To the editor:

I used to run the SmartZone in Houghton, so I am all about creating jobs. So I was surprised when I heard that your representative to the Michigan House, Greg Markkanen, sponsored House Resolution 267 to reject federal economic assistance from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law by President Trump (http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2019-2020/resolutionintroduced/House/pdf/2020-HIR-0267.pdf. The CARES Act money comes from taxes you pay to the Federal Government and would be returned to this region in this extremely turbulent economic time.

According to figures from the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance, Keweenaw, Houghton, and Baraga counties have received $15.7 million in grants smaller than $150,000, 13 grants over $150,000 through the CARES Act, and added unemployment benefits of $600 per week to individuals furloughed or laid off during the health shutdown. The federal money from the CARES Act has saved businesses and families in the Western UP from going under. All these federal dollars made a difference, not one business closed during the COVID crisis.

At the SmartZone I worked with many politicians, one of my favorite being Tom Casperson, the Republican Senator from the UP from 2011 to 2018. Tom was a pragmatic politician who looked after the interests of people in his district, even when he got pressure from his party to vote another way. Janet Metsa will be that kind of politician. I urge you to vote for Janet as you consider who works for you in Lansing. This District has a history of voting for people who put us first, pay attention to the special needs we have and split the ticket to do so.


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