Welcome to my monthly e-newsletter! While some of you may have already received this e-news, I wanted to make sure new subscribers received it as well.
I am thrilled to begin serving our community as the state representative of Michigan’s 103rd House District. The 103rd encompasses all of Leelanau County, portions of Benzie County (Platte and Almira Township) and Grand Traverse County (Traverse City, along with Acme, East Bay, Garfield, Peninsula and Long Lake townships). Peshawbestown, the seat of tribal government for the sovereign nation of Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, is also located within the 103rd District.
As your state representative, I am happy to provide these regular updates on my legislative work, upcoming events and other news relevant to the district. Our first session day of the term was Jan. 11. This initial e-newsletter covers important news and exciting events from the past month!
Neighbors and friends in House District 103 are encouraged to also sign up for these updates at my website, coffia.housedems.com. My office can be reached at (517) 373-3817 or BetsyCoffia@house.mi.gov. Be sure to check out the latest on my social media platforms as well. As this legislative session continues, I welcome your continued feedback and encourage you to reach out if my team and I can ever be of assistance to you!
House District 103
Monthly Community Conversations
Please join me for my in-person office hours where I will be giving legislative updates and taking your questions about the issues facing our state and our community! These events are a great way to find out what policies I’m working on, and give you a chance to share your ideas and concerns with me. Our February Meetings are as follows:
When: Monday, Feb. 13, at 1p.m.
Where: Red Door Cafe in Lake Ann
(19631 Maple St. in Lake Ann)
When: Monday, Feb. 27, from 9:05 a.m.
Where: Grand Traverse Pie Company,
(101 N. Park St. in Traverse City)
When: Monday, Feb. 27, from 3-4 p.m.
Where: Leelanau County Government Center (CMR, first floor)
(8527 E. Government Center Drive in Suttons Bay)
The 102nd Michigan Legislature kicked off with our first day of session on Jan.11, where we as a body were sworn in by our newest member of the Michigan Supreme Court, Justice Kyra Harris Bolden. I was also officially sworn in the previous day by Clerk Gary Randall.
State Rep. Betsy Coffia being sworn in by Clerk Gary Randall on Jan. 10, 2023.
While we are only at the very beginning of this two-year term, my colleagues and I have already hit the ground running by introducing a number of bills that reflect key priorities for our state. They include tax relief for seniors and working families, support and protections for workers and marginalized communities, and expanding reproductive freedoms per the will of Michigan voters. More on these initiatives can be found here. I proudly co-sponsored these bills, which are just the first in many more policy changes that I hope to be a part of this legislative session, and I’m eager to continue working on legislative initiatives to support the people of Michigan’s 103rd House District.
I was appointed to five House committees: Families, Children, and Seniors, where I will serve as majority vice chair; Health Policy; Economic Development and Small Business; Agriculture; and Higher Education. Woven into each and every one of my assigned committees is a piece of my district’s priorities — an opportunity for change and a brighter Michigan future. I am honored to serve on these committees and will bring my passion, expertise and constituents with me along the way.
Michigan House Speaker’s Visit to House District 103
On Jan. 20, I attended the Northern Michigan Policy Conference, which took place right here in House District 103 in Acme. During the event, I was able to join a bipartisan panel of my legislative colleagues. Also in attendance, as my special guest, was the Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives Joe Tate. Along with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, and many local and community leaders.
Before and after the event, my special guest Speaker Tate and I took a tour of the district and we discussed everything from health care to housing, from child care to economic development, and so on. One of my favorite places we visited was the Grand Traverse County Department of Veterans Affairs to connect with veterans, an experience that Speaker Tate can relate to having served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Check out the pictures of the visit below!
2023 State of the State
On Jan. 25, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered the State of the State address before a joint session of the Legislature at the Capitol in Lansing. In the speech, the governor discussed her legislative agenda for the new term, which includes bolstering the economy, increasing public safety, lowering costs for families, protecting fundamental rights, supporting Michigan workers, investing in early childhood education, and attracting talent to Michigan. Joining me to watch the speech were my invited guests Yarrow Brown, the executive director of Housing North, and James Walker, a nurse at Munson Medical Center.
The address by Gov. Whitmer reaffirms the goal of a brighter and more prosperous future for Michigan. From day one, I’ve advocated for more affordable and accessible housing in the 103rd District and across the state. Michiganders deserve access to health care, especially in rural areas like mine, and I know each of these are important priorities to the governor and the Democratic majority. Along those same lines, we must continue to support our frontline health care workers as they deliver vital care during our most vulnerable times. It was an honor to attend my first State of the State address with my esteemed guests by my side; each is committed to meaningful work in our community — I cannot thank them enough.
End of Extra FAP Benefits
Please be advised of an upcoming change in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which will affect those receiving Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
To address the effects of the COVID pandemic, eligible households started receiving these extra monthly benefits — at least $95 a month — in April 2020. Michiganders have been receiving this extra food assistance in a separate, second payment that occurs near the middle or end of each month. Due to federal action, February 2023 will be the last month that people in Michigan and other states receive that supplemental emergency benefit. In March 2023, the additional benefits will no longer be issued. You can reach out to your federal representatives regarding the reinstatement of these benefits. Call 2-1-1 for information on alternate food and other assistance.
It is recommended to check your regular monthly food assistance amount on your Michigan Bridge Card by going online at www.michigan.gov/mibridges or by calling (844) 464-3447. You can also use the ebtEDGE portal or call (888) 678-8914 to check their remaining balance available. Customer service is available 24/7. Those who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing or speech-impaired can call the Michigan Relay Center at 7-1-1.
Michigan Reconnect & Achievement Scholarship
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced in July 2022 that more than 100,000 Michiganders are on their way to a tuition-free degree or skills certificate through the Michigan Reconnect program. This news marks a major milestone in the state’s efforts to achieve the governor’s Sixty by 30 goal, which aims to increase the number of adults in the state with a postsecondary degree or credential to 60% by 2030. Since the announcement of the 60 by 30 goal, the percentage of working-age adults with a college degree or certificate has increased from 45% to 49%.
Created with overwhelming bipartisan support, the program is the largest effort in state history to ensure that Michiganders who are 25 or older and do not have a college degree have an opportunity to earn an associate degree or certificate with free or deeply discounted tuition. Since its launch in February 2021, about 18,000 participants have returned to school to finish their degree or enrolled for the first time. Over 500 have already graduated with an associate degree or skills certificate.
Michigan Reconnect pays the cost of in-district tuition for eligible adults who want to pursue an associate degree or skills certificate at any of Michigan’s public community colleges, including its three tribal colleges. Eligible residents can attend community college tuition-free at a community college where they are considered in-district. For those who are not considered in-district by a community college, Michigan Reconnect will still cover up to the in-district portion of tuition.
To be eligible for Michigan Reconnect, a person must:
- Be at least 25 years old when you apply.
- Have lived in Michigan for a year or more.
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Have not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelor’s.)
Learn more and get started at www.michigan.gov/Reconnect.
Michigan Achievement Scholarship
A new internet resource for the graduating class of 2023 is active. The webpage helps graduating students apply for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship to help lower the cost of college by thousands of dollars. Students should talk with their parents or guardians to gather the necessary documents to apply and fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Starting with the class of 2023, graduates are eligible for annual scholarships 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 three years at a community college and up to five 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.
E-News Archives and Publications
My e-news archive is available on my website here. State publications on various topics are also available on my website here. Physical copies of any of these publications can also be mailed to you by emailing my office with your request.