Bringing people together

The people of Michigan have been through a lot during this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. We in the Legislature have a responsibility to all of them to overcome our divisions and come together to defeat the coronavirus, build back our economy, improve their lives and restore their trust in government.

During his inaugural address last month, President Joe Biden focused on the theme of uniting together. He said, “To overcome these challenges — to restore the soul and to secure the future of America — requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity.”

Our country was founded on the idea that “We the People” have the power to choose our leaders. Key to that principle is that after the people’s voices are heard, we have an orderly and peaceful transfer of power. As we welcome a new president, we must unite as a nation for the good of our people, our republic and liberty throughout the world. We are still facing historic challenges, and I wish President Biden success in working together to meet our challenges and improve the lives of all Americans.

Gov. Whitmer also talked about working together in her State of the State address, in which she said that we need to “focus on what unites us” and that her “mission is to find common ground, so we can emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.”

I wholeheartedly agree with the president and the governor that we need to unite as a country and as a state. It is what our people expect and deserve.

I remain committed to working with the governor to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Michigan families. We owe it to the people to restore their voice in government decisions that will have both short- and long-term effects on them and their way of life.

Only by uniting as state leaders on addressing the enormous issues facing our state can we effectively and safely get through this pandemic, protect our people from the virus, support our local businesses and workers, ensure our students are prepared for success, attract new talent and job providers to our state, and emerge better and stronger at the end.

Our state and nation have faced great and grave challenges in the past. Each time we rallied around each other to meet the challenge and improve our communities.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Answering that question has been a driving force that has guided me during my more than three decades in public service in local and state government, and it will continue to lead my efforts to work with leaders on both sides of the aisle to improve the lives of families in Monroe and Lenawee counties and throughout Michigan.