Proactive Steps in 2012 About Creating Jobs Protecting Children

Concussion Bill SigningAs we look forward to 2013, it is a time to reflect upon 2012. Just as with our families, when we look at our state we celebrate the milestones and ponder where to improve.

The proactive solutions we achieved in 2012 are helping to revitalize our economy and attract job creators to Michigan. We removed the barriers to competition that were hurting Southwest Michigan small businesses and again passed a state budget that provided essential services while living within our means.

As a result, our children will have more opportunities for education and employment; more freedom; and more protections from harm.

Retailers and pharmacies are now consulting an online tracking system before selling products containing pseudoephedrine, which is commonly used to make methamphetamine. The effect was that millions of dollars of meth production was blocked while families were still able to get needed cold medications.

To ensure that the health of young athletes is always the top priority, my concussion initiative was signed. It sets guidelines on when an injured child can return to play and creates an awareness program to help train and educate coaches, parents and athletes. We also enacted “Erin’s Law” to help prevent child sexual abuse by ensuring children have age-appropriate education to recognize and talk about abuse.

We have accomplished much in the past two years to transform and reenergize Michigan, but more remains to be done. I will continue to listen to the people about the challenges we face and learn about innovative ideas to improve our state. Together I am positive that we can build upon the achievements of 2012 and make 2013 a year of greater prosperity and opportunity.

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Merry Chirstmas to All!

I would like to wish each of you a Merry Christmas. I hope you all are able to spend the holidays with family and friends as you look forward to a new year full of possibilities.  I am truly blessed to be able to gather with my family, whose love and support gives me the strength to make the tough decisions to build a better Michigan.

Looking back at 2012, I am proud of what we accomplished to continue Michigan’s positive momentum toward recovery and prosperity.

As a result of our proactive approach, we have more jobs, a better economic outlook and a more fiscally sound budget than when I took office nearly two years ago.

My focus continues to be identifying and enacting innovative ideas to give all Michigan residents more opportunities and more freedom.

This year these solutions included enhancing education options and support, standing up for small business job providers, helping our farmers and giving all Michigan workers the freedom to choose. I am ready to start 2013 rechargedwith positive energy to build upon our accomplishments of more jobs and renewed liberty for everyone in Southwest Michigan.

This holiday season, I encourage you to send a letter of support and thanks to the men and women serving our country overseas who cannot be with their families for Christmas. It is a simple way to make their holiday a little brighter. You may mail your letters to:

Blue Star Mothers;
P.O.Box 76
Stevensville, MI 49127.

Merry Christmas to you and your family, and have a happy and healthy New Year. God Bless.

Freedom-to-Choose Will Protect Worker Rights, Attract New Jobs

JobsMichigan took a large step toward ensuring workplace fairness and attracting job creators to our state by approving legislation to make Michigan a freedom-to-choose state.

I have long supported workplace fairness and am proud to help bring it to Michigan. It means a brighter state future with more jobs, robust economic growth and workers who can decide for themselves what to do with their hard-earned dollars.

Everyone should have the freedom to choose what organizations they do or do not join or financially support.

This reform is about protecting that choice for our workers. People will still be able to be a part of a union and collectively bargain. But just as workers will be able to choose to participate in a union, they will now have the ability to choose not to.

Freedom-to-choose is important for Southwest Michigan. It will help us compete with Indiana for jobs and give us a competitive advantage over the rest of the states in the region.

Since Indiana enacted their freedom-to-choose law in February, nearly 100 businesses have told Indiana officials that the workplace fairness law will factor into their decision on where to locate projects.

Freedom-to-choose is already having an impact in Indiana and has proven effective in creating jobs in many states for decades. It is time we bring the worker and economic benefits of freedom-to-choose to Michigan.

Workplace fairness is about helping everyone in Michigan: When our economy thrives, everyone benefits.

We have made great strides in the last few years to make Michigan competitive for jobs, and freedom-to-choose is another tool to help build a strong economy so our children and grandchildren can choose to live, work and raise a family in Michigan.

Michigan Right-to-Work Laws Spark Heated Debate on Role of Labor Unions

PBS

Christina Bellantoni and Terence Burlji

State lawmakers will hold a vote Tuesday to approve a pair of bills that would make Michigan the 24th right-to-work state in the country, a move Republican supporters of the change say would boost the economy. At the core of the issue is whether labor unions can automatically collect dues from members through their paychecks.

The scene — with its boisterous protests in the Capitol building in Lansing and a Republican governor at the helm — resembles the fight over labor rights that played out last year in Wisconsin.

President Obama waded into the battle Monday during a visit to the Daimler Diesel plant in Redford, where he told the crowd of auto workers that he stood with those who opposed the right-to-work legislation.

“What we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions,” Mr. Obama said. “These so-called right-to-work laws, they don’t have to do with economics; they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”

Organized labor was a key part of the president’s coalition in November, with union households nationally backing Mr. Obama over Mitt Romney by a 58 percent to 40 percent margin. In Michigan the spread was even larger, with the president winning homes with union members, 66 percent to 33 percent.

Labor activists, who gathered outside the Capitol at dawn, are asking Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to veto the measure when it passes, or to at least delay the passage of the bill to allow for more public comment.

On Monday’s NewsHour, Gwen Ifill talked with Democratic Rep. Sander Levin and Michigan State Sen. John Proos, a Republican. They sparred over what the changes would mean for their state’s economy.

Levin argued that the measure is “divisive” and insisted it would “snuff out the voice in the workplace, to destroy collective bargaining that made the middle class of Michigan and this country.”

Proos said one only needs to look to neighboring Indiana to see the benefits of becoming a right-to-work state. “[I]t’s important that we give workers that freedom to choose what they think is best for them and their representation, instead of paying that private industry, that private union that is instead providing what is in some cases a subpar service,” he said. “You ought to be buying a service that in fact you believe in and you believe is going to represent you well; 17 percent of Michigan are union folks today; 17 percent will be union tomorrow.”

Watch here.

Program to Give 18,000 Christmas Trees to Military Families

Trees 4 Troops 2012It is the mission of Trees for Troops to give every family of America’s service men and women a wonderful Christmas morning that begins with gathering around an American- growth Christmas tree.

As a program of the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, Trees for Troops will deliver approximately 18,000 Christmas trees this year, with a majority of those going to military families at 62 bases from every branch of the armed services.

I recently assisted National Guard members and other volunteers at Wahmhoff Tree Farm in Gobles to help pack and ship Christmas trees.

Wahmhoff Farms every year contributes more than 100 trees to the Trees for Troops program, and this year’s trees are heading to families in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Since 2005, Trees for Troops has provided 103,186 Christmas trees to military families and troops, and the success of the program is rooted in the generosity of volunteers and supporters. Each year individuals and businesses, like Wahmhoff Farms and Fedex, who donate trees, coordinate shipping, or make contributions help bring holiday joy to thousands of deserving service men and women and their families.

If you were not able to make it out for Trees for Troops loading day, you can always support the program through a tax-deductible donation. For more information on the program, or to make donation, visit www.treesfortroops.org.

Visitors to the website can also view photos and video of the program and leave a message for the troops.