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@MyKitchenTable - April 26, 2021

@MyKitchenTable: Monday, April 26, 2021

Dear Friend:

“Happiness isn’t found in some finite checklist of goals that we can diligently complete and then coast. It’s how we live our lives in the process. That’s why the four pillars of happiness are faith, family, community, and meaningful work. Those are priorities we have to keep investing in.” – Arthur Brooks

I’ve known Arthur Brooks since his days as the head of the American Enterprise Institute, one of the most prestigious “think tanks” in the country.  He now serves as a professor at Harvard and lectures at one of the most popular courses there.  He is an accomplished author, was the featured speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast, and is a frequent TV “talking head.” I appreciated having the chance to hear from him last week during our meeting with the Republican Governance Group. Arthur brings leaders from around the world together through practicing his motto of combatting fear with love. His work is reflected well in this article, and I’d encourage you to take a moment to read it HERE.

At the end of last week, I was part of a Problem Solvers Caucus meeting with a bipartisan group of House members, U.S. Senators, and Governors to determine the most effective way we can all work together to solve some of our nation’s most challenging issues. We released a new report of bipartisan policy recommendations to build a strong, successful 21st Century infrastructure network for the United States. It details bipartisan policy solutions that will improve the country’s highways, roads and bridges, transit and railways, ports and airports, water and sewer systems, energy systems and the power grid, and broadband and communications networks. This outline should be the starting point for Republicans and Democrats in Congress to work together on investing in our future, creating jobs, and modernizing our infrastructure for the 21stCentury. A ‘my way or the highway’ approach won’t cut it – let’s come together and get this across the finish line. You can read more HERE.

The COVID-19 situation in Michigan appears to have turned a corner, with the 7-day average for new cases per day now at 5,423, down from 7,800 in mid-April. The case day rate has declined for eight consecutive days, which you can see HERE. The state’s positivity rate is also down to 10%. Remember, we’d like to see that number under 5%. The important thing is that we continue to vaccinate as many Michiganders as possible. If you need a vaccine appointment, you can visit http://www.mi.gov/covidvaccine. Remember, the vaccine is safe and effective and now available to anyone 16 and older, and it is the key to ending this pandemic once and for all. The Kalamazoo County Health Department had a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic today. More and more walk-in clinics are becoming available and will be yet another tool to help vaccinate as many Michiganders are possible.

In case you missed it, U.S. health officials lifted the temporary pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week. After studying the data, the government uncovered 15 vaccine recipients who developed a highly unusual kind of blood clot, out of nearly 8 million people who were given the shot. You can read more HERE.

Earlier today we announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is providing an emergency $500,000 to dredge the St. Joseph Harbor per my request. The harbor, which is essential to jobs and economic activity in Southwest Michigan and across the state, needed the emergency funding to deepen the channel into the St. Joseph river. I’ve been in close contact with local business leaders and Berrien County officials concerning the issue, and originally the USACE had not planned any dredging this summer. I’d add that without the funding, additional sand and gravel required for the start of the final construction for the completion of U.S. 131 could well have been delayed yet another year as the Lake Michigan freight carriers told me they would not go beyond the Railroad Bridge without dredging. Bottom line - this announcement is a huge victory for the people of southwest Michigan. You can read more HERE.

I also spoke with the Holland West Coast Chamber this morning virtually about a number of issues. We also did a Q&A on several topics, including working with the new Administration, voting rights legislation, HR 8, and additional funding for the Great Lakes.

Tomorrow at 8:15, I’ll be doing my weekly interview with Gary Stevens on WHTC. You can listen HERE.

All the best, 


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