Southwest Michigan has been my home for some 60 years now. It’s an honor to represent a diverse section of the state that stretches from the shores of Lake Michigan to the eastern edge of Kalamazoo County.
Jobs and our local economy continue to be priority number one for me. From agriculture to manufacturing to technology, Southwest Michigan is home to innovative companies and businesses big and small. I remain ever-committed to working with our local stakeholders to promote common-sense legislative solutions that boost jobs and help our economy.
My office also employs dedicated caseworkers to help constituents deal with the federal government. Although I cannot override the decisions made by a federal agency, I can often intervene on a person’s behalf to answer questions, find solutions, or help cut through the bureaucratic red tape. For more information please click here.
As your member of Congress, I strive to be open, transparent, and accountable to everyone across Southwest Michigan. Below you will some specific examples of the bipartisan results we’ve been able to accomplish on behalf of everyone here in Southwest Michigan.
21st Century Cures
When President Obama signed my bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act into law in 2016, it was a major victory for patients across the country. But 21st Century Cures also directly helps Southwest Michigan drug and medical device manufacturers compete worldwide. The landmark legislation includes provisions that help American companies compete in the research and manufacturing sector. By investing in these efforts here at home, we can keep good paying, local jobs right here at home.
As a major life sciences innovation corridor, Southwest Michigan is a national leader in healthcare research and manufacturing. In 2011 and 2012, I led the way in the House for the successful reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) user fee programs for prescription drugs and medical devices. By improving the federal evaluation and approval processes, we significantly help Michigan manufactures like Perrigo, Pfizer, and Stryker better compete with companies overseas, allowing them to bring their life-saving products to patients faster. My FDA reform bill also supports advancements in generic drugs and biosimilars, helps prevent future drug shortages, and promotes treatment options for children with rare diseases.
Supporting the Michigan Department of Transportation’s 1-94 Project
This $42 million dollar project will help finalize critical infrastructure improvement projects in Kalamazoo. In 2016 I voiced my strong support for this project, including sender a letter of support to then-U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on behalf of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s application for federal funding. This funding would be applied to the I-94 Kalamazoo Interstate Modernization and Capacity Improvement Project. I remain supportive of these efforts to update I-94 and modernize our Michigan highways for all to enjoy.
I’ve long been supportive of our men and women in uniform serving at Fort Custer. I championed the effort, along with the entire Michigan Congressional Delegation, of bringing a new cyber mission to Southwest Michigan. In December of 2015, it was announced that Michigan Air National Guard's 110th Attack Wing, stationed in Battle Creek, would be the new host of a Cyber Operations Squadron. The new Cyber Squadron puts Southwest Michigan on the front lines of protecting our nation against the ever-evolving threat of cyber-attacks. This effort will also create local jobs.
Fighting on Behalf of Ibrahim Parlak
Beginning in 2004, I have been actively engaged on preventing the unjust deportation of Harbert, Michigan resident Ibrahim Parlak. Since that time I have introduced private legislation in each Congress that would prevent Ibrahim’s deportation. I continue to work closely with Ibrahim and his allies. For more information, including a comprehensive timeline of our work, please click HERE.
Advocating for the Southwest Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry
The outdoor recreation industry has become a significant driver of job and economic growth here in Southwest Michigan. In 2016 I was proud to support the bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016. This common-sense bill will inform lawmakers on outdoor recreation policy and also help optimize business investments in the outdoor recreation industry. It’s important we continue working together to strengthen our natural resources like the Great Lakes and also improve our outdoor recreation system.
Modernizing the Law to Keep Airfields in Southwest Michigan
In 2016 I introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 5944, with Senator Gary Peters, D-Michigan, that would update and modernize the leasing programs necessary to keep National Guard units and Air Force Remote Pilot Aircraft (RPA) operations on airfields where they currently operate. W.K. Kellogg Airport here in Southwest Michigan has long enjoyed a close relationship with the Michigan National Guard. Our legislation – signed into law by President Obama – enables that productive partnership, and the jobs that come with it, to continue.
Supporting the Harbor Shores Development Project
Supporting the Allied Site Cleanup in Kalamazoo
Stopping Asian Carp and Other Invasive Species
I am also a proud supporter of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, which was ratified by each of the eight Great Lakes State legislatures, approved by Congress, and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The Compact includes provisions that prohibit diversion of lake water outside the region and addresses pressing environmental issues.
Combating Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic
And then in December, as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, an additional $1 billion dollars was allocated to states to address the opioid and heroin epidemic.