RICK OUTMAN GUEST VIEW: Committee visits benefit community

By Daily News • Last Updated 12:01 pm on Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Rick Outman

As state representative, I spend a majority of my time in the 70th House District. It is extremely important that I meet with residents in the communities throughout Montcalm and Gratiot counties and listen to their concerns and ideas.

That’s why I have monthly office hours in various locations throughout the district. These informal gatherings allow me to meet with people over coffee and talk about what’s important in their lives, and how I can take that message to Lansing and share it with my colleagues in the House and Senate.

My September office hours will be Sept. 6 at Margo’s, 215 S. Lafayette St. in Greenville from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., and Sept. 27 at Beardslee’s Restaurant, 3135 E. Howard City/Edmore Road, Edmore, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

Sometimes, however, we need to get fresh eyes — and ears — in our communities. That’s why the chairs of two House committees — Energy and Technology and Agriculture — are making visits to the 70th House District.

I am honored to serve on these two committees, which have a huge impact on our local economy and job market. Agriculture is the linchpin of our local economy, not only producing food for people across the county, but also providing employment for a large segment of our population.

Energy and technology also are important aspects to residents and job providers here. We are always looking for better, more efficient ways to power our homes and factories. Areas that have affordable sources of energy are those valued by industry and businesses. The same goes for high-speed Internet service; it benefits everyone.

Energy and Technology Committee Chair Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, joined me on Aug. 15 for a tour of several key locations in the district. We met with officials at Consumers Energy in Alma; LS Power in Carson City; Casair Inc., a broadband Internet provider in Stanton; and the Tri-County Co-op in Blanchard.

On Sept. 7, state Rep. Kevin Daley, R-Lum, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, will be in the 70th House District to meet with local farmers and producers and tour some of the facilities we have in Montcalm and Gratiot counties. Details of that visit will be announced at a later date.

The purpose for these visits are to give the committee chairs, and any other committee members who join us, a personal look at what we are accomplishing in terms of energy and technology and agriculture in our neck of the woods. We also want them to hear the ideas and concerns of those on the front line of improving our resources and providing agricultural products to Michigan and the rest of the nation.

These tours are yet another way by which lawmakers who have a hand in making key decisions in the Legislature can receive feedback from people and hear their ideas to make Michigan a better place in which to do business. Hearing about the great ideas and challenging concerns that citizens have in these areas of our economy helps us draft and enact legislation that better serves those concerns.

I plan to schedule additional events in our local communities that will give the Legislature more guidance on the specific needs of the residents of neighborhoods in Montcalm and Gratiot counties. If you have any ideas regarding bringing lawmakers to our area for additional feedback on what can help make our communities better places in which to live, work and raise families, I encourage you to contact me with those ideas. You can call toll-free at (855) 688-6267 or via email at RickOutman@house.mi.gov. I look forward to hearing your ideas, and to seeing you at the Sept. 7 events, which will be listed in detail with local media outlets as the date nears.

Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, represents Michigan’s 70th House District.

The opinions expressed in the Guest View do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Daily News.

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