In this e-newsletter:
- Upcoming Coffee Hour: Aug. 18
- Governor Signs Fiscal Year 2023-24 Budget
- Behavioral Health Town Hall Successful Event
- 41st District Summer Interns Wrap Up Their Work
- Youth Advisory Council Recruitment
- USTA Youth National Tennis Championships
Upcoming Coffee Hour: August 18th
Please join me for an outdoor, informal in-person discussion of legislative and community issues at my next coffee hour:
Friday, Aug. 18
9-10 a.m. (please note the time)
Farrell Park, 809 N. Rose St. in Kalamazoo
While advance registration is not required, anyone who would like to RSVP or submit questions in advance may do so by emailing JulieRogers@house.mi.gov.
Governor Signs Fiscal Year 2023-24 Budget
Gov. Whitmer signed the fiscal year 2023-24 budget, HB 4437, on July 31, putting Michigan on a firm footing for 2024 with investments in K-12 education, our infrastructure and public health. Your priorities are reflected in this fiscally responsible budget, which uses federal dollars for transformational change which were in danger of being returned if they went unused.
I am proud to have advocated for several projects for our community that were included in this budget. They are:
- $20 million for the long-planned reconstruction of the U.S. 131 interchange, which lacks multi-directional access and does not have the typical north/south and east/west ramps that many urban areas require for efficient transportation. With one of the final pieces of funding in place, our Northside neighborhood can look forward to a future where heavy truck traffic, diesel emissions and noise levels improve once this generational infrastructure project is completed.
- $500,000 for a pilot project under the Community Based Crisis Response program to train behavioral health specialists to respond alongside law enforcement officers on calls involving individuals undergoing a behavioral health crisis.
- $250,000 to the Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition for a multi-venue performing arts center in downtown Kalamazoo.
- $4 million for the Western Michigan University Autism Center of Excellence to expand services for children with severe needs.
- $3 million for the Michigan Geological Survey, which is housed at WMU, to continue its mission to use our natural resources wisely while conducting cutting-edge research and analyzing years of data.
- $530,000 for Kalamazoo Valley Community College to build a pipeline of careers in renewable energy.
Successful Behavioral Health Town Hall
Last week, I was delighted that so many members of our community turned out for a very important discussion on behavioral health needs and the resources available to meet those needs at the Douglass Community Association. Roughly 100 people engaged in a lively discussion with experts from Integrated Services of Kalamazoo (ISK), Ascension Borgess and Bronson hospitals, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital and many other providers. Improving access to behavioral health services and ensuring those in need are aware of what is available is vital to our community.
I also wish to thank the community partners who staffed tables at the event and engaged with members of the public. I truly appreciate Community Healing Centers, Gryphon Place, ISK, Bronson Behavioral Health, the Delano Clinic and the Street Medicine Team from Western Michigan University’s Medical School, who all took the time to share information and ways to access their resources with the community. Working together, we can improve the lives of area residents and ensure that our friends, neighbors and community members receive the help they need.
41st District Summer Interns Wrap Up Their Work
This summer, five interns worked diligently to reach out to the community and share information about behavioral health resources while researching topics of public policy to help me better serve you. I am incredibly proud of Victoria, Sydney, Daniel, Grant and Alison for helping our office knock on 8,500 doors and engage in conversations with many of our community members.
With a focus on access to behavioral health services, we spent the summer sharing information on the new national suicide prevention number. The new, memorable number is 9-8-8, which will connect you with mental health professionals who are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. I encourage everyone to share this important resource as widely as possible, as you never know when someone might need to speak with someone.
Thank you to my interns for helping share these important resources and I hope you will join me in wishing them best of luck in their next endeavors.
Youth Advisory Council Recruitment
With the 2023/2024 academic year swiftly approaching, we are beginning to recruit new members for my Youth Advisory Council, which will begin in October. The Youth Advisory Council brings together a small group of high school students to engage in monthly meetings with me and my office to learn about the legislative process and engage in creating a bill to hopefully introduce in the current legislative session.
In order to be eligible, you must be a youth attending one of our high schools and live in the 41st House District. You can find out if you are eligible and apply by clicking here. The program will last eight months and consist of monthly meetings with work to be presented at the following meeting. I am eagerly looking forward to working with members of the Youth Advisory Council to develop legislation that is important to our community and inspired by our youth.
USTA Youth National Tennis Championships
Kalamazoo is always full of exciting events and activities. Today through Aug. 13, the final weekend of the USTA Boys 18’s and 16’s National Championships will be held at athletic facilities primarily at Kalamazoo College and Western Michigan University. This year is extra special, as it is the 80th anniversary of this tournament, which has featured many tennis champions in previous years. Right now, future tennis stars are competing at the highest level of youth sports in our community. Please join me in viewing some incredible matches!