Results for Southwest Michigan

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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.

Fort Custer

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.

Making Investments in Broadband Infrastructure

In the 21st century, Internet broadband infrastructure must be reliable and secure for everyone. Recently, the Energy and Commerce Committee reviewed six bipartisan proposals specifically aimed at improving broadband deployment meant for consumers across the country. I will continue to be a bipartisan leader to ensure that families and businesses right here in Southwest Michigan have the access they need to the Internet which remains the driving force of our 21st century economy and a new generation of jobs.

Supporting the Harbor Shores Development Project 

Working with local officials and community leaders, I helped lead the way for the Harbor Shores development project, including the cleanup of the former industrial site. This project is already beginning to yield tremendous dividends in Benton Harbor through new public green space, a growing local tax base, revived economic development, and local jobs.


Banning Plastic Microbead Pollutants

In 2015, I helped usher a bipartisan piece of legislation through Congress that would ban synthetic plastic microbeads. Microbeads are tiny scrubbers found in cleansers, body scrubs, and toothpaste. While nearly invisible, smaller than a pinhead, microbeads cause big problems once they are flushed down the drain. Because they are so small, microbeads easily flow through water filtration systems and end up in bodies of water, like the Great Lakes, where they can destroy wildlife and even poison fish. This is why we worked so hard to ban these microbeads. President Obama signed our bipartisan legislation into law at the end of 2015.

Supporting the Allied Site Cleanup in Kalamazoo 

I remain actively engaged with Kalamazoo City officials and residents who want to see the permanent removal of all PCB-contaminated materials from the Allied Disposal Site. Working with Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, I have called upon the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with the City to achieve total removal of the waste. 

Stopping Asian Carp and Other Invasive Species 

I continue to work with other Members from the Great Lakes region to ensure we have the proper resources to fend off invasive species, including the Asian carp, round goby, sea lamprey, zebra mussel, and alewife. These large non-native fish and other invasive species threaten to destroy the $70 billion economy supported by the Great Lakes. I support the physical separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River water sheds to ensure that future threats from invasive species are mitigated. I do not consider our current infrastructure of electric barriers in the Chicago Area Waterway System a viable long-term solution alone. 

Last Congress, I was also an original cosponsor of the Defending Our Great Lakes Act (H.R. 1135), which directs the Secretary of the Army to coordinate and lead federal actions to prevent the spread of the invasive species in the Great Lakes and its tributaries. This projects may include: installing electric, acoustic, air bubble, or other barriers; applying pesticides; improving the locks; and taking necessary actions at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. 

Maintaining the Integrity of the Great Lakes 

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades. As stewards of the Great Lakes, it is our duty to ensure these precious bodies are protected for future generations. The comprehensive, inter-agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) addresses a wide range of problems including invasive species, non-point source pollution, and contaminated sediment. I have always supported robust funding for the GLRI to ensure our Great Lakes remain healthy for future generations. Recently, I helped champion the fight opposing the administrations proposed cuts to the GLRI.

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 

As the awful opioid and heroin epidemic continues to tear through Southwest Michigan and communities across the country, Congress came together and passed legislation to address the problem. In July, the House and Senate passed, and the President signed into law, a sweeping package of laws aimed at attacking the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic from all sides. This critical legislation includes more than a dozen bills advanced by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. I was also proud to have chaired the House and Senate Conference Committee that finalized the comprehensive package.

 

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. 

 

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