12-26-2019 Columns

A look back at 2019

The end of the year is quickly approaching and with that provides an opportunity to reflect on 2019. It was a busy year here in Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District. Our farmers faced record rainfalls and extreme weather. I participated in a farm tour to see damage firsthand and led a letter encouraging the USDA to approve a disaster designation, which they did. I also fought to support and protect our Great Lakes, including leading a visit by the Michigan Congressional Delegation to the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to learn more about efforts to protect the Great Lakes from Asian Carp. We also advanced efforts to improve care for our veterans. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act was signed by President Trump, and the VA Mission Act took effect. We began efforts on Cures 2, aiming to improve access to life-saving cures. We passed legislation to put an end to annoying, pesky robocalls. In September, I celebrated the groundbreaking of the Indeck Niles Energy Center, a $1 billion investment that will help generate clean energy for our region and create new jobs. In 2020, we have a lot more to do, and I hope to see the Congress work together on addressing the issues most important to the families of the Sixth District. To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or visit my website: upton.house.gov. You can also call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph/Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).

A year in review

As 2019 comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on some of our accomplishments in the Michigan House and highlight some of my priorities for 2020. I also would like to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts and concerns with me by contacting my office or attending in-district coffee hours. A great achievement this year was a plan I spearheaded to assist farmers whose crops were devastated by last spring’s record-setting rain. The new law provides $15 million for low-interest loans to qualified farmers. This plan will provide financial stability for families in need and ensure that our hardworking farmers will continue to be the backbone of Southwest Michigan. Earlier this year we passed legislation that will fix Michigan’s broken car insurance system by giving drivers more choices in personal injury protection coverage. This plan removes an unfair and mandatory burden on drivers and will lead to guaranteed savings, reduced medical costs, and will fight fraud. In addition, I voted to provide record funding for K-12 schools, introduced a plan to make the state’s PFAS action response team a permanent agency, and sponsored legislation to further protect student athletes from abuse. Priorities for our community I will to continue to fight for in 2020 include: Exempting broadband infrastructure from property taxes, which will allow for broadband expansion to unserved areas; allowing high school students to meet their 21st century skills requirement through CTE courses; continuing to fight for clean drinking water and find innovative solutions for combatting PFAS. It is an honor to serve as your state representative and I look forward to continuing to work hard for all of Southwest Michigan in the coming year. I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

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