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Tim Walberg has Geographically Disenfranchised Monroe
by Steven Meyer
Our US Representative, Tim Walberg is disenfranchising Monroe geographically and in other harmful ways. On March 31, Walberg opened a 2nd District Office in Niles (1). From here, the fastest route to that office takes 182 Miles and $9.36 in tolls through 2 other states. The fastest route to Walberg’s closest District Office in Jackson takes 76 Miles. For perspective on how alienated Monroe has become under Walberg, there are 11 Representatives in Michigan, Ohio, and Canada with 15 district offices closer than our own representative’s closest district office. Debbie Dingell, Rashida Tlaib, and Bob Latta (Ohio) all have multiple offices closer to Monroe. In fact, you can drive a round trip to each if their other offices in less time than it takes for a one-way trip to Walberg’s closest office. You can even take a round trip to 3 Canadian Members of Parliament’s constituent offices in less time than a one-way trip to Walberg’s closest office.
Our previous US Representative, John Dingell maintained a District Office in the City of Monroe. In December 2021, John Iacoangeli described during his last meeting on City Council that his most proud legacy was working with John Dingell to create the National Park in Monroe, “It took 20 years and a variety of nonprofits, state partners, and a determined Congressman by the name of John Dingell to advance this vision.” (2).
Walberg’s occasional visits to Monroe are not to advance any sort of “vision” to make our hometown a welcoming destination for the rest of the world. On April 7, Walberg held an invitation-only town hall in the City of Monroe. Afterward, the information was posted under the “Past Events” dropdown tab of his webpage – there is no such, “Upcoming Events” tab. Instead, likely supporters received invitation mailers and robocall announcements through exclusive Republican campaign vendors, Jamestown Associates and Advantage Inc (3). The Monroe News article captured the scene how Walberg spoke in front of displays with Orwellian nonsense slogans, “Inflation is Taxation”, then took questions from his selected attendees on topics ranging the extreme right-wing culture war gamut: deregulating fossil fuels - sympathy for insurrectionists who assaulted police on January 6th - and hateful lies about transgender people (4). For more than 10 years, Walberg’s vision for Monroe has come into practice as an isolated place doling favor for his partisan cronies who share his oppressive prejudices.
2) December 20, 2021 - Outgoing Monroe City Councel Member, John Iacoangeli Reflected that his “most proud legacy” was working with John Dingell to Dedicate a National Park in Monroe:
Video (1:26:30 mark): https://www.youtube.com/live/QLVW8LHwj2A?feature=share
3) House Statement of Disbursements – Receipts of Expenses from Walberg’s Government Office: https://www.house.gov/the-house-explained/open-government/statement-of-disbursements
4) April 7, 2023 – Monroe News Article about Walberg’s Invitation-only Town Hall in Monroe: https://www.monroenews.com/story/news/politics/2023/04/07/rep-tim-walberg-community-gathering-monroe/70085637007/
On Separation of Church & State
by Nick Faryniarz
The GOP has found a new group to subjugate, LGBTQ+ folks. It is no surprise that the wonderful people of the community are under attack, as they are very progressive, which is a threat to the GOP. However, as the title of this article suggests, this is not just an article stating the obvious, it suggests there is a much greater threat by the GOP’s attack on the LGBTQ+ community than just another group being subjugated; these attacks blur the line between a fundamental principle in the Constitution, the separation of church and state.
According to USA Today, there have been over 650 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in 46 states, a major increase from the 315 introduced last year (1). Breaking down those numbers even more, 300 bills focus on attacking the community where they are most vulnerable: in school. According to CNN, 11 states have passed 24 bills into law, most of which are in deep red states (Iowa and Georgia are the exceptions) (2). One law however points to a much bigger concern, in West Virginia, HB 3042 attacks the LGBTQ+ community on a solely religious basis (3).
One must question the validity of such acts; at what point does the guise of religious freedom cross the line of separation of church and state? Separation of church and state is a fundamental part of the U.S. government, and it is twofold. One, it prohibits the government from interfering with the practice of one’s religion. Two, it prevents people from being discriminated against based on their lifestyles in relation to one’s religion.
Recent GOP attacks on the community are based almost solely on religion, though in official statements they will use the false allegations of “child abuse” or “parental rights” to justify legislation. However simply listen to GOP officials and it becomes clear the objective is based on religion, which is a violation of the concept of separation of church and state. Locally, State Reps. Jamie Thompson (R) and Jim DeSana (R) both voted no on the Elliott-Larsen expansion to include the LGBTQ+ community based on “religious liberties” which is a blatant violation of separating church and state (4 & 5).
It is a problem that is not discussed enough, and it has an impact on everyone. If the GOP is allowed to continue attacking people from a religious stance, it sets a very dangerous precedent that does not end with LGBTQ+ people. Anti-Semitism is on the rise in America, and the Anti-Muslim sentiment is alive in the GOP, and if they are allowed to attack the LGBTQ+ community based on religion, imagine the damage an increasingly Evangelical GOP legislature and executive branches could do to other marginalized people. It’s important for level-minded Christians to follow the advice of the Pope, who has expressed support of the LGBTQ+ community, to silence the loud minority which is currently winning the battle against the entire community.
MONROE OPIOID CRISIS!
By Dr. Denise Broooks
The City of Monroe had 14 overdoses in 2020 and tied as the 10th highest overdose death rate in Michigan followed by Monroe Township in 11th place with 8 overdoses in the same year. (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services) Health care providers egally prescribe Opioid-based painkillers to manage patients with chronic and severe pain and for some patients over time it creates a dependance and creates a drug tolerance. Commonly prescribed opioids include oxycodone, fentanyl, buprenorphine, methadone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. Many suffering from addiction switch to heroin due to it being readily available and a much cheaper strret cost. The lack of access to proper help after reduction in services and social support systems create a barrier to obtaining the resources needed. 7 per 10,000 residents in 2020, the most recent year available. Eight people died of an overdose in Monroe Township in 2020, or 6 per 10,000, according to the data. Ecorse had the highest rate in Michigan with 13 deaths per 10,000 and Detroit had 6 deaths per 10,000 people. There is more than one causation. The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with overdoses killing nearly 47,000 people per year. Thanks to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Health & Safety Education grant program in the 2018 Farm Bill, which U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow co-authored, allotted $392,462 in federal funds to address the opioid crisis in rural Michigan.
Senator Stabenow stated “This innovative project will help expand access to treatment and prevention programs in rural Michigan.” (1)
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation in May 2022 to help provide Michigan families impacted and be instrumental in preventing more deaths. “The opioid crisis touches families across our state, which is why it’s so crucial to ensure that Michiganders facing substance use issues have the support and resources they need to get better,” said Governor Whitmer. “Time is not on our side when it comes to Michigan’s opioid epidemic” said Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Monroe County’s award from the National Opioid Settlement equates to $338,505 per year. The plans of use will be reviewed by third parties requesting input and needed clarifications to ensure compliance and sound practices (2)
OPIOID HELPLINE: 1-800-662-4357 | www.hhs.gov/opioids