Moolenaar talks climate change, education during biannual Legislative Breakfast


As the Nov. 8 election approaches, Congressman John Moolenaar hopes students know he’s a man who will fight for education.

“I appreciate that students want to be optimistic about the economy and that when they graduate, there will be jobs,” said Moolenaar, R-Midland. “To me, having a strong economy is vital to doing that.”

Moolenaar was one of four elected officials who spoke inside a packed conference room Friday, Oct. 28 at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. As a part of the Mount Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast, Moolenaar was joined by Michigan Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter, State Sen. Judy Emmons and Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal Leader Frank Cloutier.

The four gave updates about their time working with the Michigan or Tribal governing bodies, and discussed what they believed could be improved upon.

For the incumbent Moolenaar, this was especially important, as he is seeking reelection in November against Democrat Debra Wirth. His question and answer time at the end of the breakfast allowed for him to flesh out several ideas he touched upon in his address.

“Keeping our people safe, making sure there are job opportunities for our citizens and making sure our educational system is benefitting students and helping them transition into the workplace with the skills they need to compete in a global economy are some of the most important things (for me during my time in office),” Moolenaar said.

Moolenaar was first elected to Congress in November 2014. He represents Michigan’s 4th congressional district, which covers 15 districts from Cadillac to Owosso. The district has been represented by a Republican since the 1970s. Moolenaar’s seat was previously held by fellow Midland Republican Dave Camp.

The congressman serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on the Budget.

One of the main points of Cloutier’s address surrounded issues of climate change. He spoke about the controversy surrounding the Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline, which runs under the Straits of Mackinac.

When pressed upon the issue of global warming, Moolenaar said he believed some of the policies put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency were “overreaching” and could do more harm than good.

“When you get into the policy prescriptions (regarding global warming), you say ‘What is the (appropriate) response? What are the appropriate policies to address these in respect to making sure we have a strong economy and that regulations aren’t overreached,’” he said. “I think there needs to be common ground. I don’t think we’re there right now. My hope is to have a policy that recognizes good science and the importance of a strong energy policy.”

He listed renewable energies like solar and wind power as a good start, but said they “don’t get you to where you need to be” like “clean coal” and nuclear energy does.

State Senator speaks on unregulated adoptions

Emmons gave updates on pieces of legislation she is making a priority for her committee after the election during the legislative breakfast as well.

Initiatives she talked about ranged from issues on criminal justice reform to unregulated adoption.

Emmons, who serves Michigan’s 33rd district, said a piece of legislation came through her committee regarding unregulated adoptions.

“If there is a private adoption and you choose to go back on it, (you now) must proceed through the court system,” Emmons said. “There is oversight because we were losing children in our system.”

Before the bill, if someone decided they no longer wanted to adopt, going back on their private adoption, there was no oversight required for it to go through the court system, Emmons said.

She said unregulated adoptions could perpetuate human trafficking, and said she has plans for more bills related to the issue.

In terms of criminal justice reform, Emmons brought up how Michigan is one of seven states that still treat 17 year olds as adults in the justice system.

“There will be more to come on this,” Emmons said. “It’s a significant decision if we change that.”

The senator said there were compelling arguments on both sides of the issue.


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