Serving You in 2017
As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to update you on the progress we made this year. Over the past year, our focus has been on policies to improve the lives of Michigan families. Read below for a top 10 list of positive results.
As we enter the New Year, I look forward to continuing this important work and visiting your community. Thank you for the honor of serving on your behalf. I wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2018.
1. Providing First Class Constituent Services
From day one, providing first class constituent services has been a top priority. Throughout the year, we held a Job Fair, Senior Fair, and Veterans Fairs across the district to help cut through red tape and connect constituents with available resources in the community. Our dedicated casework team also helped resolve nearly 900 individual casework issues. Click here to watch a 2017 review video about our work this year to serve Michigan's 7th District.
2. Tackling the Opioid Epidemic
Throughout the year, as a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, I continued to meet and collaborate with health care professionals, law enforcement, and recovery groups to tackle the opioid epidemic. One key piece of our Task Force's legislative agenda is “Jessie’s Law,” a bipartisan bill I introduced with Rep. Debbie Dingell this year. I also testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee to share stories from Michigan and highlight legislative solutions like Jessie's Law.
3. Boosting Medical Research
Building off our important work in the 21st Century Cures Act, I helped champion the FDA Reauthorization Act, which President Trump signed into law in August. The law will help speed up the approval process for life-saving drugs, foster greater competition, and bring down costs for patients. It will also help ensure America remains on the forefront of medical innovation, and that good-paying jobs in the medical device industry remain here at home.
It was also inspiring to meet Brandon Martz and his family from Jackson County. With the help of the Dream Foundation, which fulfill dreams for terminally-ill young people and adults, Brandon and his family visited our nation's capital to raise awareness about Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Click here to learn more about Brandon's story.
4. Expanding Career and Technical Education
As a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, I helped advanced through the House bipartisan legislation to strengthen career and technical education (CTE). Expanding CTE is particularly important for Michigan, the heartland of American manufacturing, where high-skilled jobs are a vital component of our state's economy. Our bipartisan bill will help close the skills gap and increase opportunities for students and workers to secure the good-paying jobs of the future.
5. Promoting Affordable Energy
As member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I continued working to provide relief to the pocketbooks of Michigan families, while encouraging job creation and securing long-term energy security. In particular, I introduced bipartisan legislation with Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) to help reduce paperwork burdens and bring down energy prices, and I helped lead a bipartisan effort to strengthen the EPA's Brownfield Program.
6. Curbing Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuse
Under current civil forfeiture law, the system is ripe for abuse and has undermined the constitutional rights of far too many Americans. We should not accept a system where the government can seize innocent people’s property without charging them with a crime. Along with introducing comprehensive reforms with the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act, I also successfully passed a bipartisan amendment with Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) that reins in the federal government’s power to seize private property without due process.
7. Combating Human Trafficking
The growing number of human trafficking cases is alarming and more needs to be done to end this form of modern-day slavery. The House passed my bipartisan bill to strengthen our ability to detect and respond to patterns of labor exploitation, assist victims, and properly refer cases to law enforcement so perpetrators can be brought to justice. I also helped advance bipartisan legislation to support efforts of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to recover missing children and support youth who are the victims of violent crimes.
8. Helping and Honoring our Heroes
The men and women who serve in harm's way to defend our freedoms are owed an immeasurable debt. It is our duty to uphold our commitments to them. This year, we enacted a sweeping expansion of the GI Bill, a landmark law to reform and improve care at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the largest pay raise for our troops in eight years. This year, it was also a privilege to hold a number of Vietnam pinning ceremonies and help obtain long overdue service medals for veterans and their families.
9. Protecting the Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a magnificent national and natural treasure, and we have a responsibility to preserve them for generations to come. This year, I successfully fought to protect funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, introduced bipartisan legislation to combat harmful algae blooms, and took action to prevent Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes.
10. Supporting Jobs and Small Businesses
Small businesses are the foundation of a healthy economy, and throughout the year, I traveled to cities and towns across the district to hear from local job creators. I also teamed up with Facebook for an event to help boost small businesses in our area. In the House, I advanced policies to cut their taxes, reduce excessive regulations, and help our local businesses and manufacturers expand and create jobs.