Business and Trade Groups Back Rep. Winnie Brinks’ Campaign

Several organizations support Brinks for business growth, job creation

GRAND RAPIDS — Rep. Winnie Brinks has earned the support of several business and trade organizations in her race to return to Lansing for her third term as the 76th House District representative. Groups endorsing Brinks include the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Association of Michigan, the Michigan Credit Union League, the Michigan Bankers Association and the Michigan Agri-Business Association. In addition, the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers also supports Brinks.

“I truly value the support these groups have given me, because we share the same goals: bringing more good-paying jobs to Michigan and creating an economic environment where businesses thrive,” Rep. Brinks said. “I look forward to working with these organizations, as well as my colleagues in Lansing, to strengthen our state’s economy and bring financial security to small-business owners and working families.”

During her current term in office, Brinks worked hard to bring the Switch data center to Grand Rapids, a move that will bring more than 1,000 jobs to West Michigan. She has also fought to improve infrastructure that businesses rely on to move goods to market, and to improve schools and education, so that Michigan’s young people leave high school, trade schools and colleges ready to take the promising jobs of the future.

“Michigan relies on businesses — from small family-run enterprises to major manufacturers — to create jobs and make our state prosperous,” Brinks said. “I’m honored that so many business organizations have put their trust in me, and I will work with them to make Michigan’s economy work for everyone.”


Women’s Groups Back Rep. Winnie Brinks’ Re-Election Bid

Brinks supported by MI Women Win, Planned Parenthood, others

GRAND RAPIDS — State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) has picked up endorsements from several women’s groups in her re-election campaign. Brinks, who also acts as chairwoman of the Michigan Progressive Women’s Caucus, has made women’s health and economic security one of her highest priorities in Lansing.

“I’ve been passionate about women’s economic opportunities and women’s access to quality health care long before I came to office, and once elected, I’ve made it my mission to bring financial security and good health care to women,” Rep. Brinks said. “It’s gratifying to have the support of groups such as Planned Parenthood and MI Women Win because it means I’m working hard for Michigan’s women.”

Rep. Brinks recently introduced legislation that would make sure that female firefighters could easily access workers’ compensation in the event they develop breast cancer after inhaling harmful chemicals on the job, just as lung cancer, prostate cancer and eight other forms of cancer are included in the First Responders Presumed Coverage Fund. She also fought to help women with dense breast tissue get the information and extra cancer screenings they need to detect breast cancer early, and has fought for numerous initiatives to improve women’s access to health care and end the persistent wage gap. She’s fought for several tax cuts that would help working women, such as reinstating the $600 per-child tax deduction.

Women’s groups that have endorsed Brinks include the Progressive Women’s Alliance of West Michigan, Planned Parenthood and Michigan Women Win.

“Winnie sponsored proposals to bring tax relief to middle-class families and to improve the quality of care at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. She has introduced several proposals that would help women fight breast cancer, and introduced legislation that would hold Michigan government accountable to the citizens of Michigan,” MI Women Win said in its endorsement. “Helping people succeed continues to be Winnie’s passion as she works in the Legislature.”


Environmental Groups Endorse Rep. Brinks, Candidate for 76th House District

Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, League of Conservation Voters pick Brinks

GRAND RAPIDS — Numerous environmental and clean energy organizations have endorsed the 76th House District campaign of state Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids). Brinks, running for her third term in the state House, has made a priority of protecting the environment and ensuring that the natural resources that sustain jobs, tourism and recreation in our state are maintained for future generations. Groups supporting Brinks include the Sierra Club, Michigan Clean Water Action and League of Conservation Voters.

“Michigan is blessed to have natural resources unique in the world, such as our Great Lakes and deep woodlands,” Rep. Brinks said. “We’re also home to a growing renewable energy industry that has created thousands of jobs across our state. I’m excited about the opportunities created by these new technologies and Michigan’s natural resources, and I will work hard to protect them so that our children and grandchildren will benefit from them.”

Michigan environmental groups noted her dedication to protecting the environment and natural resources.

“Sierra Club endorsed candidates are champions who demonstrate strong leadership in promoting clean air, clean water, cleaner energy and a healthier Michigan,” said Mike Berkowitz, political director of the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, in his announcement of the group’s endorsement of Brinks. “Our members are committed to making sure voters are aware of the strong environmental values of these endorsed candidates. We will work hard to ensure they are sent to Lansing next year.”

Nic Clark, Michigan Director of Michigan Clean Water Action, said Brinks’ dedication to protecting the Great Lakes and ensuring all Michiganders have access to clean drinking water made endorsing her a logical choice.

In announcing the group’s endorsement, Clark said that the organization “voted unanimously in support of [Brinks’] endorsement. … Our 2016 electoral priorities include supporting and helping elect candidates who will fight to protect our Great Lakes way of life, and to ensure that all Michiganders have access to clean water that is swimmable, drinkable and fishable.”


Rep. Brinks Picks Up Endorsements from Education Organizations

Education, from pre-kindergarten through college, is a priority for Brinks

GRAND RAPIDS — State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) has earned the support of both teachers and school administrators as she runs for her third term as the representative for Michigan’s 76th House District. The Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers and Michigan Association of School Administrators have all endorsed her candidacy.

“Protecting and improving our state’s public education system is one of the most important jobs of a state legislator, and one that I take very seriously,” Rep. Brinks said. “I have fought to increase funding for schools, both locally and statewide, and worked to make our schools more responsive to the needs of our kids as they prepare for their careers. I’m proud to have fostered important relationships with teachers and school administrators, and I welcome their support.”

Rep. Brinks has fought to restore school funding to the level it was before Lansing politicians sharply reduced funding in 2011. She has also supported vocational training programs, pre-kindergarten programs, student loan reform and other measures that benefit students and their families.

In its letter of endorsement, Curt Finch, chairman of the Michigan Association of School Administrators’ Political Action Committee, said that Brinks has “been identified as a candidate with a strong background and interest in public education, and we felt it was important to support (her) candidacy.”

Brinks, whose husband works as a high school teacher in East Grand Rapids, has three daughters. Two of them are working on their bachelor’s degrees, while the third is still in high school.

“Education is vitally important to my family, as it is to families throughout Michigan,” Rep. Brinks said. “In Lansing, I will always fight to make Michigan schools the best in the nation, and to make college more affordable for every Michigan family.”

 


Rep. Brinks Earns Endorsements from Several Michigan Labor Groups

Brinks puts working families first as 76th House District representative

GRAND RAPIDS — State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), running for her third term as the representative for Michigan’s 76th House District, has picked up the endorsements of several local and statewide labor organizations. Brinks, who has made fighting for working families her priority at the Capitol, has received the support of the Michigan AFL-CIO, UAW Region 1-D, Michigan AFSCME Council 25, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, Kent-Ionia Labor Council, Michigan Nurses Association, West Michigan Building Trades Council and the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. She has also received support from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Teamsters.

“Whether working to bring more, better-paying jobs to West Michigan or working to make college education affordable for every family, I’ve always fought for Michigan’s workers,” Rep. Brinks said. “At a time when Lansing politicians cater to wealthy businesses, billionaire CEOs and funders with deep pockets, it’s crucial for families in Grand Rapids to know that someone is on their side at the Capitol. I put working families first, and I’ll continue to make them my priority in my third term.”

In the Legislature, Brinks has sponsored and co-sponsored bills that would restore tax credits and deductions that working families rely on, ensure that working women are protected from wage discrimination and require employers to allow both part- and full-time workers to accrue earned, paid sick leave. She was also a driving voice behind the effort to bring the Switch call center to Grand Rapids, a move that is expected to create 1,000 jobs.

“We regard our endorsement as a solemn trust on behalf of the working women and men whom we represent,” Michigan AFSCME President Albert Garrett said in a letter to Brinks. “Therefore, our endorsement is issued with the belief that you are the best candidate to support the interests of our members.”

Brinks draws a distinction between herself and other politicians in Lansing who have passed laws that undermine unions and bargaining rights, weakened workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance laws and bent over backward to benefit major corporations while working families still struggle to get by.

“The hardworking men and women of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters only endorse the best candidates who will stand up for them and other working families in the state of Michigan,” MRCC Political and Legislative Director Lisa Canada said. “We are proud to be on (Brinks’) team.”


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Editorial: Winnie Brinks, Brandon Dillon best to represent Grand Rapids in Lansing

Reps. Winnie Brinks and Brandon Dillon
The Grand Rapids Press Editorial Board By The Grand Rapids Press Editorial Board
on October 26, 2014 at 7:00 AM, updated October 26, 2014 at 7:11 AM

Editor’s note: The following reflects the opinion of The Grand Rapids Press editorial board.

Grand Rapids area voters would be well-served in re-electing state Reps. Brandon Dillon and Winnie Brinks to their 75th and 76th State House District seats. The two Democrats, whose districts together represent the city of Grand Rapids, have worked well together and with community leaders to serve their constituents.

Dillon faces off against Republican challenger John Lohrstorfer on Nov. 4 in his heavily Democratic district. In her half-red, half-blue district, Brinks faces a tougher challenge from Republican Donijo Dejonge, a professor of public finance at Grand Valley State University.

This is a highly competitive race because Dejonge’s analytical abilities and grasp of financial issues could be a positive combination in addressing the state’s bigger budget issues.

But Dejonge has failed to convincingly argue why voters should not send Brinks back to Lansing for a second term. Her political experience is limited to a two-year stint as Grand Rapids city comptroller. Dejonge quit that post in late 2012 after voters rejected her ballot proposal to make the position appointed instead of elected.

Brinks has shown growth as a legislator. She has focused on policy issues that are important to Grand Rapids, including road fixes, education and health care. She boasts the unanimous support of the Grand Rapids Public School Board and is endorsed by three city commissioners and Mayor George Heartwell.

If elected to a second term, Brinks should use the foundation built in her first term to become an assertive, effective legislator. This is even more important because Dillon, if re-elected, will be serving his third and final term in the House under term limits.

In order for West Michigan to get its fair share of funding for local governments, roads, schools and colleges, the region needs strong lawmakers willing to work across the aisle and are not only capable of fighting for good policy, but winning. We believe Dillon and Brinks are the best choices for the city and their constituents.

The Grand Rapids Press editorial board is editor Julie Hoogland, education reporter Monica Scott, wellness reporter Sue Thoms, business reporter Shandra Martinez and community engagement specialist Zane McMillin. Business reporter Jim Harger is serving in an ad hoc capacity on the board through the month of November.


Two Major Teachers’ Groups Support Re-Election of Rep. Brinks

Mich. Education Association, American Federation of Teachers endorse Brinks

GRAND RAPIDS – Two major teachers’ organizations have thrown their weight behind the re-election effort of Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids). The Michigan Education Association, with 150,000 members, and the American Federation of Teachers, with 35,000 Michigan members, have both endorsed Brinks’ campaign.

“Teachers and I share a common job, and that is making sure Michigan kids get the best education possible,” Brinks said. “There are few tasks more important in the Legislature than protecting and funding public education, and that is always one of my top priorities in Lansing. I have worked hard to help our kids get a world-class education, as have our teachers. I am thankful for their support, and I will always fight for Michigan’s public education system in Lansing.”

As a legislator, Brinks has consistently fought to improve education funding for Michigan schools. Through her efforts, the Grand Rapids Public Schools received an increase of $166 per pupil for next year’s budget – a 2.6 percent increase from the current budget. Grand Valley State University also received $63.1 million for operations and performance funding, and $4.3 million for their constructed capital projects. Grand Rapids Community College received $17.9 million in operations and performance funding, plus $1.8 million for constructed capital projects.

In announcing its endorsement, the AFT said it backs Brinks because of her “commitment to fighting for quality public education and the working men and women of Michigan.”

“Investing in our kids and their schools is one of the smartest things we can do, as it bears dividends not only for our children, but our state’s economy,” Brinks said. “I’m proud to support our kids and their schools, and I welcome the support of Michigan teachers, who share my goal of giving every Michigan kid a good shot at a better life.”


 

Clean Water Action Endorses Candidates Throughout Michigan

The grassroots organization announces key 2014 endorsements

LANSING, MI – Today, Clean Water Action, Michigan’s largest environmental and conservation organization, formally endorsed candidates across Michigan. Below is a list of the organization’s endorsements.

“The candidates we have endorsed have made protecting our Great Lakes among their top priorities,” said Nic Clark, Michigan Clean Water Action Director. “We have great confidence that they will stand with Michiganders and make great strides toward protecting our Great Lakes, environment, and communities.”

Clean Water Action’s top priorities include protecting the Great Lakes from pollution and invasive species, creating thousands of well-paying jobs by investing in renewable energy technologies, saving electric ratepayers money by increasing Michigan’s energy efficiency standard, pursuing innovative solutions to stormwater management by implementing green infrastructure projects, and protecting Michigan’s waters by placing stronger regulations on fracking.

Clean Water Action officially launched its 2014 election year member engagement program this spring. The organization is educating its nearly 300,000 Michigan members about the endorsed candidates and their strong environmental records and mobilizing them to get out and vote.

“In this critical time, we are working hard at the doors and on the phones to mobilize Michiganders so we can get the right people in office to protect Michigan’s waters”, Clark continued.

This announcement follows Clean Water Action’s endorsement of Mark Schauer for Governor of Michigan and Gary Peters for U.S. Senate.

Clean Water Action is Michigan’s largest grassroots conservation group with nearly 300,000 members across the state. Through direct advocacy and education Clean Water Action organizes Michigan citizens to support sustainable solutions  that will protect our environment and Great Lakes way of life.

Recent Clean Water Action 2014 Endorsements

U.S. Senate

Gary Peters

MI Governor

Mark Schauer

U.S. Congressional Districts

1 – Jerry Cannon

5 – Dan Kildee*

6 – Paul Clements

7 – Pam Byrnes

8 – Eric Schertzing

9 – Sander Levin*

State Senate Districts

7 – Dian Slavens

20 – Sean McCann

23 – Curtis Hertel Jr.

34 – Cathy Forbes

State House of Representatives Districts

18 – Sarah Roberts*

29 – Tim Greimel*

52 – Gretchen Driskell*

60 – Jon Hoadley

67 – Tom Cochran*

69 – Sam Singh*

71 – Theresa Abed*

76 – Winnie Brinks*

91 – Collene Lamonte*

101 – Thomas Stobie
* indicates incumbent


 

Michigan Credit Union League Endorses Rep. Brinks for 76th House District

Organization agrees with Brinks’ “people first” legislative priorities

GRAND RAPIDS – State Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) has earned the endorsement of the Michigan Credit Union League for her re-election bid in the 76thDistrict of the Michigan House of Representatives.

“Credit unions are member-owned and member-driven cooperatives with deep ties to their local communities,” Brinks said. “Credit union assets are reinvested in the communities where they are located in the form of mortgages, business loans, auto loans and student loans. Like Michigan’s credit unions, I strive to put the people of Michigan before corporate profits.”

Brinks has worked with credit unions to improve consumer protections in Michigan, and the Michigan Credit Union League cited Brinks understanding of the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” in announcing their endorsement of her campaign. In her first term in the state House, Brinks introduced House Bill 5030, which would direct financial institutions to inform joint account holders of the rights, responsibilities and liabilities of owning a joint account. That bill, which would help protect seniors from financial abuse, has yet to get a vote in the House Financial Services Committee.

“Both the Michigan Credit Union League and I prioritize the financial health of Michigan’s hardworking families, so I am grateful to have their endorsement,” Brinks said. “I look forward to continuing my work to help Michigan families achieve economic security during my next term.”

The Michigan Credit Union League represents 98 percent of Michigan’s 287 credit unions, which have a combined membership of 4.6 million people.


Rep. Brinks Earns Michigan Nurses Association Endorsement

Improving health care access, work place conditions a priority for Brinks

GRAND RAPIDS – The Michigan Nurses Association has endorsed state Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) in her re-election effort to return to Lansing as the representative of Michigan’s 76th House District.

“I’m grateful for the support of the Michigan Nurses Association for the upcoming election,” Brinks said. “The MNA and I share a passion for improving the delivery of quality health care to all of Michigan’s residents, which is why I introduced proposals to provide women with crucial information about breast cancer and to introduce a breast and cervical cancer fund-raising license plate. I look forward to expanding access to world-class health care in my second term.”

The MNA represents about 11,000 registered nurses in Michigan, and advocates for better working conditions for nurses and improved health care outcomes for patients. The organization’s goals are aligned with Brinks’, which is why she voted to bring health care to an estimated 400,000 Michiganders through the Healthy Michigan Plan.

“Winnie acted immediately to help one of my patients and his family when they were stuck in a state bureaucratic nightmare that jeopardized his care,” said registered nurse and MNA Vice President Bette O’Connor-Rogers of Grand Rapids. “Winnie is the kind of leader we need in Lansing – one who does the right thing even when no one is looking; one who does the right thing for the right reasons. We are fortunate to have a state representative who truly cares about everyone she represents and is committed to getting results.”

In choosing to endorse Brinks, the MNA cited her support of the Safe Patient Care Act, which would ensure that nurse-to-patient ratios are kept at a level that promote better patient outcomes and reduced nurse fatigue.

“Ensuring that each Michigander can receive vital health care is a priority I share with the members of the MNA, and I’m glad to have their support,” Brinks said. “Together, we will make sure the voices of health care providers and their patients are heard in Lansing.”

 
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