Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for your support over this past two-year term. As I reflect on the many things we have accomplished, from the expansion of the new General Motors battery plant partnership to the bills signed into law, and the millions of dollars of fire equipment for our district, we have much to be thankful for. I hope you enjoy this holiday season.
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
In This Issue:
- In-District Update
- Legislative Update
- General Update
November Teacher of the Month Winner
I’d like to congratulate our November Teacher of the Month winner, Christopher Onze! Mr. Onze teaches music at four schools in the Waverly Community School District: Colt Early Childhood Education Center, Winans Elementary, Waverly Middle School and Waverly High School.
As the mother of a student said, “Mr. Onze teaches music to the littlest Warriors at Colt, Music & Media at Waverly Middle School and Orchestra at Waverly High School, also hosting Orchestra Club before school at the middle school and Modern Band Club after school at the high school. Mr. Onze is a kind person who is passionate about music, and it shows through his students. Mr. Onze inspires students to find their musical talent while helping them build their confidence.”
Each month, I highlight one of our district’s teachers. Who hasn’t had a teacher who’s deeply affected our lives? We owe these exceptional teachers so much. The least that I can do is shine a spotlight on these heroes who give so much of themselves for their communities. So, please, nominate one of the wonderful teachers in our district for December’s Teacher of the Month here so we can celebrate all they do for our community.
November Small Business of the Month Winner
Congratulations to Shebrews 210 in Bellevue, our November Small Business of the Month!
As their nominator said, “A very unique place to visit to get away from all the hustle and bustle of life. A choice of beverages and pastries in a truly enjoyable setting. I love going in there. The workers are so friendly, and the décor is so warm. It is definitely my kind of place. I go every chance I get.”
If you own a business or know of a business that you think should be recognized for its outstanding service to the community and its customers, please fill out the form here. I look forward to reading your submissions and showcasing a new small business in our community for December!
Olivet ADVANTAGE Scholarship
Earlier in the month, Gov. Whitmer and Olivet College President Steven M. Corey, Ph.D. announced that Olivet College is investing millions of dollars to create the Olivet College ADVANTAGE Scholarship. This initiative will begin in the fall of 2023. It is designed to ensure Michigan students have access to a private, small college education without paying tuition or fees. The program is made possible thanks to the Michigan Achievement Scholarship program, which Gov. Whitmer signed into law this year saving students up to $8,250 on their associate degree at a community college, up to $20,000 at a private college or up to $27,500 at a public university.
The program aims to guarantee that students, especially first-generation students and those from low- to moderate-income families throughout Michigan, have access to a quality college experience. To be eligible for free published tuition and fees, students must meet the following criteria:
- Qualify for the newly established Michigan Achievement Scholarship (MAS).
- Qualify for the federal Pell grant.
- Complete the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) and list Olivet College as their first school choice by May 1.
- Be a first-time student beginning in the fall of 2023.
- Enroll as a full-time student.
Students will be automatically considered for the Olivet College ADVANTAGE Scholarship when they submit the required FAFSA. Students will be responsible for the cost of room and board and may apply for a federal student direct loan to cover those costs.
Earlier in the month, the House convened to hear farewell speeches from non-returning members.
Legislator of the Year Awards
I’m proud to share that I have been named Legislator of the Year, both by the Michigan Information & Research Service Inc. (MIRS) and the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA). The MRLA honored me for the work I’ve done to support restaurants, hotels and other small businesses as we recover from the pandemic. MIRS honored me for my bipartisan legislative accomplishments, the investments I secured to support new manufacturing jobs in our district, and the string of endorsements that I’ve won from the Michigan Agri-PAC, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce PAC and other business groups.
I’m proud to be able to say that I have delivered for our district and our state. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in the next term.
Michigan Unemployment Agency to Halt All Collections on Pandemic Overpayments
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, starting next week, plans to suspend all collections on alleged overpayments made to jobless benefit recipients during the coronavirus pandemic. More information can be found in The Detroit News’ article.
Michigan Education Savings Program Earns Top Rating for Third Straight Year
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) was again rated one of the country’s best performers in Morningstar Inc.’s annual ratings of 529 college savings plans, retaining its “Gold” status for the third straight year. The governor is committed to working with anyone to lower costs for working families and ensuring everyone can get on an affordable path to higher education through the MESP, programs like Michigan Reconnect and the Michigan Achievement Scholarship.
Michigan Education Savings Program
Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) is one of three Michigan Section 529 plans, named after the section of the Internal Revenue Code that allowed for their creation. The others are the Michigan Education Trust prepaid tuition program and the MI 529 Advisor Plan, which is offered through investment advisers.
More information about MESP is available at MISaves.com or by calling (877) 861-6377.
Signed into law by Gov. Whitmer, Michigan Reconnect is a bipartisan scholarship program that offers Michiganders 25 and older without a college degree the opportunity to earn an associate degree or skills certificate tuition-free at any of Michigan’s public community colleges, including its three tribal colleges. Eligible residents can receive a degree or certificate tuition-free at a community college in their district. Michigan Reconnect will still cover up to the in-district portion of tuition for those not considered in-district by a community college.
Since Michigan Reconnect launched, over 100,000 Michiganders have been accepted into the scholarship program and more than 18,000 have enrolled in a community college, contributing to Gov. Whitmer’s Sixty by 30 goal of having 60% of Michiganders with a postsecondary degree or skills certificate by 2030.
More information is available at Michigan.gov/Reconnect.
Michigan Achievement Scholarship
To make college more affordable for families, grow Michigan’s talent pool and get the state closer to achieving its Sixty by 30 goal, Gov. Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation creating the Michigan Achievement Scholarship. This legislation builds on Gov. Whitmer’s promise in 2019 to pass Michigan Reconnect and Michigan Opportunity Scholarships to reach the state’s Sixty by 30 goal of 60% of adults with a skill certificate or college degree by 2030.
Starting with the class of 2023, graduates are eligible for annual scholarships of up to:
- $2,750 at a community college.
- $4,000 at a private college or university.
- $5,500 at a public university.
The scholarships are renewable for up to 3 years at a community college and up to 5 years at a private college or public university, totaling up to:
- $8,250 at community college.
- $20,000 at a private college or university.
- $27,500 at a public university.
Students will be eligible if their family demonstrates financial need when they complete the FAFSA. The Michigan Achievement Scholarship will cover:
- 94% of students attending community colleges.
- 79% of students attending a private college or university.
- 76% of students attending a public university.
For more information on how to get your Michigan Achievement Scholarship, click Michigan.gov/MIStudentAid.
Pfizer Investing $750 Million to Expand U.S. Sterile Injectable Facility, Create 300 Jobs
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that Pfizer Inc. will be investing $750 million in its Kalamazoo, Michigan facility, expanding production and creating 300 good-paying jobs. This investment aims to establish the facility as one of the most technologically advanced in the world and continue to ensure the uninterrupted supply of Pfizer medicines and vaccines. This investment builds upon their initial investment of $465 million in the Kalamazoo facility and a $120 million expansion announced earlier this year.