Three Things Thursday: February 9, 2023

Three Things Thursday: February 9, 2023

Dear Michigan LCV Family, 

Welcome to the February 9, 2023 edition of Three Things Thursday!

This week’s Three Things includes a look at Governor Whitmer’s 2023-2024 state budget proposal, my recent 1st Friday Focus on the Environment interview with Senator Stabenow, and Michigan LCV’s latest trip to Central Michigan University. Let’s jump in!

1. Whitmer announces 2023 state budget proposal  

Yesterday, Michigan LCV was in the Capitol’s new Heritage Hall with Governor Whitmer and her Executive Team as they unveiled her proposed 2023-2024 state budget. 

READ: Michigan LCV’s statement on Gov. Whitmer’s budget proposal

The good news is that Gov. Whitmer’s proposal –the largest proposed budget in state history due to massive federal investments made in 2022 and hot state sales and income taxes  – is comprised of meaningful investments in Michigan LCV’s ‘kitchen table’ issues, including funding for water affordability programs, clean energy infrastructure, contaminated site cleanup, Proposal 2 implementation, replacement of lead drinking water service lines, and more. 

Here are some highlights from Gov. Whitmer’s proposed budget: 

  • $225.8 million for lead service line replacement, $26 million of which is “ongoing”
  • $100 million for environmental justice contaminated site cleanup, $50 million of which would go toward reducing environmental health burdens within communities located close to sources of pollution
  • $43 million for energy grid resilience, and $41.5 million for a renewable-ready community program to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and resilient infrastructure
  • $65 million to deploy EV charging stations in public and at home, and to roll out accessible commercial chargers 
  • $55 million for state and local fleets to move to clean and electric fuel sources
  • $45 million over two years to temporarily suspend the state sales tax on electric vehicles on the first 40,000 of their purchase price 
  • $150 million in matching grants for electric school buses
  • $100 million for weatherization and home repairs 
  • $300 million for school health and efficiency upgrades; making air quality and energy efficiency improvements through new HVAC, on-site renewable energy, electrification, drinking water system upgrades and more.
  • $31 million for groundwater mapping and data, and $25 million for dam removal
  • $64 million to provide the required match for the construction of the Brandon Locks to prevent the desolation of the Great Lakes ecosystem by invasive carp and other aquatic nuisance species 
  • $4 million to send every 4th grader into nature, and $43 million to upgrade Belle Isle State Park

As you know, Michigan LCV has been working diligently over the past many years to highlight the importance of meaningful investments in water, climate action and public health while underscoring the direct benefits such investments will make in the lives of Michiganders. By investing in our communities to expand clean energy, ensure clean, safe, affordable drinking water, and create good-paying jobs in these fields, we can put money back in Michiganders’ pockets.

Michigan LCV looks forward to working with the Legislature in the coming months to strengthen and potentially expand upon the Governor’s budget.  By capitalizing on these investments, we can create a vibrant economy and a healthy Michigan. Imagine that!  

Stay tuned for more information on the budget in the days ahead. We will be circling back on all of this! 

2. A great interview with Senator Stabenow

Last Friday, WEMU’s David Fair and I were honored to have Senator Debbie Stabenow as our special guest for our monthly 1st Friday Focus on the Environment radio show. 

LISTEN: 1st Friday Focus on the Environment: MI Senator Debbie Stabenow discusses her priorities over the next two years. 

Senator Stabenow surprised Michiganders in early January with the announcement that she does not intend to seek reelection in 2024.  After a  lifetime of public service – which began with election to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners at age 24 and continued through her tenure in the state House, the state Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate – Sen. Stabenow said she has been, “… inspired by a new generation of leaders” leading her to  “pass the torch.” 

One of my favorite photos with Sen. Stabenow (left), Sen. Gary Peters (middle) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (right) in 2014!

In our time together last Friday, Sen. Stabenow reflected on her proudest accomplishments and talked about the priorities she is focused on in her final two years in office. As you can imagine, Great Lakes protection, climate change and healthy families were a focal point of our discussion given the Senator’s deep understanding of and commitment to this remarkable state and the people who live here. 

As Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Stabenow will be leading the charge this year in drafting a revamped version of the (every five year) Farm Bill, one of the largest bills across all sectors in Congress.  During our conversation, our senior senator emphasized the protection of climate-smart and conservation investments in this year’s bill as a top priority before she leaves office. 

The 2023 Farm Bill is a top priority for Michigan LCV and, notably, our Federal Government Affairs team.  This important bill determines, in large part, our nation’s food and agriculture policies, and also plays a lead role in protecting our land and water and creating economic opportunities in both rural and urban areas. 

As the second most diverse agricultural state in the nation (after California), the drafting of this bill matters immensely.  Senator Stabenow has been a champion in ensuring the evolution of the bill to include measures that address the impact of agricultural runoff into our waterways (which creates toxic algae in our lakes and rivers), tackling climate change, and addressing the fresh food and nutrition disparities that plague our nation. 

The Senate Agriculture Committee held its first hearing of 2023 two weeks ago, so the process is underway. Please consider adding your name to this sign-on letter supporting Sen. Stabenow’s efforts to protect $20 billion in conservation and climate funding (which originated in the Inflation Reduction Act) in the next iteration of the Farm Bill. 

More on this important topic in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the WEMU 89.1 FM 1st Friday Focus on the Environment radio interview.  It’s a good one!

3. Michigan LCV at Central Michigan University

A couple weeks ago, two of our wonderful teammates – Ethan Petzold and Logan Vorce – returned to their alma mater, Central Michigan University, to represent our organization and our work at CMU’s Nonprofit and Government Internship and Job Fair.

Ethan and Logan pictured at the Michigan LCV table during the fair.

Their outreach was part of Michigan LCV’s focus on bringing more young people into the movement and our  work to protect Michigan’s land, air, water, climate, public health, and democracy. (See this recent edition of Three Things for more information.)  I’m delighted to say that Michigan LCV has successfully engaged with students at the University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University and, now, Central Michigan University, and the response has been incredible!

Ethan and Logan were excited to return to their alma mater, but they had no idea that they’d be welcomed so enthusiastically.  CMU went to great lengths to celebrate their graduates: both our teammates were featured prominently on poster/bus stop ads around campus! Check this out: 

Logan posing next to a Central Michigan ad she is featured in!

Ethan also found himself pictured on a CMU poster!

During their visit, Ethan and Logan had a chance to talk with students about all of our programs, but notably the Our Water Activist (OWA) program, which began a few years ago and is an excellent opportunity for young people to learn what it takes to become a strong advocate for clean, safe drinking water, climate change and other key issues.  

Thank you, Ethan and Logan, for your hard work and for being such fantastic ambassadors for Michigan LCV! We look forward to having our other CMU graduates return to campus, like Amani Johnson, our SE Michigan Regional Coordinator (who just joined our team this month and was featured in last week’s Three Things Thursday) and Rodney Austin, our Democracy For All voting rights organizer, who is pursuing a CMU degree in psychology.  

Until next week, please stay safe, healthy and dry (it’s pouring in SE Michigan!). Thank you for your amazing support of our work! 



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