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Bob Lorinser pens "The State of our District" after SOTU

Dr. Bob Lorinser's 2023 assessment of the current conditions in Michigan's 1st Congressional is a brief diagnosis and prescription for Northern Michigan and the UP.

To get our district moving forward, legislators across the entire district need to govern with the same fiercely independent spirit of their constituents. Help Dr. Bob Lorinser fight for a thriving American heartland with a generous contribution to the Rural Fund.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — I hope citizens across the political spectrum listened to the stand-out message from President Biden's State of the Union address last night. "Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict gets us nowhere," Biden said.


THE STATE OF MICHIGAN'S FIRST

Economics


We are finally witnessing economic recovery. Inflation fell to 1.9% in the second half of 2022, down from 10.7%. Unemployment is down, but we cannot stop fighting for livable wages across rural America. All jobs should be dignified and respected.


Looking beyond past hardships, the economic vitality of MI01 is strengthing, but rural Michigan awaits crucial funding. With federal infrastructure investments and the State of Michigan's surplus, I look forward to a bright future.


Education


We continue to have challenges in public education, specifically with the recruitment and retention of educators. However, local, state, and national initiatives have identified the issues and sought solutions. As a result, we are seeing progress regarding fast-track certification programs at universities, high school collaborations with local businesses, community colleges, and more.


Housing


The housing shortage continues. In some areas, available and affordable housing is at a crisis level. I look forward to federal assistance to help address this problem, but I commend initiatives by local municipalities and community leaders to stay ahead of the issue.


There are many causes of unattainable housing, but the main culprit is a lack of supply, a problem unresolved over several generations.


Childcare


Unaffordable and unavailable childcare is terrible for our district's economy. It is causing high employee absence rates, turnover, postponement of education and training, reduction of hours, and ultimately, parents leaving the workforce. Working families deserve relief.


Rural Health Care


It is unacceptable for a child to receive a medical bill of $700 for a 5-minute urgent care visit and X-ray. A physical exam doesn't have to cost $450, and a pneumonia hospitalization with a price tag of $20,000 is despicable and wrong.


No one should go bankrupt because of a medical bill.


An estimated 400,000 Michiganders will soon lose their Medicaid coverage. We need a publicly financed, non-profit, national health insurance program to help cover all Americans' medical care costs.


Patchwork improvements by innovative healthcare providers, clinics, and hospitals throughout the district are encouraging. However, National leaders in Congress are not doing enough to advocate for accessible healthcare for America's most vulnerable, rural patients.


Healthcare is a fundamental human right.


Working Together


Like many in Michigan's First District, I worry about my country. Can we work together to solve our problems? When half of the leadership offered ovations and others jeered, our national divisions were on full display during President Biden's SOTU address.


Is this what America needs? We need problem-solving, regardless of the source. We need leadership for all. We need unity, not divisive rhetoric. We must work together to address the needs of the 1st District, Michigan, and the Nation. It isn't a Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate and President. It's the People's House, Senate, and President. The same goes for our state, county, and city governments.


Throughout it all, we can never forget ordinary everyday people — the rural worker, our seniors, and our youth. We need to invest in people, protect our environment, and celebrate each other's individuality. We must embrace America's multiculturalism and our distinct vantage points. We must remember the role of government at all levels — local, state, and federal — is to serve, protect, and provide for the general well-being of its citizens.


The people of Michigan's 1st District embody resiliency. Politically, we are as diverse as anywhere in the United States, but our commonalities allow us to show the Nation how united we can be.


In Northern Michigan and the UP, we work hard and play hard, and we're all intricately linked with the hardships and successes of each other. We tackle problems with grit, strength, and loyalty to our friends, family, neighbors, and communities. If our representatives legislated with the same fiercely independent spirit as their constituents, the strength of our district would rival anywhere in the country.

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