LANSING, Mich. (WZMQ) – Following Governor Gretchen Whitmers ‘What’s Next’ address last week, lawmakers are outlining where they agree, and what other things they’d like to prioritize as they return to the capitol. Representative Dave Prestin is the House legislator for Michigan’s 108th district. He 108th includes Menominee, Luce, Schoolcraft, Delta, and parts of Chippewa and Mackinac counties.
Representative Prestin said he’s concerned the goals being set by the Governor aren’t attainable for The Upper Peninsula, with the differing challenges we have to face.
During her address, Governor Whitmer discussed changes she’d like to see made to state permitting processes to streamline them. Representative Prestin says he believes those changes would take power away from local municipalities, who know what’s better for their communities than the officials in Lansing.
“Local governments are much more cognizant of their neighbors, of the people within their district, of the consequences to their environment, to their land values, and to their neighbors in the district.” Rep. Prestin said. “Down here, they don’t see it that way.”
The Governor also outlined a 100% clean energy standard for the state of Michigan, to reach carbon neutrality with sustainable energy sources and reducing wasted energy. Representative Prestin says that while he does not entirely disagree with the idea, the infrastructure for clean energy in The UP needs more work than could be accomplished before 2035. With the current state of solar and wind farms, and even chargers for electric vehicles, he says it’s not something that he thinks will work for The UP.
Representative Prestin works as a first responder as well. He says training for electric vehicle crashes isn’t as widely taught as it would need to be when more EV’s are rolled out. With miles or rural population in the UP, the worry is drivers could end up stranded and unprepared for the sometimes unpredictable UP weather.
As the Legislature heads back into regular sessions for the fall, Representative Prestin said he’d like to see more investments put into rural communities like funding for local roads, and that he’d like to see these projects completed, instead of just talked about.
WZMQ will be talking with the rest of the UP legislators, Representatives Hill (109) and Markkanen(110), as well as Senator McBroom, about their legislative priorities moving forward.