As we begin a new year and legislative session, I want to start by saying that I am continually honored and humbled to be your state representative. Please know that as we continue to face the challenges of the pandemic and its ripple effects throughout our society, my staff and I are here for you. If you are in need of support or resources, have any questions regarding legislation or state government in general, please feel free to reach out to me at my office via email or by calling toll-free (855) 473-4635.
Even as we step up to face those challenges we also have things to be proud of and celebrate. Our nation now has its first African American, South Asian American, and woman as the Vice President of the United States of America. I am so proud and not just because of the accomplishments of V.P. Kamala Harris, but of all the other Black people who are making history every day.
Usually, during Black History Month, we gather together to share stories and accomplishments of the past and present and our hopes for the future. This year, we’ll have to be more creative with our celebrations as we continue to be vigilant in our fight against COVID-19. The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus will be celebrating with a virtual event this year. Please join us for this year’s celebration later this month; watch my Facebook page for time and date.
State Representative 29th House District
In this issue:
- Upcoming Coffee Hour
- COVID-19 Vaccine Update
- Epidemic Orders Update
- Update on Pontiac Schools
- Leadership Positions and Appointments
- 2021 Committee Assignments
Upcoming Coffee Hour
Please join me for my next community conversation hour on Monday, March 8 at 8 a.m. meeting details to follow.
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
The Oakland County Health Division is currently vaccinating individuals age 65 and older, as well as essential frontline workers as defined by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) COVID-19 vaccination plan who work or live in Oakland County. They are also visiting long-term care facilities to vaccinate residents and employees.
I recently got my first vaccine shot and I want to encourage everyone to sign up for an appointment here. I know that getting to this point has been a long and hard road, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
They are current vaccinating the following groups:
- Health care workers
- Emergency medical service workers
- Long-term care, assisted living/skilled nursing facility staff, and residents
- Individuals 65 years and older
- Frontline first responders
- School and childcare staff
- Corrections staff
- Frontline workers in critical infrastructure (food & agriculture, utilities, transportation, grocery store workers)
If you have specific questions about eligibility, where to set up an appointment or anything else you can contact the county health department by clicking here or calling 800-848-5533. They are experiencing high call volumes so please be patient. At this number, you can make a COVID-19 test appointment, a vaccine appointment or speak to a nurse on call.
Epidemic Orders Update
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its current epidemic order to allow contact sports to resume as of Monday, Feb. 8, provided masks are worn during practices and competition. If masks cannot be worn, participants must be regularly tested for COVID-19 consistent with guidelines issued by MDHHS, are available online at Michigan.gov/coronavirus on Sunday, .
Sports organizers are encouraged to administer a testing program even if it is not required. Safety protocols like wearing masks and testing will help keep kids, coaches and families safe and allow our schools to remain open for in-person instruction. The order remains in effect through Monday, March 29.
In addition to the update, MDHHS also created several helpful graphics to explain the changes in the order:
MDHHS has been closely monitoring three metrics for stabilization or declines over the past several weeks, and Michigan continues to see improvements.
In recent days, hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients has been in a 10-week decline, with current capacity at 6.6% for beds with COVID-19 patients after peaking at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
Overall case rates: Currently at 159 cases per million after peaking at 740 cases per million on Saturday, Nov. 14. Rate has been in solid decline for 24 days. Three MERC regions in the state are now below 150 cases per million people: the Detroit, Traverse City and Upper Peninsula regions.
Positivity rate: currently at 4.9% and declining. This is the first time positivity has been this low since mid-October.
Update on Pontiac Schools
I am pleased to announce that Pontiac School District has successfully eliminated its deficit and has a positive fund balance for the first time in nearly a decade. The members of the school board dedicated themselves to rebuilding and restoring the district’s financial standing. I am so proud of their efforts. This achievement means that so many more opportunities and innovations are now possible. I look forward to seeing all the good things that will come next!
Leadership Positions and Appointments
To be an elected official is to be considered a leader. I am humbled by the faith and trust given to me by my colleagues here in the legislature and I am committed to ensuring the needs and desires of Michigan families always come first. I was chosen by my colleagues in the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus to serve as the 2nd Vice Chair.
2021 Committee Assignments
I was selected to serve as the Democratic Vice Chair of the House Insurance Committee, as well as retaining my seats on the Education and the Families, Children and Seniors Committees. I am looking forward to working with all my colleagues across these various committees to get the best possible outcomes for the people of Michigan.