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Dear Friends,

Fall is almost officially here, even if it doesn’t quite feel like it yet. To better serve you, I am offering this e-newsletter on what’s happening in our community and across our state.

I encourage you to contact me with any state issues. You may call toll-free at 1-855-347-8028 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

Veterans Experience Action Center

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency is partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other veteran organizations to hold its second Veterans Experience Action Center.

The three-day event, held from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Oct. 4-6 , is an opportunity for veterans to receive one-on-one personalized assistance with their VA benefits, health care, crisis resources, and many other benefits they have earned for their service.

At the VEAC, veterans attend a virtual appointment with a local veterans service officer who can facilitate a direct transfer to VA experts and community partners who can immediately address their specific needs. The first VEAC, held in 2021, served more than 600 Michigan veterans during the three-day event. For more information or to register for the Michigan VEAC, visit the VA website.

Prison program helping turn around lives

Earlier this month, I joined leaders from the Michigan Department of Corrections, the U.S. Department of Education, Calvin University, and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities in touring the CPI Program (Calvin Prison Initiative) within the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility.

CPI’s vision is to educate adult learners in prison and empower them with the skills and knowledge to become community leaders – inside or outside the prison system. In doing so, the program seeks to bring renewal to the lives and culture within the Handlon facility. CPI has grown throughout its lifetime and now offers full baccalaureate degrees, with the first class graduating in 2020 as alumni of Calvin University.

I was proud to work on awarding a million-dollar grant to CPI in the recent state budget. This grant will fund the program’s efforts to create a model for other higher education institutions to mirror in different prisons across Michigan.

Programs like CPI have been proven to reduce recidivism rates for those paroled and have a positive financial return on investment. However, what many consider to be the most significant impact is intangible. In the words of 2020 CPI graduate Raymond Potts, “(Participation) gives men the opportunity to be who they were created to be…when you’ve been part of the problem, you need to man up and be part of the solution.”

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District office hours on Sept. 25 and 30

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.

I will be holding district office hours on Friday, Sept. 23, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Herman’s Boy, 220 Northland Drive NE in Rockford and on Friday, Sept. 30, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Mr. Burger, located at 5181 Northland Drive NE in Plainfield.

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

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Fall Turkey Digest now available

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Fall turkey season is Sept. 15 through Nov. 14, 2022. Information about fall turkey regulations, management units, hunting hours and more is available in the 2022 Fall Turkey Digest.

The digest, provided through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is a condensed collection of rules and regulations for hunters’ convenience and is available for download to your smartphone or mobile device.

Find fall turkey season dates, bag limits, hunting regulations and hours, a place to hunt and more at

U.S. Constitution Week

In 1956, the U.S. Congress adopted a resolution which was later signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, marking Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week. This annual celebration aims to remind every citizen of the importance of the U.S. Constitution and to commemorate America’s most important document.

The U.S. Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties, freedoms, and inalienable rights.

Free printed copies of the U.S. Constitution are available by contacting my office.

USS Indianapolis memorial

Last week, I attended an event to support a USS Indianapolis memorial that would ultimately be placed in front of the Michigan Hall of Justice Building in our state capital.

Occupied by 1,195 crewmen, the USS Indianapolis sank in July 1945, leaving only 317 alive to be rescued. There were 98 servicemen aboard from Michigan, of whom, only 27 survived. Of those Michiganders, there were eight Grand Rapidians, two of whom survived to return to our community.

These men made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation, state, and neighborhoods – just a few months prior to the ending of World War II. The Michiganders who went down with their ship will be remembered in this memorial by their names and hometowns. May their legacy never be forgotten.

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College Savings Month

September is College Savings Month! Programs like MET and 529 college savings plans can help you get started early. More info, including a free college savings planning calculator, is available at, and

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Nominate the next Michigan Teacher of the Year

Behind every great student is a teacher who took the time to invest in and enrich his or her life – and Michigan schools are filled with many wonderful teachers.

Each year, one teacher is named Michigan’s Teacher of the Year. The Michigan Teacher of the Year serves as a representative and advocate for Michigan's more than 90,000 teachers and works with nine fellow regional Teachers of the Year to make up the Michigan Teacher Leadership Advisory Council.

Each Regional Teacher of the Year, from the 10 regions across Michigan, brings recognition to the district he or she represents and has additional opportunities for professional development and opportunities to share their experience and expertise. The teacher also attends the State Board of Education meetings as a non-voting member and serves as Michigan’s applicant for National Teacher of the Year.

Nominations for the 2023-24 Michigan Teacher of the Year are open from now until Oct 24. For more information about the MTOY year program, or to nominate a teacher, visit the Michigan Department of Education’s MTOY page. Nominations can also be made using the online form.

Help replant Michigan forests

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering an opportunity to enjoy time outdoors, earn money and help plant trees in state forests.

Until Sept. 30, red pine cones can be collected and dropped off by appointment at several DNR locations in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula where red pines are most abundant. A bushel, or approximately two 5-gallon buckets, of fresh red pine cones will earn $100.

Foresters are looking for quality seed pine cones from the red pine tree. However, finding the right cones is no easy task. To get started, keep these things in mind:

• In order to be paid, collectors must first register on the DNR’s online system.
Red pine trees have craggy, reddish bark and 4- to-6-inch needles that grow in bundles of two. Scotch and Austrian pinecones, which have some similarities, will not be accepted.
• The easiest way to collect cones is to pick them from living red pine trees; cones picked off the ground are likely too old or too wet. Twigs, needles, or debris will not be accepted in bushels of cones.
• Cone scales – the individual plates of a cone – should be closed (scales should not move when squeezed) with a little green or purple tint. Cones that are all brown and open will be refused.
• Pine cones should be stored in a cool, dry place and in mesh bags. Do not use burlap or plastic bags, which can hold moisture and ruin the cones. “Onion bags” are available at the DNR drop-off locations.
• Cones can be dropped off by appointment at the following DNR Customer Service Centers: Gaylord (989-619-5519), Roscommon (989-390-0279) and Cadillac (231-878-0669).

Michigan Trails Week

Michigan is home to a vast network of trails. Michigan Trails Week, celebrated Sept. 18-25, is an excellent time to experience more than 13,000 miles of recreational trails, including waterways, footpaths, rail trails, ORV trails and more.

Visit the DNR state trails site to find trail maps for biking, hiking, horseback riding, or ORV riding, and events at state parks and other venues during Michigan Trails Week.

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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 1-855-347-8028 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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