Dear Michigan LCV Family,
Welcome to the March 31, 2022 edition of Three Things Thursday! This week’s Three Things focus on the work Michigan LCV did to get historic investments in our water across the finish line, the amazing Michigan LCV board, and a brand new member of our staff.
1. Michigan LCV’s work to get Senate Bill 565 passed
The Michigan LCV team is still riding high after the Michigan Legislature passed Senate Bill 565 with broad bipartisan support last week, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the bill into law on Wednesday, finalizing the sweeping investments.
The historic legislation – which was expanded from an originally proposed $3.3 billion to $4.7 billion – will make a transformational difference in Michigan’s drinking water and water infrastructure, state and local parks, and much more.
The vast majority of the $4.7 billion will come from federal funding from the American Rescue Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). I invite you to check out last week’s edition of Three Things Thursday for a full breakdown of the investments.
As SB 565 moved across the finish line, my colleagues and I took a step back to reflect on the significance of the bill’s passage. This is not only a critically important investment in the health and well-being of Michigan communities, it’s an enormous sign that when the people of this great state speak up about issues that matter to them, lawmakers in Lansing are compelled to act, breaking the partisan stranglehold that prevents so many important bills from passing.
Please know that for the Michigan LCV team, this bill has been of paramount importance for months. Our advocacy around Senate Bill 565 spanned across every facet of our organization:
- Our Communications team executed a layered strategy to raise awareness and build support amongst our members and the public.
- Our State Government Affairs team advocated for these investments in Lansing, working with lawmakers and making sure this was a top priority for the members of the legislature.
- Our Advocacy & Outreach (A&O) team led the charge in getting our members and countless volunteers involved, running phone banks and providing voters all across the state with ways to make their voices heard. Hundreds of calls were made into Lansing offices, making clear to elected officials that Michiganders care deeply about the protection of our drinking water and communities.
- Our leadership team spent countless hours working with the Governor’s office, Senator Bumstead – the lead sponsor of the original SB 565 – and House Minority Leader Lasinski.
This bipartisan bill, which the Governor’s team is now calling the Build Michigan Together Plan, not only tackles the overhaul of our drinking water infrastructure, but invests in much-needed improvements to our stormwater and wastewater infrastructure so we can ensure Michigan communities are more resilient to the impacts of the climate crisis. Cities, townships and counties all across the state will feel the impact of this plan, with special focus on places that have been disproportionately hit with the horror of water challenges like Flint, Oscoda, and Benton Harbor.
I know I’ve said this, but I’m going to say it again: the passage of this legislation is historic. I am so proud of our team and the work we did to get SB 565 across the finish line. I truly believe that this would not have happened without the dedication and diligence of the Michigan LCV team.
I encourage you to take a minute to thank the Governor for her work to protect our water. The negotiations around this plan were long and arduous. We have a one-step advocacy tool you can use to send Gov. Whitmer a message thanking her for investing to protect our drinking water and the health of our communities for years to come.
Also, guess what? The Governor is going to be our guest tomorrow on 1st Friday Focus on the Environment, the once-a-month radio show I am privileged to co-host with David Fair on WEMU 89.1 FM. David and I will be joined by Gov. Whitmer tomorrow morning at 6:48 AM to discuss Senate Bill 565 – or in the Governor’s terms, the Building Michigan Together Plan — its historic investments and the importance of protecting Michigan’s water. I invite you to tune in!
2. The amazing Michigan LCV board
The Michigan LCV family of organizations is extremely lucky to have not only an all-star team of staff who work diligently each day on the issues that matter most, but also two incredible boards of directors for Michigan LCV and the Michigan LCV Education Fund. Each and every member brings immense value and expertise to our work, the identity of our organizations, and our plans for the future.
One of our many board member “rockstars” is Kerry Duggan who sits on the Michigan LCV Board and was recently named a “2022 Notable Leader in Sustainability” by Crain’s Detroit Business.
This year is the first year that Crain’s Detroit Business released a list of notable leaders in the sustainability space, a list that was compiled to celebrate individuals like Kerry, elevating both their individual work and the overall importance of the sustainability sector in an increasingly climate-impacted world.
Kerry could not be a more fitting sustainability champion. Along with being a Michigan LCV board member, Kerry is the CEO of SustainabiliD, a graduate of SEAS, and she helped found the SEAS Sustainability Clinic in Detroit. Before returning to her hometown of Detroit, Kerry worked in Washington, D.C. in the U.S. Department of Energy during the Obama administration as the stakeholder engagement director for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and served as deputy director of policy for then-Vice President Joe Biden.
The experience, knowledge, and perspectives that Kerry brings to the Michigan LCV board are invaluable additions to our work and our impact. Congratulations, Kerry, on this important recognition!
3. New Michigan LCV team member spotlight: Ross Harris
The Michigan LCV team has been looking for talented, dedicated individuals to join our team in a variety of different roles over the past several months. I am excited to welcome Ross Harris to the Michigan LCV family!
Ross joins Michigan LCV as our new part-time Southeast Michigan Regional Organizer, bringing valuable community organizing experience to our Advocacy & Outreach (A&O) team. Driven by a deep belief in community-based power coming from informed and organized people, Ross has committed himself over the past 13 years to just that. His work as a housing counselor, community organizer and activist is also infused with deep focus on racial equity and justice, which is what drew him, in part, to the position at Michigan LCV.
Ross is a proud Detroiter and earned his degree at Wayne State University. I am thrilled that Ross has decided to join the Michigan LCV team. Welcome, Ross!
As I say every week, thank you so much for your support of our work. What we do matters a lot and we could never do it without you!