Friends and Neighbors,
Happy March! Spring is nearly upon us. At the Capitol, this is the busy season. I’ve been working on new legislation and meeting with local organizations and constituents to make sure that your voice is heard in Lansing. As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to contact my office at any time by emailing RachelHood@house.mi.gov or calling (517) 373-0822.
Yours in Service,
Rep. Rachel Hood
Michigan’s 76th House District
Campaign Funds for Child Care
Some of the best elected officials I know are moms and dads. However, running for office while raising children or caring for a loved one is a challenge for many. We should be doing everything we can to empower working parents and loved ones who want to make a difference for their communities through public service.
That’s why in February, state Sen. Stephanie Chang and I introduced Senate Bill 882 and House Bill 5840, which would allow people running for elected office to use campaign funds for child care. The bills would also allow the use of these funds for the care of an elderly loved one or differently-abled family members.
With the help of the Vote Mama Foundation, we mirrored our legislation on similar bills that have passed in 18 other states across the nation. This is common-sense legislation that will make our politics more inclusive.
I’m ready to work with both my Democratic and Republican colleagues to pass this important legislation into law.
Supporting Local Organizations in Grand Rapids
We have 22 permanent committees in the Michigan House of Representatives. When a bill is first introduced in the House, it is sent to the committee that deals with that specific issue before it moves on to the floor for a vote.
I currently serve on the Appropriations Committee, which, among other things, deals with the yearly state budget. Last year, I worked hard to ensure that our local organizations here in Grand Rapids had a voice and received adequate funding in the fiscal year 2022 (FY22) budget. In February and March, I followed up with these organizations to see the impact the funding had on their efforts. You can read more about my visits below.
I was able to secure $7 million in the FY22 budget for the Grand River WhiteWater. They are an organization planning to bring the rapids back to the Grand River in a safe, sustainable way. In fact, one analysis projects that, when completed, the project will attract 500,000 people each year, have $19 million in net economic impact for the city, and create up to 100 new jobs. It also has the potential to generate over $250 million in capital investments within 10 years of completion.
To say that this would be a huge deal for Grand Rapids would be an understatement. This is in addition to the positive impacts the project will have on the river wildlife, including improving the habitat for the 27 species of mussels in the river. I was happy to visit their HQ!
Founded in 1854, the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) attracts visitors from across the state. Its collection contains more than 250,000 artifacts and specimens, and the museum is used by over 100,000 kids each year.
The GRPM delivers an excellent experience to its visitors in part because of government funding. That’s why I was proud to visit the GRPM and learn about the ways it will utilize the $500,000 I secured for them in the FY22 budget. The funding will go towards maintaining, repairing, and imagining new museum experiences, with a focus on education and sustainability.
We also visited the future site of the Kent County Sustainable Business Park. This project, spearheaded by the Kent County Department of Public Works, will use 250 acres of land, which would have gone to create another landfill, to build a business park that generates renewable energy, attracts businesses that localize the recycling process and supports the regional economy. This is an essential part of Kent County’s plan to divert 90% of trash that goes to its landfills by 2030. The $4 million appropriated for them in the FY22 budget will help fund this ambitious project.
Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation (GRCCT) is the last fantastic organization I had the honor of visiting. The FY22 budget included $500,000 for its efforts toward renovating and improving their community center.
GRCCT is a partnership between five local businesses and nonprofits that resulted in a shared workspace focused on uplifting impoverished youth in Grand Rapids. In Grand Rapids, 43.7% of children under 18 live below the federal poverty line, and GRCCT is there to provide opportunity and mentorship for those kids. I’m so proud to provide GRCCT with funds to continue their positive impact.