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Point of View: State Senator Ken Horn and State Representative Kyra Bolden

Post-pandemic Michigan with Ken Horn State Senator (R – Frankenmuth) and Kyra Bolden Representative (D – Southfield)

How do you think the federal funding from the American Rescue Plan can be best used in Michigan?

Sen. Horn: In my role as chair of the Economic and Small Business Development Committee, we’re focused like a laser beam on addressing workforce and talent development needs. This COVID crisis magnified the issue of finding a skilled workforce. My intent is to use the federal dollars to overcome capital constraints to workforce and talent development whether it be lack of equipment, outdated technologies, accessibility and affordability of workforce housing or proper training for the future needs of the economy.

Rep. Bolden: The most important thing that the American Rescue Plan does is that it eases the financial burdens on individuals, families, tenants, landlords, and state, local, and tribal governments. By putting money in hands of individuals, increasing SNAP benefits, expanding childcare assistance, and helping renters with past due bills we will stabilize the economic free fall that families have endured the past 14 months and continue stimulating an economy depressed by COVID-19.

What is the key to positioning Michigan’s economy for success as we navigate the prolonged pandemic?

Sen. Horn: Three things – We need to incentivize jobs focused on mobility, we need to train our workforce accordingly and we need to turn the eyes of the world this way to show that Michigan continues to lead in the autonomous vehicle and electrification industry. There is no better place to design, test, and build those vehicles. My top funding priorities to achieve these goals are the Going PRO Talent Fund, Michigan Reconnect, and Pure Michigan.

Rep. Bolden: Women have been especially hard hit by this pandemic because it required working moms take on the extra jobs of teacher, principal, and tutor. By continuing to invest in a safe return to school and making full-time childcare more affordable, women shut out of the economy can finally be given the opportunity to rejoin the workforce. By making once-in-a-generation investments in schools and childcare through the ARP, we can ensure that working parents can fully engage in Michigan’s economic recovery.

What steps do we need to take to ensure Michigan is better prepared for the next pandemic or public health crisis?

Sen. Horn: Now that we’re coming to the tail end of this crisis, it’s important for the administration and the Legislature to work closely together to implement rules that we can all understand and abide by. I have a bill that would define, from the grassroots level, when we are beginning to see the potential outbreak of an epidemic and then an exit strategy to bring predictability for our people and our economy. I hope to work with my colleagues and the administration to see this through.

Rep. Bolden: One step is to focus on how racial disparities in public health manifested during this pandemic. Through the work of the COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities, we can ensure our healthcare system supports Michiganders of color, by increasing access to telehealth services and enrolling more people in affordable, quality health insurance plans. There’s also work to be done in medical training, which is why I worked alongside Governor Whitmer to pass rules requiring implicit bias training for healthcare professionals.

Ken Horn is a Republican representing Michigan’s 32nd Senate District

Kyra Bolden is a Democrat representing Michigan’s 35th House District.