Continue Focus on Economy, Making Government More Efficient

Gov. Rick Snyder recently outlined his goals for 2012 in his annual State of the State address.

I applaud the governor for keeping his focus on fixing Michigan’s economy, creating jobs and making government more efficient and effective.

Last year the governor came out of the gate with a bold, innovative blueprint to transform our state. We are already starting to see the positive results of enacting that plan, but more work needs to be done.

Although the unemployment rate in Michigan has fallen to 9.3 percent, the lowest in more than 3 years, we must continue our efforts to get people back on the job. I am eager to continue working on ways to encourage businesses that are already here to expand and hire and to attract new job providers to invest in our state, especially in Southwest Michigan.

Making our state a more competitive environment for jobs and improving government efficiency by cutting unnecessary red tape are vital steps to spur business investment and job creation.

I am enthusiastic that the governor is moving to a ‘customer-focused’ approach to state departments.

I called for this reform two years ago as chair of a House task force on job creation. It is a way to help bring job creators to Michigan while also improving overall effectiveness of state government, and I thank the governor for embracing the idea.

I look forward to working with the governor to continue the efforts to revitalize our economy, create jobs and set Michigan on the fiscally sound path to long-term growth.

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Looking for a Job? Visit the New Jobs and Talent Website

If you are looking for work, there is a new tool available to help: A state jobs and career website that offers assistance in finding a new job or preparing for a new career.

I strongly encourage all unemployed or underemployed Southwest Michigan workers to take advantage of this valuable resource, especially the site’s job portal and talent bank.

Residents may visit the Pure Michigan Talent Connect website at www.MiTalent.org. The one- stop shop offers three key sections for visitors trying to find a job, employers looking to hire and workers exploring new career and educational options.

As anyone who has had to transfer into a new career knows, the task of determining what field best fits their experience is intimidating.

In addition to being a wonderful means to connect job seekers with employers, the webpage has a career matchmaker that is designed to help match individuals with the industries that best utilize their skills.

Other useful information highlighted on the MiTalent site include materials specific to entrepreneurs and veterans, such as the Pure Michigan Mentor Network, small business resources, Military Skills Translator and veterans job search sites.

Michigan’s unemployment rate recently dropped more than any state in the nation. The news is promising, but we must continue to improve our economy so that Southwest Michigan residents who want to work can find a good-paying job.

Helping to create jobs is only part of the solution; connecting jobs seekers with employers is also important. And that is what this site has been designed to do.

Martin Luther King Jr. Transformed a Nation

A brave man once said: “On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”

He was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We remember him this week as a great man who stood for something greater than himself, and as a humble man who listened to his conscience, and took a courageous stand that transformed a nation.

At a time when African American children were banned from going to the same schools as white children, Dr. King had a dream of a day when people would be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.

Today, it is difficult for a young person to fully grasp the challenges he faced. That may be a testament to the strides we’ve made in fully achieving his dream.

Dr. King also said that “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. King believed in the founding principle that all men are created equal.

This Martin Luther King Day, let us remember him has a man of faith who saw injustice and sought to right it, knowing that his efforts would likely cost him his life. While his life was ended much too soon, his spirit and ideals will live forever.