Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Economic Dev't, Health Centers, 2 Big Endorsements and Election Update

This week, we learned that Sue Pigg, our Economic Development Director, resigned to take another job. Sue has been an asset to Ingham County and our economic development efforts. She has lead the Brownfield board and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Board. Recently, she worked with the EDC to look at applications for the federal bonds that we were given to disburse. She and the EDC did an excellent job taking the priorities of the Commissioners and scoring applications to ensure that the bond dollars were appropriately distributed. Sue will be missed.

This does open up an opportunity, though, to look at county economic development efforts and how we can ramp them up. I have some ideas about this and look forward to the committee meetings to discuss how we can better provide business attraction and retention in Ingham County. Commissioner Brian McGrain and I have especially been interested in assessing options available to the county and the Commissioners, and we both hope to explore this moving forward.

The Human Services Committee and Finance committees next week will start exploring a community needs assessment for Ingham County’s Community Health Centers in anticipation of imminent new funding opportunities. Because Ingham County’s network of Community Health Centers became full Federally Qualified Health Centers last year (they had previously been “look-alikes”), the County has a number of new funding opportunities from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). With these funding opportunities come some additional requirements. Going forward, applications for funding must be accompanied by community needs assessments that justify the requests and form the basis for the Health Center’s strategic plans. The resolution to be discussed will authorize a partnership with Public Sector Consultants to conduct and write a community needs assessment. While I am not on the Human Services committee, I serve on the Finance committee and look forward to discussion of this item when that committee meets.

On the campaign trail, I had two very important groups endorsing me in my primary election this week. I have already been endorsed by the neighborhood leaders in each of my neighborhood organizations, the Ingham County Democratic Party, the Ingham County Young Democrats, labor (UAW, AFL-CIO, MEA, IBEW, Plumbers and Pipefitters, etc), all Democratic elected officials that have endorsed, and others. This week, though, I have added two more groups to the endorsement mix.

The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce has endorsed my candidacy. I have worked well with them, and I was one of only two Ingham County Commission candidates to be endorsed. In their press release, they said I share their views for “the need for sound fiscal, tax and regulatory policies at the state and local levels.” It is an honor to be recognized by the 900 hundred businesses in the Lansing area and 1,400 businesses in the tri-county area for my record and for my plans for the future. It is also wonderful that I am endorsed by both labor and business in Ingham County.

Michigan NOW has also given me a pre-primary endorsement. The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of women activists in the United States. NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control and reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society. I am honored to be one of two Commissioners in Ingham County to receive their endorsement.

I have accepted an invite to attend a debate in my county commission race organized by HOMTV which will be on live TV. Unfortunately, my opponent declined to participate in this debate. I also have provided my thoughts on issues and my record to the Lansing State Journal for their Voter Guide. My opponent did not respond to this request from the LSJ. I am happy to participate in these voter-information tools, and will continue to talk to voters and constituents at neighborhood meetings and door-to-door about my record and priorities for the county (in addition to this County Blog, of course).

20 days to go in the campaign, then we get to start focusing on the budget (and $7-8 million deficit) for 2011!

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