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Dear Friends,

To better serve you, I am offering this e-newsletter on what’s happening in the 30th Senate District and across our state.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions about any of the content discussed in this e-newsletter or if I can be of assistance to you or your family. You may call toll-free at 1-855-347-8030 or email [email protected]. Also, please check out my Facebook page. Let me know if I can assist you in any way or if you have an idea to help move our state forward.

Working for you,

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Mark Huizenga
State Senator

Cracking down on fentanyl

The tragic consequences of our failed federal policies have resulted in thousands of deaths caused by fentanyl — many right here in West Michigan. As we wait for the federal government to do its job, we as a state can take commonsense, bipartisan steps right now to crack down hard on fentanyl traffickers and dealers in Michigan.

I recently introduced legislation to help save lives and solve this growing problem that’s hurting our country. We can do our part to help safeguard families and protect our communities from fentanyl and other dangerous drugs.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, illicit fentanyl is primarily manufactured and smuggled into the U.S. through Mexico. Fentanyl is mixed with other drugs to increase potency. It is about 100 times more potent than morphine, making just 2 milligrams of fentanyl lethal.

Three weeks after 6 kilograms of fentanyl were seized in Paw Paw Township last year, the DEA seized 20 kilograms of fentanyl in Oakland County. It was the largest-ever fentanyl bust in Michigan and contained enough fentanyl to kill roughly 10 million people.

In 2023, more than 27,000 pounds of fentanyl was seized at the border — an 860% increase compared to 2019 and enough to kill millions of Americans. Drug overdose deaths reached a new high in 2023 and are now the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45.

Senate Bill 727 would increase penalties related to the creation, manufacturing, delivery or possession of fentanyl and other classified substances. It is part of the Strong Borders, Safe Communities plan, which also would require every Michigan community to enforce state and federal immigration laws and calls on the Biden administration to immediately and fully resolve the border crisis.

WMCAT tour

I had the pleasure of touring the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, or as it’s more commonly known, WMCAT. At WMCAT, their mission is to provide a culture of opportunity for people to make social and economic progress in their lives and communities.

Last year, I was proud to secure $1 million for WMCAT in our state budget. From this funding, WMCAT will continue to grow its efforts in helping others achieve their individual goals and cultivate their communities.

Click here or on the image below to watch a video of my tour of WMCAT.

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March district office hours

I am holding in-person office hours throughout the district on a regular basis because hearing directly from the people about the issues they are facing is an important part of representing everyone in West Michigan. These meetings give local residents a chance to express their viewpoints about what needs to be done and offer help to people dealing with a variety of state issues.

In March, I will be available to meet with constituents at the following dates, times and locations:

• Monday, March 4, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at New Beginnings, 25 68th Ave. N in Coopersville.
• Monday, March 18, from noon to 1 p.m. at Interurban Depot Cafe, 1580 Arch St. in Wright Township.
• Thursday, March 28, from 9 to 10 a.m. at Sandy’s Donuts, 2040 Leonard St. NW in Grand Rapids, and from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Haggerty’s, 1600 E. Beltline Ave. NE in Grand Rapids Township.

Office hours are open to all residents, and no appointment is necessary. Anyone who is unable to attend the office hours may contact my office.

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Join us for town hall meeting on March 11

Listening to the people you represent about the issues affecting our region and state and discussing possible solutions is critical to being an effective public official.

To help best serve the hardworking people of West Michigan, I will be hosting a town hall meeting on Monday, March 11, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Wisner Center inside the Cascade branch of the Kent District Library, located at 2870 Jacksmith Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

If you are unable to attend the town hall, please contact me about any state issues. You can call toll-free at 855-347-8030 or email [email protected]. Let me know if I can assist you in any way or if you have an idea to help move our state forward.

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Consumer Protection Week

Next week is Consumer Protection Week! It is a time to remind folks about scammers trying to steal their money and identity. Be wary of fake charities, malicious internet links, and suspicious emails. Also, stay alert for phone scams, and never give your social security number to someone over the phone.

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MI Reconnect

In 2019, Senate Republicans introduced bipartisan legislation to create the MI Reconnect Grant Act. The MI Reconnect program aims to close the skills gap and make post-secondary education more accessible to adults in Michigan seeking an associate degree or professional certificate.

The program was launched in February 2021, and since then, more than 150,000 Michiganders have benefited from the opportunity to achieve additional education or earn a professional certification. More than 32,000 Reconnect students have enrolled at a community or tribal college and more than 4,400 have earned credentials, putting them on the path to in-demand, higher-paying jobs in Michigan.

To learn more about the MI Reconnect or to apply, visit the program’s website.

Virtual education workforce job fair

The Michigan Department of Education has announced dates for two upcoming virtual job fairs.

Virtual job fairs are open to those who are looking for a job or looking to hire teachers, substitute teachers, bus drivers, custodians, paraprofessionals, secretaries, administrators and other education-related positions. The events will occur on Tuesday, March 19, and Wednesday, May 8. There is no cost to participate.

Job seekers will have the opportunity to connect with school districts across the state. Interested applicants can complete a profile and upload their resume before the event. Educational employers, including local education agencies, intermediate school districts, public school academies and staffing agencies, are able to host a virtual booth at no cost. Prior to the events, employers can view resumes and send chat invitations to eligible candidates.

Visit the MDE’s Education Workforce Job Fairs site for more information or to register for one of the events.

Daylight Saving Time next week

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. on March 10. For people who don’t stay up that late, remember to set your clocks forward an hour when you go to bed on March 9.

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Run for the trees

Michigan’s Run for the Trees: Happy Little (virtual) 5K event has expanded to nine other states! The event, which was inspired by Bob Ross’s love of the outdoors, supports tree planting and forest protection efforts in state parks. Runners can now choose which participating states will receive their donation.

Runners, walkers and hikers can complete their 5K anywhere outdoors anytime between April 22-26. Each registration includes a keepsake Happy Little T-shirt, commemorative bib number, finisher medal and Happy Little Trees sticker.

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Serving the people of West Michigan is very important to me and I encourage you to contact me with any state issues. You may contact me by calling toll-free 1-855-347-8030 or emailing [email protected].

I look forward to serving you, and I encourage you to contact me if I can assist you in any way or if you have an idea to help move our state forward.

Senator Mark Huizenga
201 Townsend St., Suite #7200
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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