Winning Pieces from the Congressional Art Competition

Winning Pieces from the Congressional Art Competition

Hi there,

You may have seen U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra was in our district last week discussing important prescription drug provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act. Before that press conference, though, we had a few meetings I want to tell you about.

I invited Secretary Becerra to our 7th Congressional District because of your calls, emails and letters surrounding high prescription prices, drug shortages and maternal health disparities. It’s important for federal officials to see firsthand the issues that affect Michiganders in their daily lives.

First, we met with local hospital leaders, so Secretary Becerra could hear directly from them about the issues they’re facing.  Our first priority was the ongoing shortage of lifesaving cancer drugs that has forced our hospitals in Michigan to ration care. This crisis has shown once again that maintaining a sufficient supply of pharmaceuticals is critical for not just patients, but for our national security.  This issue of supply-chains for critical items has become a bit of an obsession of mine since shortages upended our economy during the pandemic.  It’s why I co-founded the bipartisan Domestic Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Caucus and have introduced legislation, like the Ensuring Access to Lifesaving Drugs Act, to keep vital medicines on pharmacy shelves.

In our second meeting with Secretary Becerra, we met with advocates and talked about the issue of black maternal health.  Today, Black & Native American women are three to four times more likely to die from complications surrounding pregnancy & childbirth than white women. Our meeting allowed Secretary Becerra to learn about the systemic & financial challenges faced by those who’ve been in the trenches on this issue. Thank you to the doctors, midwives, doulas, & public health & nonprofit leaders who provided ways to address this issue at the federal level.

Finally, we held a press conference on the Inflation Reduction Act.  This bill sends a really clear signal to the rest of the prescription drug world that the day where you can just charge whatever you want — where there’s no transparency on the price of medication — is an era that’s coming to an end.

I am thankful to all those who helped us have a productive day discussing federal solutions that would help Michiganders.

Rep. Slotkin

Hi there,

One of my favorite traditions as a Member of Congress is the annual Congressional Art Competition, and earlier this month we got to announce this year’s winners.

I wanted to share their incredible artwork:

In first place, “In Your Dreams” by Joanna Deng of Okemos High School. Her piece will hang in the U.S. Capitol, and she’ll be invited to an opening ceremony in D.C.


In second place, “Love Remains” by Julia Zastrow of Cheryl Stockwell Preparatory Academy. Julia’s piece will hang in my D.C. office.


In third place, “Divine Ripple” by Morgan Wilcox of Lansing Catholic High School. Morgan’s piece will hang in our Lansing office.


I’m always so blown away by the talent of students in our district, as well as their ability to use their artwork to make a statement.

One highlight from the reception that continues to stick out to me is Julia’s cheering section. Several members of her family made the trip, which made announcing her as our second place winner even more special.


Thank you to everyone who submitted this year — we had 44 incredible pieces and you did not make it easy on our judges!

– Rep. Elissa Slotkin

Whitmer Makes Appointments to Boards and Commissions 

Whitmer Makes Appointments to Boards and Commissions 

Governor Whitmer Header


May 9, 2024

Contact: [email protected]


Governor Whitmer Makes Appointments to Boards and Commissions


LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the following appointments to the Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity, Michigan Board of Chiropractic, Michigan Board of Licensed Midwifery, State Fire Safety Board, Michigan Education Trust, Board of Law Examiners, and Midwest Higher Education Compact.


Today’s appointees represent Michigan’s young professionals, communities of color, seniors, and more. The appointees announced this week build on Governor Whitmer’s work to ensure appointees reflect Michigan’s diverse population. Sixty percent of appointees are women or people of color, and the Whitmer cabinet is the most diverse in Michigan history.


Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity


Kerry Lenaghan-Baughman, of Traverse City, serves as the executive director for the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency. She has been with the agency for the past 17 years and has also held a position as the early childhood programs director prior to moving into the role of executive director. Lenaghan-Baughman received her Bachelor of Arts in social science and her Master of Arts in sociology from Eastern Michigan University. Kerry Lenaghan-Baughman is reappointed to represent community action agencies for a term commencing June 22, 2024, and expiring June 21, 2027.


Shamayim Harris, of Highland Park, is the founder of The Avalon Village, a non-profit community organization. Additionally, she serves on the Highland Park Board of Education. Shamayim Harris is reappointed to represent low-income persons for a term commencing June 22, 2024, and expiring June 21, 2027.


Justin D. Hodge, of Ypsilanti, is the chair of county commission for Washtenaw County and a clinical associate professor of social work at the University of Michigan. Hodge received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Asian studies and a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan. Justin Hodge is reappointed to represent elected public officials for a term commencing June 22, 2024, and expiring June 21, 2027.


Ravi Yalamanchi, of Rochester Hills, is the president of INFIN, Financial Services Alliance Inc. and the CEO of the Plymouth Housing Commission. Yalamanchi received a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Science from Osmania University, a Master of Arts in international trade from Eastern Michigan University, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Ravi Yalamanchi is reappointed to represent the private sector for a term commencing June 22, 2024, and expiring June 21, 2027.


The Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity was created to provide opportunity for low-income persons to actively participate in the development of policies and programs to reduce poverty and serves as a statewide forum to address the needs and concerns of low-income people in the state of Michigan.


These appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.


Michigan Board of Chiropractic


Ahmed Hassouna, of Canton, is a partner at Novara Tesija Catenacci McDonald & Baas. Hassouna received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo College of Law. Ahmed Hassouna is appointed to represent the general public for a term commencing May 9, 2024, and expiring December 31, 2027. Ahmed Hassouna succeeds Michael Connelly who has resigned.


The Michigan Board of Chiropractic was originally formed with the enactment of Public Act 145 of 1933. On September 30, 1978, this authority was transferred to the Public Health Code, Public Act 368 of 1978, as amended. The “practice of chiropractic” means that discipline within the healing arts that deals with the human nervous system and the musculoskeletal system and their interrelationship with other body systems. The Board also has the obligation to take disciplinary action against licensees who have adversely affected the public’s health, safety, and welfare. The board works with the department to oversee the practice of approximately 2,863 chiropractors.


This appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.


Michigan Board of Licensed Midwifery


Araya Montero, of Traverse City, is a practicing licensed midwife at Two Hearted Midwifery. Additionally, she is transitioning out of her role as president of the Michigan Midwives Association. Montero received a Bachelor of Science in midwifery from Birthingway College of Midwifery. Araya Montero is appointed to represent midwives for a term commencing May 9, 2024, and expiring December 31, 2027. Araya Montero succeeds Sandra McCurdy whose term has expired.

The Michigan Board of Licensed Midwifery is housed within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The Board works with the Department to establish and implement the licensure program for the practice of midwifery in the state.


This appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.


State Fire Safety Board


Brian Talvensaari, of Marquette, is the battalion chief at the Marquette City Fire Department. Additionally, he is a licensed residential builder and a licensed emergency medical technician. Talvensaari received his associate’s degree in fire science from the Lake Superior State University. Brian Talvensaari is reappointed to represent organized fire departments in the Upper Peninsula for a term commencing July 16, 2024, and expiring July 15, 2028.


Jeramie Morris, of Saginaw, is a global fire protection manager at Dow Inc. He has previously worked as an assistant chief at the Saginaw Township Fire Department. Morris is a National Fire Protection Association certified fire protection specialist and a certified fire inspector. Morris received his Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and communication from Saginaw Valley State University. Jeramie Morris is reappointed to represent the chemical manufacturing industry for a term commencing July 16, 2024, and expiring July 15, 2028.


Tavis Millerov, of Williamston, is a fire marshal at Meridian Township Fire Department in Okemos, Michigan. Additionally, he is a national fire protection association certified fire plans examiner, a licensed national fire protection association inspector I and II, and a licensed Michigan fire inspector. Millerov received his Bachelor of Science in fire science from Lake Superior State University. Tavis Millerov is reappointed to represent organized fire departments in the Lower Peninsula for a term commencing July 16, 2024, and expiring July 15, 2028.


Randall Halstead, of Lowell, is an operations manager at Homeworks Tri-County Propane. Halstead is a licensed mechanical contractor. Randall Halstead is reappointed to represent the liquified petroleum gas industry or the flammable compressed gases industry for a term commencing July 16, 2024, and expiring July 15, 2028.


Julie Bulson, of Grand Rapids, is director of business assurance for Corewell Health. Bulson received a Nursing degree from Blodgett School of Nursing, and a Bachelor of Science, Master of Public Administration in Healthcare Leadership and Doctor of Nursing Practice in Health Systems Leadership from Grand Valley State University. Julie Bulson is reappointed to represent hospital administration for a term commencing July 16, 2024, and expiring July 15, 2028.


Timothy Jury, of St. Clair, is the director of operations at Randazzo Heating and Cooling. Additionally, he has also worked as a Service Technician at Williams Refrigeration and Heating. He is a licensed electrical contractor, journeyman electrician, and mechanical contractor. Jury received his climate control certificate from Northwestern Technological Institute. Timothy Jury is appointed to represent licensed electrical contractors or master electricians for a term commencing July 16, 2024, and expiring July 15, 2028. Timothy Jury succeeds David Williams who has resigned.


The State Fire Safety Board assists in the development of fire safety rules covering the construction, operation, and maintenance of schools, health care facilities, penal facilities, and state-owned and leased facilities. The Board assists in the operation and maintenance of public assembly and other buildings, oversight of delegation of fire inspection responsibilities, and serves as an administrative hearing body on decisions made by the Bureau of Fire Services.


These appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.


Michigan Education Trust


Dr. Calvin C. Cupidore Jr., of Farmington Hills, is a retired education consultant. He is also a board member of the Michigan Certified Development Corporation. Additionally, he was formerly a board member of the Franklin Village Planning Commission, the chief financial officer of the Michigan Department of Education and an assistant superintendent of business services for the school district of the City of Pontiac. Cupidore Jr. received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Hunter College, and a Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Education from Walden University. Dr. Calvin C. Cupidore Jr. is appointed to represent the nominee of the Speaker of the House for a term commencing May 9, 2024, and expiring December 31, 2026. Calivn Cupidore succeeds Ronald Wiser whose term has expired.


The Michigan Education Trust (MET) is a qualified tuition program which provides tax exemption for the trust and tax exemption of earnings for contract participants who use MET funds to pay for qualified higher education expenses. The MET Board of Directors are responsible for policy development, investment initiatives, program development and implementation. The MET Board of Directors also serve as an advisory board for the Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP).


This appointment is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.


Board of Law Examiners


Brittany Schultz, of Birmingham, is a current in-house counsel for Ford Motor Company, where she represents Ford in a variety of civil litigation and commercial matters. Additionally, she serves as a member of the Michigan Supreme Court Justice For All Commission. Schultz received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Michigan and her Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School. Brittany Schultz is reappointed to represent the nominee of the Michigan Supreme Court for a term commencing July 1, 2024, and expiring June 30, 2029.


The Board of Law Examiners is responsible for investigating and examining all persons who initially apply for admission to the Michigan bar. The Board may adopt suitable regulations, subject to approval by the Supreme Court, concerning the performance of its functions and duties.


This appointment is not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.


Midwest Higher Education Compact


Emma Young, of East Lansing, is a policy analyst at the Executive Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and social relations and policy from Michigan State University. Emma Young is appointed to represent the governor’s designee for a term commencing May 9, 2024, and expiring March 18, 2027. Emma Young succeeds Brandy Johnson, who is now an at-large member.


Brandy Johnson, of Lansing, is the president of the Michigan Community College Association, a role she has had since leaving State service in 2021. Prior to that, she was the director of the Office of 60×30 in the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, a policy advisor on education and workforce in the Whitmer Administration, and executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. Johnson received a Bachelor of Science in political science from Arizona State University and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan. Brandy Johnson is appointed to represent at-large members for a term commencing May 9, 2024, and expiring March 18, 2027. Johnson succeeds Bill Pink whose term has expired.


Daniel Hurley, of Okemos, is the CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities. Previously, he was an associate vice president for government relations and state policy at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Hurley received a Bachelor of Science in public relations from Grand Valley State University, a Master of Science in career and technical education from Ferris State University, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Western Michigan University. Daniel Hurley is appointed to represent at-large members for a term commencing May 9, 2024, and expiring March 18, 2025. Hurley succeeds David Eisler who has resigned.


The Midwestern Higher Education Compact is to provide greater higher education opportunities and services in the Midwestern region, with the aim of furthering regional access to, research in and choice of higher education for the citizens residing in the several states which are parties to this Compact. The Midwestern Higher Education Commission consists of five resident members of each state: The Governor or the Governor’s designee, a legislator from each house, and two other at-large members.


These appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.

Opioid Epidemic on National Fentanyl Awareness Day

Opioid Epidemic on National Fentanyl Awareness Day

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May 7, 2024

Media Contact:
Danny Wimmer

AG Nessel Sheds Light on Opioid Epidemic on National Fentanyl Awareness Day

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is recognizing today as National Fentanyl Awareness Day. Now in its third year, National Fentanyl Awareness Day brings together individuals, parents, teachers, corporations, influencers, community groups, and government entities to raise awareness and combat this public health crisis.

“The devastating impact of fentanyl on Michigan families and communities is undeniable,” Nessel said. “My department is committed to deploying every resource at our disposal to combat the opioid epidemic and hold those who exploit those struggling with opioid-use disorder accountable.”

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, between the years 2000 and 2020, the opioid death rate in Michigan increased on average 13.9% each year. These deaths — and the impacts on thousands who have struggled with opioid addiction — have created considerable costs for our health care, child welfare, and criminal justice systems. More significant than the dollars and cents in damage to our state, the impact of opioid addiction, substance use, and overdose deaths has torn families apart, damaged relationships, and devastated communities.

Since taking office in 2019, the Attorney General, who recently launched a website dedicated to opioid settlement distributions, has focused intently on combatting the opioid epidemic and holding accountable those responsible for creating and fueling the crisis, resulting in over $1.6 billion to Michigan governments through settlements with PublicisMcKinsey & Codistributors (Cardinal Health, McKesson, Inc., and AmerisourceBergen), Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical, Allergan Pharmaceutical, CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens. The money is distributed to the state and local units of governments for opioid-use disorder treatment and remediation.

State of Emergency Following Severe Storms and Tornadoes

State of Emergency Following Severe Storms and Tornadoes

Office of the Governor (no photo)


May 7, 2024

Contact: [email protected]


Governor Whitmer Declares State of Emergency Following Severe Storms and Tornadoes in Southwest Michigan


LANSING, Mich. – This evening, Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Branch, and Cass counties after a severe storm system, including large hail up to four inches in diameter and at least two confirmed tornadoes, swept through the area leaving significant damage to buildings and roads.


“My heart goes out to all those impacted by tonight’s severe weather in southwest Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “State and local emergency teams are on the ground and working together to assist Michiganders. I’ve declared a state of emergency to ensure resources are expedited to the area and activated our State Emergency Operations Center. We will continue monitoring the situation and coordinating efforts overnight. I want to thank all the first responders working hard to keep Michiganders safe. We’ll get through this together.”


By declaring a state of emergency, Governor Whitmer has made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the designated area. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies.


“My heart goes out to all of the residents, business owners and communities in Kalamazoo County and the surrounding areas impacted by tonight’s tornadoes,” said state Senator Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo). “I appreciate the swift work of our first responders, volunteers and neighbors to help those who were injured or experienced damages, and am grateful for the governor’s equally swift response to declare an emergency in the area and dedicate state support to assist with cleanup and repairs.”


“This evening our community has been directly impacted by the severe storm that moved through Southwest Michigan,” said state Representative Christine Morse (D-Texas Township). “The health and safety of family, friends and residents always comes first, and I can assure our community members that our local emergency responders are at work to ensure that anyone who needs assistance will get it. Along with my local and state partners we will continue to survey the damage and step in swiftly when and where needed. Daybreak will reveal the level of devastation, and I will be at-the-ready for every possible way to bring immediate relief to those affected. My office is available to help find resources and support families in need during this unexpected crisis.”


On the evening of May 7, a severe storm system swept through several counties in southwest Michigan. National Weather Service radar confirmed the storm system resulted in multiple tornadoes touching down in the affected areas. There is widespread damage, including homes and businesses that were destroyed, trees and power lines blocking roads, and extensive property damage.


To view the full executive order, click here.

Health Division Encourages to Ready Kindergarteners

Health Division Encourages to Ready Kindergarteners

Oakland County Health Division Encourages Parents to Ready Their Kindergarteners for the Upcoming School Year

Post Date:05/01/2024 1:01 PM

Pontiac, Mich. – Parents and guardians whose children will enroll in kindergarten for the 2024-2025 school year should take steps now to ensure their kids meet Michigan’s requirements to enter the classroom. These requirements include dental, hearing, and vision screenings and specific vaccinations.

Screenings and immunizations are available at Oakland County Health Division if a child does not have a healthcare provider.

“Kindergarten is an exciting time for families. Screenings and immunizations help keep kids healthy and on track during their first year of school,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, director of Oakland County Health and Human Services. “Be proactive and talk to your child’s healthcare providers so you can be confident that they are ready to take on this milestone.”

Michigan’s requirements for kindergarteners for the upcoming school year are:

  • Kindergarten Dental Screenings: Senate Bill 280 (Public Act 316 of 2023) requires children going into kindergarten to have a dental screening. Children who have dental problems may have trouble sleeping and eating which affects their ability to learn.
  • Hearing and Vision Screenings: The Michigan Public Health Code (Act 368 of 1978) mandates children to complete hearing and vision screenings before entering kindergarten. These screenings help children develop and learn by identifying a hearing or vision problem early.
  • Immunizations: State law requires kindergarteners to have specific vaccines before beginning the school year. Vaccines are safe and effective tools to prevent diseases that are more readily spread in group settings like classrooms.

Call Oakland County’s Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 to schedule screening appointments with the Health Division. Screenings are available to children who live or learn in Oakland County. There is no charge.

Immunizations do not require an appointment. Oakland County Health Division clinics are walk-in only and located in Southfield (27725 Greenfield Road) and Pontiac (1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East). Clinic hours are:

  • 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
  • 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesdays
  • 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursdays

No one will be denied access due to the inability to pay for immunizations. There is a discounted/sliding fee schedule available for those who are under or uninsured. The Health Division accepts health insurance, as well as Medicaid, Medicare, Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, cash, and credit. VFC offers vaccines at no cost for eligible children. There is a $7 fee per vaccination, per client. There are additional fees for credit card payments.

More information about kindergarten readiness can be found on the Health Division’s website at or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or [email protected]. Nurse on Call is available 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For up-to-date public health information, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook and X (formally known as Twitter).

For media inquiries only please contact Bill Mullan, Oakland County media and communications officer, at 248-858-1048.

Bipartisan Bills to Strengthen Health Services

Bipartisan Bills to Strengthen Health Services

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April 30, 2024

Contact: [email protected]


Gov. Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Bills to Strengthen Health Services and Criminal Justice


LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that aims to establish a licensure framework for dietitian nutritionists. The governor also signed legislation that delivers ongoing funding for trial courts across the state, reducing costs for local municipalities.


“Today’s commonsense, bipartisan bills will improve health care licensing for dietitian nutritionists and protect critical funding for trial courts,” said Governor Whitmer. “Together, we will continue delivering on the issues that make a real difference in people’s lives, from health care to public safety. Let’s keep working together to build a brighter, safer future for Michigan.”


House Bill 4608, sponsored by state Representative Laurie Pohutsky, establishes licensing requirements and standards for dietitians and nutritionists. By doing so, the bill seeks to ensure that individuals who provide dietary advice and guidance meet certain qualifications and adhere to professional standards.


“I sponsored House Bill 4608 to protect Michiganders and help make sure crucial healthcare is accessible and affordable,” said Speaker Pro Tem Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia). “Now, when individuals are looking to receive a dietician’s opinion, individuals can easily identify qualified and trustworthy providers — that is very important when it comes to health and wellness. Licensure will also help ensure medical nutrition therapy is covered by insurance, making it much more accessible for countless Michiganders. It is a win to have the governor sign this into law today.”


House Bill 5392, sponsored by state Representative Sarah Lightner, provides essential funding to ensure trial courts have the necessary resources to operate effectively. By supporting our courts, Michigan becomes a safer place for all its residents.


“This bill is a step forward toward our shared goal of courts that are funded fairly all across Michigan while maintaining the independence of the judicial branch,” said State Court Administrator Tom Boyd. “We look forward to providing the Governor and Legislature with the data, information, and recommendations they need to take the next steps in this process as we work together to develop and implement a long-term funding plan that delivers justice for all.”


“We appreciate the legislature acting in a bipartisan fashion to extend the expiring sunset,” said Dan Gilmartin, Executive Director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League. “With Governor Whitmer taking swift action to sign this legislation, we ensure the seamless functioning of the district and municipal courts supported by cities across the state.”