This week gave us the chance to highlight the importance of teachers, small businesses, and nurses through their respective appreciation weeks. I remember my own public school teachers, especially Miss Beam, who nurtured my love of reading in first grade, and Mr. Harren, who welcomed me – as one of the only girls interested – into the Aerospace Club. This introduction to the STEAM field fostered an interest that greatly informed my decision to become an engineer. I’m thankful for the countless educators across our district and state who ensure our children are prepared to pursue bright futures.
I’ve continued connecting with my fellow community members to listen to their concerns and share, in person, the important issues we are tackling in Lansing. We want to make sure our community has a way to stay engaged on happenings in the Capitol — either by joining me at a coffee hour or signing up for this e-news. Please share this information with your friends and neighbors and encourage them to sign up for email updates!
As always, I am here to serve you, so please do not hesitate to share your thoughts and comments on any issues that impact you or our community. You can reach me by phone at (517) 373-1783, by email at PadmaKuppa@house.mi.gov or by attending one of my in-district events. Upcoming district hours and events are listed below — I would love to see you there!
State Representative Padma Kuppa
This month is Asian and Pacific Islander American (APA) Month. A person that is APA defined by the U.S. Department of Labor as “a person with origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, South Asia, or the Pacific Islands. This area includes, for example, China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Samoa; and in South Asia, includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan.”
House District 41 is just one of 17 districts with significant APA populations. We hosted the APA Legislative Caucus meeting in the district with the Michigan Asian Pacific American Commission (MAPAAC), and on May 9 held the annual APA Legislative Day in Lansing. The Commission consists of 21 members appointed by the governor. Each member of the commission has a specific interest or expertise in Asian or Pacific American concerns.
While we’ve passed several bills since the last Capitol & Community Update, the 100th Legislature stayed past midnight and into Thursday as we worked on auto-insurance reform. In a last-minute push, the legislative majority turned House Bill 4397 into a giveaway to insurance companies instead of providing real relief to Michigan’s hardworking families. With no hearing or public input, this bill allows for large loopholes for insurance companies to avoid guaranteed lower rates without an end to discriminatory rate setting.
Michigan’s auto insurance industry is one of the least regulated in the country; with Michigan drivers paying nearly two times more than drivers anywhere else in the nation, according to a University of Michigan study. We need to ensure that any auto-insurance policy we pass will provide a real and lasting solution for Michiganders. It is our responsibility as elected officials to promote equitable, reliable and comprehensive legislation, not plans that have to be pushed through in the dark of night without proper comment from our constituents. The process that this bill followed, as well as the bill itself, is a bad deal for the families of our state.
Upcoming Time with Padma
Saturday, May 11, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Blair Memorial Library
416 N. Main St. in Clawson
Monday, May 20, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
Troy Public Library
510 W Big Beaver Road in Troy
Budget Bootcamp Town Hall
Monday, June 10, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
2675 Bellingham Drive in Troy
Friday, June 14, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Blair Memorial Library
416 N. Main St. in Clawson
Our district is home to some great advocates for Alzheimer’s Disease. Constituents from Troy and Clawson came to the office this week to discuss Alzheimer’s and dementia, and how policy can support the individuals and families affected by these challenges. They met with me to advocate on behalf of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, their families and their caregivers. Since 2000, there has been a 169 percent increase in Alzheimer’s deaths.
Currently, 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to increase to nearly 14 million by 2050. The cost of caring for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia during that period is expected to grow from $290 billion to $1.1 trillion. The Michigan Dementia Care and Support Program provides social work expertise through in-home care and counseling, offering resources for families affected by dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association has a 24/7 helpline that you can call at (800) 272-3900, and offers other important resources online.
By supporting families at home, the need for skilled nursing care can be delayed and even prevented in some cases. While we search for a cure, it’s important that programs like this are adequately funded and that caregiver and patients are given the support they deserve.
Happy Small Business Appreciation Week! I was fortunate to host the Small Business Association’s “50 Companies to Watch” award winners this week when they visited the House. I am excited by what these hard-working entrepreneurs bring to our economy. Did you know Oakland County has many resources for those hoping to start a small business?
An Oakland County administered program, in partnership with the Center for Empowerment & Economic Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers microloan beginning at $5,000. For more details, click here.
The One Stop Shop Business Center offers businesses free consultations on anything from startup information to marketing, to taking business to the next level. For more details, click here.
The Oakland Entrepreneurial Alliance partners with the Kauffman Foundations’ 1 Million Cups, a free program, designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs with their communities. More details about this can be found here.