Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the June 3, 2021 edition of Three Things Thursday! This week’s edition of Three Things includes a look at our team’s recent work on climate change and clean, safe water in conjunction with the American Jobs Plan; Michigan LCV’s amazing volunteer program and the people who make it all possible; and a Michigan LCV summer preview.
1. Michigan LCV’s State-Federal Protect Our Water – Change the Climate Initiative
One of Michigan LCV’s top priorities over the past several months has been our work promoting and building support for climate, water, and clean energy initiatives on both the state and federal level. Specifically, our team has been engaged with both state and national partners to build widespread support for President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which seeks to overhaul our nation’s infrastructure while creating clean energy jobs and tackling the climate crisis.
The $2.3 trillion infrastructure and clean energy plan is exactly what the country needs as we slowly emerge from a global pandemic and get our economy back on track. By investing in transportation and energy infrastructure, the plan will address the immediate economic needs of Americans, addressing decades of disinvestment that have left our water pipes, roads and bridges in complete disrepair and investing in a bright, clean energy future.
It is important to note that the American Jobs Plan coincides incredibly well with what Michigan’s elected leaders have been pursuing in terms of addressing water infrastructure and climate change here in our home state. Gov. Whitmer’s MI Clean Water and MI Healthy Climate Plans mirror much of what is encapsulated in the Biden administration’s proposed investments. These intersections are key parts of what our team has been working to highlight and amplify as we build support for the American Jobs Plan and what it could mean for Michigan.
One of the key ways we have been promoting the American Jobs Plan and state-federal climate action has been through the great work of our Political & Outreach team. They have been spearheading phone banks and reaching out to residents all across Michigan as we focus on building a base of support for members of our Congressional delegation. Our Outreach team has been working diligently to encourage Michigan residents to call their lawmakers and let them know why their support for the American Jobs Plan would help Michigan’s economy and protect future generations. Just last week, on the cusp of a very busy Memorial Day Weekend, our team connected more than 60 people to lawmakers’ offices!
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) was quoted in the story stating his support and optimism around the plan, and emphasizing the much-needed investment in lead pipe replacement in protecting human health and our drinking water. The American Jobs Plan proposes spending $45 billion to replace millions of lead service lines across America. At this point, the plan put forth by the Republicans has no money specifically for lead pipe removal.
“I talked to the president about lead pipes about a week ago and he was absolutely insistent we’re going to get rid of every lead pipe in America,” — Congressman Dan Kildee.
Another piece of our work has been media and communications, spreading the word far and wide on social media and online. Last week, Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO, and I co-authored an opinion piece that was published in the Dearborn Press & Guide, focusing on how the American Jobs Plan will benefit Michigan and our communities. What we emphasized was the importance of the moment we find ourselves in right now, and the opportunity that we have in front of us to create meaningful, lasting change for our economy and the future of our planet. Michigan specifically is at a crossroads and has an enormous opportunity to put a major down payment on the rebuilding of our infrastructure (which has been ignored for decades), invest in renewable energy, and tackle the climate crisis simultaneously. I would be honored if you would read the full editorial when you have a chance.
Another key piece of our communication work has been the publication of a brand new weekly update on what is happening in Washington! The Michigan LCV Washington Weekly includes information on key pieces of legislation, like the American Jobs Plan, as well as perspective on what action at the federal level could/will mean for Michigan. You can check out this week’s Washington Weekly here.
Finally, we have a number of exciting virtual events scheduled over the next several weeks, all focused on the American Jobs Plan. Next Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 5 PM, for example, we will be hosting a special installment in our 2021 People, Planet, Public Health webinar series, featuring special guests Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Director of Public Engagement for the White House Council on Environmental Quality David Kieve, and Michigan Alliance for Justice in Climate (MAJIC) Manager Ryan ‘Rei’ Fielder. You can register for the virtual event here. Please join us!
2. What is Michigan LCV’s volunteer program all about?
Over the past several years, Michigan LCV has successfully built a robust, amazing volunteer program, engaging people from all across Michigan on the issues that matter most to them. This work would not be possible without our incredible Political & Outreach team.
In recent months, the Outreach team has started a new program for those who want to become more involved. It’s called Our Water Activists Program. This growing number of “super volunteers” work alongside our team, learning key organizing and community engagement skills and serving as amazing, trustworthy liaisons into communities north to south and east to west.
I’d like to share a special video we put together in appreciation of all of our amazing volunteers who adjusted with our new reality during the COVID-19 Pandemic and continued to stay engaged safely and virtually.
Here’s a look at one of the Our Water activists: Lauren May, a high school student from Traverse City, has been volunteering enthusiastically with Michigan LCV for months. Lauren found her way to our work and the Our Water program due to her concern about the climate crisis and the threats to our Great Lakes and drinking water. We knew Lauren was outstanding in every way, and that was verified a few weeks ago when she got a perfect score on her SAT test and ended up in the Traverse City Record Eagle. True to form, Lauren graciously gave credit to ALL her teachers and referenced her Michigan LCV volunteerism in the interview:
“There isn’t a single teacher — zero — whom I can’t credit for some part of my success and interest in learning,” she said. “I wanted to prove, quantitatively, that they were effective and impactful to me.”
May goes into her senior year with a perfect SAT score in her back pocket. She said she’ll continue to run track and cross country and participate in band. She also is set to become one of the presidents of the SEA Club (Students for Environmental Advocacy) while volunteering with the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, which advocates for clean air and safe drinking water as basic needs.
We are so fortunate to have amazing volunteers like Lauren in our network. They make our deep community engagement possible….and they inspire us each and every day!
If you or someone you know would like to find out more about getting involved with Michigan LCV as a volunteer, please visit our website and fill out our volunteer form.
3. A Michigan LCV Summer Preview
It’s already June!? Well, here’s a quick snapshot of some of what the Michigan LCV team will be up to over these summer months.
We have a ton of activity in the works, but one of our key focal areas–no surprise!–will be both the American Rescue Plan and the American Jobs Plan as major federal investments that can, should and will transform our beautiful (but needy) state. Think “the replacement of aging infrastructure” and “energy transformation”; think “jobs” and “healthy communities”. That will be the focus of all our work over the next few months.
Stories from our team and our partners continue to be a focal point. Check out this great video produced by Climate Power featuring our friend Sen. Mallory McMorrow talking about how the American Jobs Plan can make Michigan the epicenter of the electric vehicle evolution.
Our communications team is actively collecting stories as we build momentum around the American Jobs Plan and bolster congressional support. Do you have a story you’d like to share about why you are excited about this transformational plan? Please reach out to Samantha Schubert at [email protected] who is leading our storytelling efforts on this project!
Relatedly, our Government Affairs team has been and will continue to work in Lansing to ensure that federal stimulus money is allocated to clean, safe, affordable water. Our Outreach team will be educating and mobilizing voters to make their voices heard on these plans (as noted above). And our Communications team will be making amazing videos, communicating via social media and providing our members with ways to make their voices heard.
As an early example of this summer work, our Government Affairs Associate, Hallie Fox, was recently featured in a Michigan Radio article, highlighting the importance of using these federal funds to tackle projects that matter for Michigan communities.
“With those incoming funds, we’re really realizing the opportunity to invest in our drinking water, put people back to work, and we’re doing it by capitalizing on what’s already in front of us and meeting the moment” – Hallie Fox
Another focus of our summer work will be the redistricting process and organizing to push back on the insidious efforts underway in Lansing to suppress the vote. As I’ve mentioned over the past few weeks, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is holding public hearings to gather public comment from communities of interest in regards to how new district maps (that will be used for the next decade) will be drawn. These public meetings are scheduled to run through the beginning of July, so our Democracy for All team is paying close attention to the process, raising awareness on social media, and engaging with partners and our followers to educate people about the Commission’s Redistricting Tool and how people can make their voices heard.
If you are interested in getting involved and voicing your opinion to the Commission, check out this short “how-to” video on the Redistricting Tool and the best ways to submit public comments.
On the legislative front, our Government Affairs and Democracy For All teams are going to be tracking important (and dangerous) legislation as it starts moving in Lansing this summer. The Michigan GOP attempts at “election reform” (AKA voter suppression) are expected to continue to see action in both the House and the Senate. Our team will continue to work on a coordinated response with our coalition of partners to fight back against these dangerous bills that threaten the freedom to vote and access to the ballot for Michiganders.
While Gov. Whitmer has said she will veto these bills if they land on her desk, we expect a GOP ballot measure (or several) to materialize later this summer in an attempt to circumvent the governor and institute measures that seriously undermine our democratic process.
Please stay tuned and be on the lookout for opportunities to engage with lawmakers in Lansing. We may need your support and will offer you a number of ways to make your voice heard.
As always, thank you for your trust. This is important work and we could never do it without you.
P.S. PFAS contamination in Oscoda
I thought you’d want to see this piece on PFAS contamination in Oscoda. It’s a scathing letter FROM the Editor in MLive entitled, The Air Force left an environmental bomb in Oscoda; its attitude since is another form of pollution.