<![CDATA[Rep. Winnie Brinkss' Site Feed]]> http://076.housedems.com <![CDATA[Rep. Winnie Brinks, Rep. Brandon Dillon Take Oath of Office]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/rep-winnie-brinks-rep-brandon-dillon-take-oath-of-office <p>GRAND RAPIDS – State Representatives <strong>Winnie Brinks</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) and <strong>Brandon Dillon</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) both took an oath of office on Monday, Dec. 15 in preparation for the upcoming Michigan legislative session starting Jan. 1. Brinks will be serving her second term representing House District 76, and Dillon will be representing House District 75 for a third term.</p> <p>&#8220;I’m honored and thrilled to be returning to the state Capitol next year to continue the work of representing the families of Grand Rapids,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;I pledge to work hard on their behalf to bring them tax relief, more and better job opportunities and to restore critical funding to our schools.&#8221;</p> <p>The Hon. Christopher P. Yates, Kent County Circuit Court Judge, administered the oath of office to Brinks and Dillon at a ceremony in his courtroom held Monday.</p> <p>&#8220;I’m grateful for the opportunity to work for Grand Rapids’ families, seniors and students in the Michigan House of Representatives for a third term,&#8221; Dillon said. &#8220;The hardworking people of our city need a strong, clear voice in the Capitol, and I am committed to being that voice and telling their story.&#8221;</p> <![CDATA[Rep. Brinks to Host Upcoming Coffee Hours]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/rep-brinks-to-host-upcoming-coffee-hours <p>GRAND RAPIDS - State Representative <strong>Winnie Brinks</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) invites residents to join her at her November and December coffee hours to share ideas and concerns about state government. Coffee hours will now take place on the first and third Fridays of each month. <strong><u><em>Please note that a regularly scheduled coffee hour for Friday, Dec. 5, has been canceled.</em></u></strong></p> <p>The upcoming coffee hours will take place:</p> <ul> <li><p><strong><u>Friday, Nov. 21, 8:30-10 a.m., at NEW BEGINNINGS RESTAURANT: 1601 Alpine Ave. NW, Grand Rapids</u></strong></p></li> <li><p><strong><u>Friday, Dec. 19, 8:30-10 a.m., at NEW BEGINNINGS RESTAURANT: 1601 Alpine Ave. NW, Grand Rapids</u></strong></p></li> </ul> <p>Residents of Rep. Brinks&#8217; district in Grand Rapids are encouraged to contact her toll-free at (855) 747-4946 (4WIN) or by email at <strong>winniebrinks@house.mi.gov</strong>. Those interested in keeping up to date on her work at the Capitol are also encouraged to sign up for her e-newsletter by visiting <strong><a href="http://RepBrinks.com"><strong><u>RepBrinks.com</u></strong></a></strong>.</p> <p>.</p> <![CDATA[Brinks Resolution Declares October Breast Cancer Awareness Month]]> http://076.housedems.com/multimedia/videos/brinks-resolution-declares-october-breast-cancer-awareness-month <p>Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), who has introduced several proposals to combat breast cancer and promote early detection of the disease, has introduced House Resolution 411, naming October Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Michigan. The measure passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.</p> <![CDATA[Brinks Resolution Declares October Breast Cancer Awareness Month]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/brinks-resolution-declares-october-breast-cancer-awareness-month <p>Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), who has introduced several proposals to combat breast cancer and promote early detection of the disease, has introduced House Resolution 411, naming October Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Michigan. The measure passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.</p> <p>&#8220;The fight against breast cancer must be unrelenting, because the disease has robbed too many families of mothers, daughters, sisters and cousins,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;Treatment and prevention begin with awareness and knowledge. I’m glad to call attention to this devastating disease so that more women will be aware of the importance of early detection and treatment.&#8221;</p> <p>Brinks has made combatting breast cancer an important priority at the state Capitol. There were 7,329 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Michigan in 2011, and 1,424 breast cancer deaths in 2012, the last years for which information was available from the Michigan Department of Community Health.</p> <p>&#8220;Declaring October to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Michigan is a good start, but it is only a start,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;Treatment is most effective when started early, which is why calling attention to breast cancer is so important. I thank my colleagues for passing this resolution and raising awareness about breast cancer in Michigan.&#8221;</p> <![CDATA[Rep. Brinks Introduces Teacher Tax Credit Proposal]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/rep-brinks-introduces-teacher-tax-credit-proposal <p>LANSING – Rep. <strong>Winnie Brinks</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) has introduced a House Bill 5817, which would create a tax credit for teachers who pay out-of-pocket for classroom supplies. The credit would be given to out-of-pocket classroom purchases up to $250 – a sum many teachers spend because school funding cuts have made it impossible for school districts to outfit classrooms with basic learning supplies, such as pencils and paper.</p> <p>“Teachers have one of the most important jobs there is – giving our kids the absolute best education so that they can go on to great colleges and promising careers,” Brinks said. “Teaching was already a demanding job, but the cutbacks in school funding have made it even more challenging. Teachers have stepped up to the plate to buy necessary classroom supplies out of their own pocket, and they deserve to receive a tax credit for the money they spent to benefit all of our kids.”</p> <p>Teachers regularly pay out-of-pocket for classroom supplies. According to a recent survey of teachers performed by education insurer Horace Mann, 94 percent of all teachers paid out-of-pocket for classroom supplies, and 56 percent of teachers spend more than $200 annually on their classrooms*.</p> <p>“Teachers are opening their wallets and using their own hard-earned pay to make up for cuts to classroom funding,” Brinks said. “While I’m grateful that teachers are so dedicated to their work, they deserve to be paid back. I urge my colleagues to create this tax credit for our hardworking teachers.”</p> <p>*<a href="http://horacemann.com/teacher-lounge/educator-advisory-panel/~/media/Documents/Advisory%20panel/Expenses%20Budget%20Community%20Involvement%20Facebook%20Email.ashx" title="">http://horacemann.com/teacher-lounge/educator-advisory-panel/~/media/Documents/Advisory%20panel/Expenses%20Budget%20Community%20Involvement%20Facebook%20Email.ashx</a></p> <![CDATA[Grand Rapids Road Project Awarded, Underscores Need for Road Fixes]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/grand-rapids-road-project-awarded-underscores-need-for-road-fixes <p>GRAND RAPIDS – The Plainfield Avenue reconstruction project in Grand Rapids has been named a regional winner in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 2014 America&#8217;s Transportation Awards competition. State Rep. <strong>Winnie Brinks</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) said the award highlights the quality road construction that can be done in Michigan, and the need to find a comprehensive road funding plan.</p> <p>“It’s good news for Grand Rapids that the Plainfield Avenue project has received recognition from a national group,” Brinks said. “The award shows that Michigan’s civil engineers can find innovative and attractive solutions to improve our roads. We need to bring more award-winning road projects to our state, and that will happen when we get serious about finding a real road funding solution.”</p> <p>The Plainfield Avenue project involves the reconstruction of the avenue along with the creation of seven bio-retention islands from Leonard Street to Ann Street. The islands each have water retention areas, bio-retention plantings and pollution filtration systems. Rain water is captured in these islands, reducing the flow of water into the city’s sewer system. The project received funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation, the city of Grand Rapids and a federal grant, and local businesses and neighborhood organizations worked in partnership with the government agencies. The project will be considered for inclusion in AASHTO’s national Top Ten projects competition.</p> <p>“I look forward to the Plainfield Avenue project showcasing Grand Rapids and Michigan at the national level, and I hope it wins the grand prize of $10,000 to support a transportation-related project or charitable cause,” Brinks said. “I’m even more hopeful that Michigan’s elected leaders can come together and find a genuine solution to fix Michigan’s roads, so that more communities can enjoy these kinds of award-winning projects.”</p> <![CDATA[Bosnia and Herzegovina Refugees Recognized in Rep. Brinks Resolution]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/bosnia-and-herzegovina-refugees-recognized-in-rep-brinks-resolution <p>GRAND RAPIDS – State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) has introduced House Resolution 391 marking July 11 as Srebrenica Remembrance Day and July 11-17 as Bosnia and Herzegovina Tribute Week in Michigan. Michigan became home to thousands of Bosniaks following the war that raged from 1992 to 1995 in the region of the former Yugoslavia. July 11, 1995 is the date of the Srebrenica massacre, in which more than 8,300 Bosniaks – many of them civilians – were slaughtered. About 145,000 Bosniaks found refuge in the United States during and after the war, and approximately 8,000 were settled in the greater Grand Rapids area.</p> <p>&#8220;Our country became a safe haven for families whose lives were torn apart by the worst war in Europe since World War II, and I’m grateful that so many of them chose to make Grand Rapids their home,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;A strong community of Bosniaks has grown in West Michigan, and now about 16,000 Bosniaks live, work and own businesses in the Grand Rapids area. We are fortunate to be their neighbors, and I’m proud to have introduced a resolution to commemorate their struggle and triumph.&#8221;</p> <p>The war in the former Yugoslavia started shortly after Bosnia and Herzegovina achieved independence in 1992. The conflict with neighboring Serbia displaced more than 2.2 million people from their homes, according to the United Nations. Thousands of them came to Michigan as refugees, settling in greater Grand Rapids, Holland, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Muskegon, Detroit, Flint, Hamtramck, Battle Creek, Big Rapids and Traverse City. The Bosniak community in Grand Rapids is the second-largest in the U.S., second only to the community in St. Louis, Mo.</p> <p>&#8220;I celebrate the spirit and hard work of our Bosniak community,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;They arrived in Michigan after suffering devastating losses during the war, and they worked hard to build a thriving community here. I’m glad to count Bosniaks among my friends and neighbors, and they contribute to the vibrancy and strength of our state.&#8221;</p> <![CDATA[Rep. Brinks: Coffee Hour Location *Changed* After Tornado Damage]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/rep-brinks-coffee-hour-location-changed-after-tornado-damage <p>GRAND RAPIDS – State Representative <strong>Winnie Brinks</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) has changed the location of her upcoming coffee hour to be held on <strong><u>Friday, July 11 from 1:30-3 p.m.</u></strong> The <strong>NEW</strong> location of the coffee hour is Schnitz Deli, located at <strong><u>1315 Fulton St. SE in Grand Rapids</u></strong>. The original site of the coffee hour, Schnitz South Deli, located at 1529 Langley St. SE in Grand Rapids, was heavily damaged in a tornado Sunday night.</p> <p>“I was devastated to learn that such a thriving local business was so hard-hit by the recent storm,” Brinks said. “I am determined to support Schnitz Deli and its employees while the South location is rebuilt, and I hope residents will join me in supporting this small business in our community. I also welcome anyone who has a question about pending bills or newly passed laws, or who wants to have a conversation about the issues facing our government, to join me at Schnitz Deli.”</p> <p>The coffee hour will be held:</p> <p>• <strong><u>Friday, July 11, from 1:30-3 p.m. at Schnitz Deli, 1315 Fulton St. SE in Grand Rapids.</u></strong></p> <p>Residents of Rep. Brinks&#8217; district in Grand Rapids are encouraged to contact her toll-free at (855) 747-4946 (4WIN) or by email at winniebrinks@house.mi.gov. Those interested in keeping up to date on her work at the Capitol are also encouraged to sign up for her e-newsletter by visiting RepBrinks.com.</p> <![CDATA[Reps. Brinks, Dillon Help Bring Road Repairs to Grand Rapids]]> http://076.housedems.com/news/article/reps-brinks-dillon-help-bring-road-repairs-to-grand-rapids <p>GRAND RAPIDS - A supplemental budget bill supported by state Representatives <strong>Winnie Brinks</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) and <strong>Brandon Dillon</strong> (D-Grand Rapids) has resulted in emergency road repairs to some of Grand Rapids&#8217; most crumbling roads. While the fixes are a good start, the representatives point out that Michigan still needs a comprehensive road funding plan to pay for approximately $1 billion in road and bridge repairs annually.</p> <p>&#8220;Wherever I go in Grand Rapids, people are upset with the state of the roads they drive to work, to the store or to take their kids to the park,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;I&#8217;m grateful that some of our most dangerous roads are about to get fixed, but there are still many roads that need attention. Emergency roads must only be the start. We need to get to work on a real road funding plan.&#8221;</p> <p>The supplemental budget bill that both Brinks and Dillon voted for in March set aside $215 million for emergency road repairs, including $100 million for potholes and winter-related road damage and $115 million for construction projects. Included among the projects are $1.1 million to repair Bridge Street from Lake Michigan Drive NW to Mount Mercy Drive NW, and almost $1 million to fix Michigan Street NE from Barclay Avenue NE to Lafayette Avenue NE.</p> <p>&#8220;It&#8217;s great that two stretches of road in Grand Rapids are about to get some overdue repairs,&#8221; Dillon said. &#8220;However, that barely scratches the surface. What we really need is a comprehensive road plan that will address all of the shoddy roads and crumbling bridges across the state. Despite our best efforts to stay in Lansing and find a way to fund those projects, we don&#8217;t yet have that plan.&#8221;</p> <p>In June, Michigan House Democrats loudly objected by a voice vote to a Republican motion to adjourn for a three-month summer break without finding a road funding plan. House Democrats have since invited House Republicans to return to Lansing and finish the job, but Republicans have so far been silent on the matter.</p> <p>&#8220;I&#8217;m glad that our vote for emergency road funding in March is making a difference in Grand Rapids, but we won&#8217;t find a real solution to our road funding problem until we go back to the Capitol and get back to work,&#8221; Brinks said. &#8220;It&#8217;s time to end the vacation, roll up our sleeves and find a solution that will fix our crumbling roads.&#8221;</p>