November 19, 2017

Columns

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

 

Promising News for 21st  Century Curesupton col header

 You’ve probably heard me talk a fair amount about 21 st Century Cures over the past few months, but there are some exciting new developments I didn’t want you to miss. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senator Lamar Alexander, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have all joined in making the push for 21st Century Cures. In a July interview, Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee – which has jurisdiction over medical innovation legislation, said that the Senate should finish its work on 21st Century Cures in September. “Rarely do we have such an opportunity: it includes support for the president’s Precision Medicine and the Vice President’s Cancer Moonshot….Majority Leader McConnell says he wants to pass the bill this year….this could be the most important legislation Congress passes this year, and there’s no excuse for not finishing our work,” he concluded. Also in a July interview, Speaker Paul Ryan noted, “We’re making good progress on cures. We intend to work over recess on cures. It’s a pretty big deal.” These developments are very promising. 21st Century Cures is a bipartisan effort led by myself and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., that aims to safely speed up the approvals of life-saving drugs and devices and provides resources to help find cures to diseases faster. We took a unique approach to this initiative: Listening first. Dozens of bipartisan hearings and roundtables took place in Washington, D.C., and across the country – including one at the new Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. The result was H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, which was then was approved by the House of Representatives in July of 2015 by a 344-77 vote. The fight for #CuresNow continues. To learn more about this and other important legislative issues, please visit my website: upton.house.gov.

 

al pscholka column header 05-10-2012Our area farmers

 While most of us are out enjoying the many things that make Michigan summers great, our area farmers are hard at work bringing another tradition to the table—fresh fruit and vegetables. Michigan ranks as the second most diverse agriculture industry in the country with over 300 commodities grown throughout the state. Looking around southwest Michigan it should come as no surprise we rank that high. Driving around, you will see everything from corn and hay grown for livestock feed, fields of cucumbers destined to become pickles, and fruit trees and berry patches that make Michigan’s summertime so sweet. It is no wonder that so many folks call this God’s Country. Agriculture is a top industry in Michigan with over $100 billion in economic impact and employing 22% of Michigan’s workforce—that is about 1 in 5 working Michiganders. These are the hardworking farmers planning meticulously each year for the best crop. Also, the harvesters bringing baskets and truckloads of fresh produce in from the fields are included. As well as the processors who make some of our favorite foods. With such a vibrant and robust industry, it is important that we continue to lead in agriculture research and technology. By staying on the cutting edge, our farmers are able to continue providing economic benefits and jobs in our local communities. To this end, I included additional funding in the state budget for projects such as the Michigan Fruit Tree Commission and Value Added Grants that help producers stay competitive in the global food market. So as you are out enjoying this Michigan summer, do not forget to support your local farmers and pick up some of that sweet southwest Michigan fruit. As always, if you have questions or comments about state government, call us at (888) 656-0079 or by e-mail at alpscholka@house.mi.gov.

For your health & safety

Staying cool in the summer

 Heat illness can occur when your body cannot cool down, resulting in sickness and even death. While anyone can be affected by heat illness, certain groups are more vulnerable, including children, elderly adults, those who are overweight, people with medical conditions, people who take certain medications, and people who work in hot conditions.  To avoid heat illness, try to stay cool and hydrated. If you do not have air conditioning at home, find a public place to go like a mall or library.  Take a cool shower or bath, and cover windows to keep the sunlight out. Make sure to drink enough water. Avoid drinks that contain alcohol or lots of sugar.  Most importantly, never leave children (or pets) in a parked car unattended.  Heat exhaustion causes sweating, cramps, tiredness, weakness, headache, cool and moist skin, fast and weak pulse, fast breathing, nausea, and fainting. If you suspect that someone may have heat exhaustion, get them out of the sun, lay them down and loosen their clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths to their body. Give them sips of a cool, non-alcoholic drink. It is important to get medical help right away for infants, the elderly or if the person has a medical condition.  Heat stroke is more serious, causing the following: skin feels hot and dry (not sweaty), has a high temperature (above 103°), rapid, strong pulse, throbbing headache, and possible dizziness, nausea, confusion, unconsciousness, and even death.  If you suspect someone is having a heat stroke, call 911 right away. Put the person in a tub of cool water, shower them with a hose, or use any method to cool them. Do not give the person alcohol to drink.  For more information, call the Health Department at (269) 926-7121.

news from lansing  col head 2-2-06

Supporting our local heroes

 Law enforcement officers and first responders put their lives on the line every day to safeguard our families and communities. Sadly, some of these brave men and women never return home.  In light of recent tragic incidents, I spoke with my children about some things that I think we should all keep in mind.  Police play a vital role in an orderly, civil society. They are the very symbol of order in a civil society, and an attack on one of them is really an attack on all of us.  We place our sacred trust in our law enforcement officers, and the vast majority of them meets or exceeds our high expectations. However, we must hold accountable the few bad actors who abuse or break that trust.  We have citizens who feel left out or discriminated against, and we should hear their voices.  However, if we allow violence to be the answer to our problems, we will not have a society worth defending.  Unfortunately, our community has now joined places like Dallas and Baton Rouge in shock and grief following the murder of law enforcement officers.  At first, I was saddened for our community, but when I looked out my office window, I was proud to see the professionalism and heroism of our police officers and first responders.  They rushed toward the courthouse without regard for their personal safety. Ultimately, two honorable court officers lost their lives.  Our thoughts and prayers remain with Joseph Zangaro and Ron Kienzle and their families. We are blessed to have amazing and selfless officers like them who serve and protect us. May God speed them home and may God bless the men and women who serve our nation in uniform.  As always, I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback on the important issues facing Michigan. You can contact me at 517-373-6960.