November 21, 2022
@MyKitchenTable:Monday November 21, 2022
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller
OTSEGO CROSS COUNTRY
Shortly after my last Kitchen Table was sent out, I stopped by Otsego High School to visit with the cross country team during their practice. The team’s unofficial mascot is a sledgehammer named after me called Fred. (Photo credit to Jason Wesseldyk with the Allegan County News). To the Otsego cross country program, a “hammer” is someone who goes all in and is dedicated to the team. The team hosted me and allowed me to start their victory lap, an annual tradition for the team, after the girls’ team won the state title and the boys did almost as well placing sixth. You can read more about my visit HERE.
MICHIGAN PUBLIC RADIO
On Tuesday, I joined Rick Pluta on Michigan Public Radio Network (MPRN) to discuss my last couple months in office. The interview also aired locally on Western’s radio station, WMUK. We covered closing three offices after 36 years, and more importantly, what Congress must do to avoid a government shutdown. I’m certain we’ll be fighting to the wire to avert a potential shutdown on December 16.
We also discussed the GOP’s new majority in the House, and what it will take to make an effective Congress with such a slim difference in numbers. The Problem Solvers Caucus, of which I am a current vice chair, will be more important than ever in the new Congress as most congressional action will require bipartisan support. You can listen to my conversation with Rick PlutaHERE.
OUTFRONT WITH ERIN BURNETT
On Tuesday evening, I was on OutFront with Erin Burnett on CNN. I was live at 7:45PM, just over an hour before Trump made his announcement to run for President again in 2024. We discussed a number of things in my segment, including the Arizona governor’s race, which has since been called, as well as the GOP’s turnout in the midterms. As you may have seen, the House was officially “flipped” to a Republican majority on Wednesday night after Democrats had held the House for the last two years. You can watch my segment HERE.
UPDATE ON ST. JOE HARBOR
On Thursday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it had awarded an emergency dredging contract to King Co. of Holland to get our channel cleared as soon as possible. If you read my last Kitchen Table, you will know that I examined the harbor shortly after the three-day storm that stirred up enough sand and silt to raise the depth of the channel from about 21 feet to a mere 12 feet. Over the last few weeks, the Corps has secured the funding and has now granted the contract, essentially paving the way to get this going before inclement winter weather poses a real problem. Considering the amount of snow west Michigan has already had this month, I imagine the weather will cause at least a few delays in the near future. Without ship traffic, the alternative is literally thousands of trucks hauling aggregate for hundreds of miles with escalating costs. You can read more about the contract dredging HERE and HERE, and my statement on this welcomed news HERE.
CLOSING CONSTITUENT CORRESPONDENCE
On Friday, my office officially closed constituent correspondence after 36 years. Listening to my constituents has always been a top priority of mine. We started on typewriters, and now we’re ending with over 1 million completed constituent messages. Believe it or not, most of the million messages were answered through email or letters sent through USPS, all of which I have signed by hand. The remaining messages were answered on the spot, via fax machine, or over the phone. The rule in the office is to never let the phone ring twice, and to always call folks back first thing in the morning if they left a voicemail after hours.
The top outgoing letter was my coronavirus response letter and resource guide, which was sent to over nine thousand people. I especially thank my hardworking and dedicated staff for overseeing such a large operation over several decades. No question I could never have done this job without a loyal and hardworking staff 24/7. In fact, I have had two staffers with me all 36 years and several over 18 to 20 years.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to provide updates in my Kitchen Table e-newsletter, as well as post on social media. If folks have specific questions about ongoing legislation, I highly encourage you to reach out to our Senators as neither Debbie Stabenow or Gary Peters were up for election in this year’s midterms.
Earlier this month, I made a quick trip to Spain on a private trip (no taxpayer funds, and was approved by the House Ethics Committee) with some 30 GOPs and Democrats to discuss not only the election results, but also the likely agenda in the 118th Congress. We met with fellow Spanish parliamentarians and cabinet officials, and had a lengthy visit with King Felipe VI. Michigan colleagues Bill Huizenga and Dan Kildee were part of the group as well.
This past weekend, as a GOP Vice-Chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, our group discussed a governing agenda in the next Congress with a very narrow margin. I encouraged our group to work to develop a North American Energy Independence plan to reduce reliance on foreign oil, lower energy costs, and truly help our economy. I’ve returned to our great state today for one of my favorite holidays – Thanksgiving and the OSU game at noon. Go Blue!
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