06-25-2020 Letters and Commentary

Thanks to our dairy farmers Summer and dairy seem to go together. Nothing quite beats ice cream on a hot afternoon, or a nice cheese pairing with a glass of Michigan wine after a long day. Dairy, of course, is more than ice cream and cheese. It is one of our state’s largest and most important industries and is responsible for employing over 40,000 workers and an economic impact of over $15 billion per year. Perhaps most astoundingly, 97% of Michigan dairy farms are family owned and operated — most of them for generations. Like many other small businesses, local family dairy farms have been particularly affected by COVID-19 and the resulting state orders. Farming is hard work even in good times, but the toll our farmers have taken over the past few months has been steep. Faced with the seemingly impossible decision to dump out their milk because of collapsing prices and reduced demand — even while their operating costs mount — dairy farmers are persevering in the face of adversity. In spite of what has become one of the toughest times in their businesses’ lifetimes, dairy farms are turning tragedy into testimony by donating their unsold products to local food banks to help community members who are themselves struggling through the pandemic. Such is the spirit of a farmer. It is hard to believe that we have reached the end of June and with it the end of Dairy Month. And while this month-long celebration of our dairy farmers and the healthy food they produce is coming to an end, we can never completely thank our farmers for all they do to stock our shelves and feed our families. I encourage you to join me in celebrating our dairy farmers, not just this month, but every time you enjoy their tasty products. As always, residents can contact my office with any state or local issues by calling (517) 373-6960 or emailing senklasata@senate.michigan.gov.

Keeping you in the loop This week I will be hosting two events across Southwest Michigan. Tonight, Thursday June 25, I will be holding a Virtual Townhall Meeting on Zoom to discuss the upcoming implementation of auto no-fault reform. This event will feature several guests including State Senator Aric Nesbitt and Rep. Jason Wentworth – two individuals that played key roles in making auto insurance reform a reality. I will also be joined by policy experts in both health and insurance who will be able to answer the many questions you have before auto insurance reform is implemented exactly one week from today. The Zoom meeting ID and password are below. You can also visit my official Facebook page for a direct link to the meeting. Meeting ID: 999 7428 8827 Password: 345873 Please note this event will be limited to the first 100 participants. Tomorrow, Friday June 26 I will be resuming my monthly office hours across the district. This month, I will be holding office hours at several locations, including Ely Park in Hartford (10:30-11:30

BUD’S LAST COLUMN NEXT WEEK… Many people the past seven weeks since Roy “Bud” Davis’ died asked where these last “Paw Paw River Journal” recent columns came from.

The simple answer was Bud wrote his columns a month or so in advance and sent them to the Record. In the past year or so, arthritis took its toll on Bud’s hands, and we had a few discussions on when he would write his last column. “Karl, you know I’m not getting any younger,” he said.

I’d reply it is up to you. Just give me a few columns and a final column when you get to the point you can’t write any more. Thanks to modern computer technology which allowed Roy to dictate the columns. Thanks as well to his family that helped him with program updates and typing in the past months.

After his wife Marion died this past year, the topic came up more often. He didn’t call her his Chief Accountant for nothing. They were a team through and through to the end.

True to his word, he called a couple months ago. “Karl, this is it. I’m working on seven columns and I should be done with them in a couple weeks.”