LANSING, Mich., Jan. 24, 2024 — Before a joint legislative session today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivered this year’s State of the State address. In her speech, the governor discussed her agenda for the new term, which includes uplifting Michigan’s education system, growing our economy and protecting people’s hard-earned money. State Rep. Phil Skaggs (D-East Grand Rapids) issued the following statement on Whitmer’s address:

“The governor outlined a strong plan for Michigan — and it’s one I stand behind. Let’s make Michigan a place that everyone wants to live. One where young people can stay, find a high quality of life and succeed in building their dreams. One where working parents can afford to raise children and have access to paid family and medical leave. One where college graduates can build a good life without burdensome student loan debt. One where we all enjoy thriving cities, high-quality schools, affordable housing, recreational amenities and a pure environment. These are my priorities for 2024, both for West Michigan and across the state.”

State Rep. Phil Skaggs (D-East Grand Rapids) was joined by East Kentwood High School teacher Matt Vriesman at the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024.

Skaggs was joined on the House floor by Kentwood Public Schools teacher Matt Vriesman, the 2023 Michigan History Teacher of the Year and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s 2023 National History Teacher of the Year. Vriesman teaches world, American and African-American history and is the Model United Nations director at East Kentwood High School. Over a 16-year teaching career, Vriesman has found success connecting with students and motivating them to pursue their interests. A former history professor, Skaggs is a firm believer in the importance of knowing our past so we can improve our future and congratulates Vriesman on his inspirational teaching. The student body of Kentwood Public Schools is international and diverse, with students originating from over 80 different countries speaking over 80 different languages.

Since gaining control of the House, Senate and governor’s office last year, House Democrats have laid a strong foundation for our state by putting people first. The fundamental building blocks include repealing the retirement tax, increasing the working families tax credit (EITC), funding free breakfast and lunch for public school kids, ensuring better access to reproductive health care, improving public safety and so much more. With efforts including lowering prescription costs, bolstering our economy and ensuring Michigan is a healthy and desirable state to live and work in, House Democrats will continue to work to build a bright future for all Michiganders.