrastructure open and functioning. This will include K-12 school and child-care staff with direct contact with children, some workers in 16 sectors of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Program, homeless shelters, corrections facilities, congregate child care institutions, and adult and child protective services. Other workers with unique skill sets not already covered, including non-hospital laboratories and mortuary services, are also included in this phase.
Phase 1C: This phase includes people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.
In addition to individuals age 65 years and older, this phase includes individuals over the age of 18 with COPD, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, obesity or another condition that puts them at high risk of a negative COVID-19 outcome. Please note that pregnant persons are not recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.
Phase 2: This phase is a mass vaccination campaign for all adults.
All other individuals who did not otherwise fit into the previous groups for whom the vaccine is recommended are included in Phase 2. The vaccine is expected to be available to the general public when supply substantially increases in 2021.
COVID-19 vaccinations will be administered by the following entities:
- Local Health Departments
- Emergency Medical Services
- Michigan National Guard
- Outpatient Clinics