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Whitmer Makes County Visits
June 16, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2022
Governor Whitmer Visits Health Center, VA Office, Small Businesses in Montmorency, Roscommon, Missaukee, and Kalkaska Counties
LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer toured the Hillman Health Center in Montmorency County, the Roscommon County Veteran Affairs Office, 2 the Moon Bakery in Missaukee County, and the new Railroad Square Plaza in Kalkaska County. Governor Whitmer is focused on expanding access to quality, affordable mental health care to every Michigander, supporting our service members, veterans, and their families, and investing in every region of the state to continue growing Michigan’s economy and empowering small businesses.
“Today I met with small business owners, veterans, and healthcare professionals in Northern Michigan to learn about how we can all continue working together to grow Michigan’s economy and deliver on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to working families in every region of our state,” said Governor Whitmer. “I learned about the good work Hillman Health Center is doing to provide quality, affordable mental health care to families and students in the area, led a roundtable with the Roscommon VA Office about expanding opportunities for our service members, veterans, and their families, and visited 2 the Moon Bakery and Railroad Square Plaza to discuss how we can invest in our communities and small businesses to make them more vibrant places to live, work, and visit. I eagerly await my next trip to Northern Michigan. Let’s keep working together to invest in every region of our great state.”
Tour of Hillman Health Center
Governor Whitmer toured Hillman Health Center in Hillman, MI to learn more about how their administration, staff, and facility has played an integral role in providing behavioral and mental health services to the communities of northern Michigan. With a partnership with two Educational Service Districts, the Hillman Health Center has provided and secured much needed resources to students and their families to ensure students are given the opportunities to succeed and be healthy. The Hillman Health Center was founded in 1982 by a group of concerned citizens who identified a growing need for greater access to primary health care in the region. The efforts and work by the health center has provided northern Michiganders the vital heath and healthcare services that their communities needed. Governor Whitmer has worked tirelessly so that every person in Michigan has access to the healthcare that they deserve-both mental and physical-and has worked with communities, local officials, state leaders to get Michiganders the care they need to be able to thrive.
“Now more than ever, we need to ensure all kids have access to the resources they need to be safe and successful,” said Michelle Styma, CEO of Thunder Bay Community Health Services. “Governor Whitmer has continued to be an advocate to meet the needs in our schools and within our communities and we appreciate her support.”
Roundtable with Roscommon County Veteran Affairs Office
Later, Governor Whitmer participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Roscommon County VA Office. Governor Whitmer greeted VA staff, toured the office, and convened with VA board members, county leaders, and veterans where all parties engaged in a conversation about expanding opportunities, resources, and policies to better serve, invest, and protect Michigan veterans and their families.
Governor Whitmer remains committed on ensuring Michigan’s veterans, service members, and their families have the opportunities and support they need to succeed. The administration continues to work tirelessly to boost outreach to veterans, ensuring that they have access to healthcare, housing, and good-paying jobs.Through the establishment of the Michigan Natural Guard (MING) and Michigan Helmets to Hardhats partnership, that works to connect veterans to skill-training opportunities and careers in construction. The governor also supported legislation which expanded the Michigan National Guard Tuition Assistance Program (MINGTAP) to their spouses which not only will help National Guard members and their families to pursue their education dreams, it will also help support their futures in Michigan’s economy.
Visiting 2 the Moon Bakery
Governor Whitmer visited a local bakery in Lake City in support of the hard work and efforts of small businesses and their local communities. ‘2 the Moon Bakery’ was opened in 2020 by owners, Ziggy and Chelsie, where they have worked tirelessly in restoring and expanding their small business and developing it into a thriving and successful cornerstone of Lake City.
Governor Whitmer remains committed to supporting small businesses as Michigan continues growing its economy. Under the MI New Economy plan, the governor laid out a $2.1 billion proposal to grow Michigan's middle class, support small businesses and invest in communities. As Michigan's economy grows, bolstered by a multi-billion-dollar surplus and increasing momentum, Governor Whitmer's proposals will tackle underlying issues faced by small businesses and make bold investments needed to create economic prosperity for all.
Governor Whitmer’s historical investment into small businesses throughout the state has added more than 220,000 jobs into the economy in 2021, whilst driving unemployment down and taking Michigan to a $7 billion surplus. The governor’s partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation implemented 23 economic relief programs for businesses, supporting more than 25,000 companies and retaining more than 200,000 jobs, and provided $100 million through the Small Business Restart Program which helps restaurants and other place-based businesses cover costs by providing grants up to $20,000.
Tour of Railroad Square Plaza
Governor Whitmer ended her all-day tour of northern Michigan with a visit to Kalkaska, MI where she visited the newly built, Railroad Square Plaza. The governor learned more about the efforts of Kalkaska city officials and their community in activating the vacant/blighted space to create a positive and rippling effect on the economy of downtown Kalkaska. Prior to becoming a plaza, Railroad Square was an abandoned lumber yard but through coordinated efforts and support of local officials, leaders, and members, it was converted to a usable development with several assets.
Since taking office Governor Whitmer has worked to support rural communities and their economic development. Earlier this year, Governor Whitmer signed an executive directive to establish the Office of Rural Development to address the issues facing rural Michigan communities. Additionally, Governor Whitmer proposed large investments in economic development including the Michigan Regional Empowerment Program to strengthen the regional economies within Michigan.
Growing Northern Michigan's economy
The Whitmer-Gilchrist administration has invested in every region of Michigan to deliver on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to families, communities, and small businesses
In Northern Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has invested Over $4 million to support over 20 projects creating nearly 300 jobs and leveraging over $40 million in private investment. The MEDC has also invested $39 million to support over 50 community development projects, leveraging more than $90 million in private investment and reactivating more than 4 million square feet of public space. Since taking office, the administration has Delivered $18 million to support over 1,500 businesses and retain more than 15,000 jobs through COVID, with 74% of relief going to geographically disadvantaged areas.