Download images to view this photo

Dear Friends:

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and provide updates about what is going on at Michigan’s Capitol.

I am the state senator for the 18th District – covering all of Barry County and parts of Allegan, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and Ionia counties. Please feel free to contact me with any issues related to state government at [email protected], or by calling 517-373-1734 (toll-free at 855-347-8018).


Download graphics to view this image

Thomas Albert
State Senator

Office hours scheduled for Allegan and Barry counties

I plan to host local office hours on Friday, Feb. 23., in two locations:

• 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Hastings City Hall, Council Chambers, 201 E. State St. in Hastings.
• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Biggby Coffee, 1114 W. Superior St. in Wayland.

Office hours are open to district residents to talk about issues related to state government or to request assistance with a state issue. No appointment is necessary, but space may be limited at some locations. Priority will be given to constituents seeking to discuss issues requiring privacy or individual attention.

Office hours in other 18th District locations will be scheduled at a later date.

Download images to view this photo

Fighting for a sustainable and responsible state budget

Another state budget planning cycle began this week with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive recommendation for the 2024-25 fiscal year. The Legislature will review this proposal, and create budget plans of its own, before coming up with a final budget over the next several months.

There is a lot to digest in a budget proposal that would cost more than $80 billion and will take hundreds of pages to detail once it is put into bill form in the Legislature. But I want to highlight a very important difference in approach from the start.

I have spent years working to reduce the debt in our state employee retirement systems, and we are starting to make progress. The goal is to ensure the retirement plans are sustainable at a fiscally responsible cost to taxpayers. Paying off debt earlier rather than later saves money for taxpayers in the long run and overall because it reduces interest costs. It also prevents the irresponsible passing along of debt to our kids.

These debt reduction reforms have had bipartisan support because it’s the financially prudent thing to do. While we have made great strides in paying off debt in the school retiree health care system, the school employee pension system still has an estimated $38 billion in unfunded liabilities. The goal is to pay off this debt and be fully funded by 2038.

But now Gov. Whitmer wants to reverse course. She has proposed diverting $670 million, which should be used to pay off school employee pension debt, and instead spend it to expand government programs in the upcoming fiscal year. This move would require a change in state law because of provisions I crafted to protect against money-hungry politicians raiding retirement funds. It can’t be done without legislative approval, and I will urge colleagues to oppose her plan. You can watch my Senate floor statement on this proposal here.

This reckless proposal is evidence of a state government addicted to spending. Gov. Whitmer is spending virtually all of a $9 billion budget surplus in the current budget cycle. With that surplus gone and pandemic-era federal aid disappearing, she is turning to other places to find cash in the next budget cycle. The governor has also indicated that she interprets the recent income tax rate reduction as temporary and applying to 2023 only, which will cost taxpayers an additional $700 million this year.

This approach does a disservice to Michigan taxpayers.

Free fishing weekend is almost here

Michigan’s annual winter Free Fishing Weekend is Feb. 17-18. All fishing license fees are waived, and vehicles can enter state parks and use boating sites without a Recreation Passport.

Residents and out-of-state visitors can enjoy fishing on both inland lakes and the Great Lakes for all species of fish. All fishing regulations still apply. Visit for information on special events and activities.

American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but there is a lot we can do to change that by taking better care of ourselves.

February is American Heart Month. Try making a few small changes for a healthier heart:

• Get more sleep. Aim for seven hours or more every night. More sleep can lower stress levels and increase energy levels.
• Eat better. Adding more color to your plate is an easy way to be sure you’re eating enough fruits and vegetables. Every bit helps, whether fresh, frozen, canned or dried.
• Get enough physical activity. Simply adding 30 minutes of movement to your day can improve your heart and your mind.

Michigan 211

With temperatures falling and inflation rates rising, many in Michigan may find themselves in need of help. Michigan 211 is part of a national system of organizations that connect residents with services in their local area.

At Michigan 211, highly trained specialists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can contact one of the seven regional contact centers across the state by dialing 211 from a phone or by texting the zip code where help is needed to 898211. The Michigan 211 website also has a chat feature and search options to allow residents to search for service providers in their area.

Last year, Michigan 211 helped more than 500,000 people connect with more than 40,000 services, including utility assistance, emergency housing or shelter, food, legal services, healthcare, substance abuse, mental health assistance, and more. For more information, visit Michigan 211.

Michigan's 18th Senate District

Download images to view this photo

Senator Thomas A. Albert
4500 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Visit my website at:

Privacy Policy   |   Unsubscribe