Coleman’s Eight Point Plan to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy

Michigan just recorded its ninth straight year of job growth, adding roughly 44,000 jobs in 2017. Almost 80 percent of the jobs lost in Michigan during the Great Recession have been restored. While this is encouraging news, there is still much work to be done. 320,000 Michigan residents who were employed in 2000 still cannot find work. That’s why creating jobs and strengthening our economy will ALWAYS be my top priority in Congress.

While our legislators are engaged in partisan bickering, families across the 13th District continue to struggle to make ends meet. Despite being the third poorest Congressional District in the country, the residents of the 13th will go over a year without representation, the longest vacancy for a House seat in 20 years. The voters will expect their next Congressperson to work across the aisle and put aside party politics. I pledge to file and support bi-partisan legislation that will get Michiganders back to work, because I believe that working together is the best way to solve our problems.

Our economic recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. In Congress I will fight for Michigan’s manufacturing industry, by voting against unfair trade deals and disastrous trade tariffs. I will support small businesses and farmers by working to eliminate unnecessary regulation that does not protect the public or consumers. Instead of participating in the political circus, I am going to Congress to actually do something that will help the economy.

Most recently, Detroit’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters was rejected, citing a lack of mass transit and a questionable ability to attract talent. One of the best ways we can grow Michigan’s economy is by putting its citizens back to work rebuilding Michigan. It is important that we support skilled trades education in our schools and criminal justice system, so that Michigan has the skilled workers it needs to build mass transit and fixing our roads, overpasses, ports and bridges.

To grow Michigan’s middle class and improve working people’s lives, I will:

Support Michigan Manufacturing

Michigan’s 13th Congressional District is located in one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing jobs in the world.  Manufacturing employs over 608,500 in Michigan and accounts for almost one-fifth of our state’s economic output. Manufacturing has also played a huge role in Michigan’s recovery; 175,600 new manufacturing jobs have been created since June 2009. Supporting manufacturers, helping them grow and hire good people is critical to our economy.

The average wage and benefits in manufacturing are 27.4% higher than other jobs. Yet, nationally, between 600,000 and 800,000 high-paying jobs will remain unfilled due to a lack of workers with the necessary skills. Over the next decade, nearly two million manufacturing jobs are expected to go unfilled, due to the skills gap. As our next member of Congress, I am committed to closing this skills gap by supporting legislation that will create more effective workforce training and development programs and expand “on-the-job” training programs.

The Trump administration's plan to add a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum, will come at the cost of auto jobs and U.S. pocketbooks. In 2002, President George W. Bush attempted to protect U.S. steel by imposing a 30 percent tariff, which exempted Canada and Mexico. Just under 200,000 jobs were lost (more than the entire U.S. steel industry), due to higher steel prices caused by the tariff. Michigan directly lost 9,829 jobs because of the tariffs.  The program was abandoned after 20 months of the scheduled 60-month tariff.

The Beer Institute stated that the 10 percent tariff on aluminum would cost the industry $347.7 million and more than 20,000 jobs. Tariffs are also expected to impact the construction industry, which use large amounts of steel and aluminum. As our next member of Congress, I will vote to end trade agreements that do not benefit Michigan workers. U.S. trade deals should put American workers and American businesses first.

Invest in Alternative Energy

The rapid expansion of alternative energy provides Michigan with a unique opportunity to diversify its manufacturing base and improve the quality of life for Michigan residents. Clean energy manufacturing contributes $1.35 trillion to the global economy and more than $200 billion to the U.S. economy. Governments have, in the past, used the high cost of producing clean/renewable energy as a reason for not implementing this technology. As the per kilowatt costs for renewable energy is now less than that of non-renewable costs for both DTE and Consumers Energy, the market will continue to grow.

Additionally, when analyzing of the cost difference between renewable and non-renewable energy, the associated health care costs to residents is often not accounted for, as well as the damage done to natural resources. Michigan’s older coal fired facilities contributed to over $1 billion dollars a year in health care costs and damages to Michigan residents. When all of these factors are taken into account, clean/renewable energy is comparable in its costs to non-renewable energy.

New sources of clean and renewable energy can be to the 21st century what coal, oil and gas was to the 20th century. By making smart investments, we can ensure that renewable energy and all the jobs that come with it – jobs in construction, design, development, engineering, maintenance, and manufacturing – are a foundation of our economy for generations to come. As our next member of Congress, I will support legislation that will reduce electricity costs, lower carbon emissions, and create high-quality, good-paying jobs.

Support Small Business Owners

The majority of Americans work for a small business. Since 1993, small business owners are responsible for over 60 percent of new jobs. Economic growth does not begin with rule making in Washington, it begins in the private sector. The fastest and best way to propel this economy forward is to get these businesses hiring again.

For the last eleven years, I have worked to help small businesses succeed and grow.  I am proud to represent hard-working families in the business community through my service on the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. I’ve seen firsthand the challenges and issues many of our businesses are facing, and I work every day to be their voice in the Michigan Legislature.

Our government should level the playing field for small businesses by taking a common-sense approach to regulation. As our next member of Congress, I will support legislation that will hold rule breakers accountable, without putting small business-owners at a disadvantage.

Support Michigan’s Farmers

Michigan's agriculture industry contributes almost $100 billion to the State’s economy and employs about 22 percent of the workforce. As with manufacturing, the agriculture industry has found that the lack of a local workforce with the requisite education and job skills make it hard for many businesses to relocate their operations to the District. Similarly, the local school systems are facing major challenges educating and training youth that are able to support the area's changing economy. This has led to high levels of unemployment and leaves Wayne County residents at a significant disadvantage when attempting to attract and retain businesses.

In addition to classroom programs, both government and community-based organizations should support after school programs, like 4-H and FFA, that focus on job preparedness and academic achievement. As our next member of Congress, I will support legislation that expands vocational, career and technical education in Wayne County schools, community colleges and our criminal justice system.

As with business regulation, our government should regulate agriculture in a manner that promotes job growth and business expansion, while protecting our environment. Legislation that affects our food production capabilities should be implemented in a manner that ensures the safety of the public and our environment, without placing our farmers at an unfair disadvantage. This begins by including farmers in the decision-making that affects U.S. agriculture. As our next member of Congress, I pledge to always give those who feed us a voice in the Capitol.

Develop a Regional Inter-modal Transit Network

Detroit's lack of a robust regional transit network was cited as one of the main reasons the bid to host Amazon’s second North American headquarters was rejected. Investment in public transportation enables employers to find employees, and helps retailers find customers. Public transportation provides personal mobility and freedom for people from every walk of life.

Public transportation has a positive effect on the economy and real estate prices; between $4 and $9 of economic activity results from every dollar spent on public transportation. Public transportation spending also creates jobs; every $1 billion invested in public transportation supports and creates more than 50,000 jobs. As our next member of Congress, I will support legislation that encourages the development of regional mass transit.

According to Michigan Radio, 53% of the state’s economic activity happens within 20 miles of downtown Detroit. The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest border crossing in America, with over 10,000 trucks crossing daily and the Port of Detroit is the third largest international gateway in the U.S. This influx of traffic makes Detroit the 13th most congested city in the country. Yet, according to the East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group, Detroit’s mass transit ranks 32nd out of the 35 metro areas they track.

Reducing congestion increases quality of life by decreasing the amount of time residents spend commuting. Freeing up the roadways also ensures that the goods coming into and going out of the state get to their destinations quicker. Traffic congestion alone costs our country billions in wasted time and fuel. Developing a regional inter-modal passenger transport system is the solution to reducing congestion in the Motor City. As our next member of Congress, I will support legislation that reduces congestion, by implementing an inter-modal transportation system.

Rebuild Our Roads & Bridges

Much attention has been paid to the deteriorating condition of Detroit’s roads. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has announced a $100 million investment in roads and bridges in Detroit over the next decade. Unfortunately, new highway construction has not kept pace with growth in travel. According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, while the average commute has increased 76 percent, the number of miles added to highways has only increased 1.5 percent. 

It’s estimated that over 70% of our nation’s roads and bridges are in mediocre to poor condition. Investment in a new bridge or a modern highway is an investment in our future. As our next member of Congress, I will support sensible, long-term investments in our nation’s infrastructure.

Modernize Our Infrastructure

An economy based on modern, advanced manufacturing, needs a modern, advanced infrastructure.  Much of the Michigan’s infrastructure is at the end of its useful life and threatens the state’s public health and safety. In 2017, The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Michigan’s infrastructure a grade of “D+.”  To be competitive, Michigan needs a 21st-century infrastructure network that meets the demands of our 21st-century economy.

If our deteriorating infrastructure goes unaddressed, it will cost the national economy nearly $4 trillion by 2025, leading to the loss of 2.5 million jobs. But if we address it, we can create millions of jobs. For every $1 billion we invest in infrastructure improvements, more than 30,000 jobs are created. Just as President Roosevelt did with the Public Works Administration, we can get Michiganders back to work fixing Michigan.

Detroit has at least 125,000 lead service lines, more than the rest of the state combined. By engaging in an aggressive infrastructure reboot, we can ensure that no one else suffers from the terrible disaster that occurred in Flint. In addition to repairing our utilities infrastructure, the federal government must prioritize expanding broadband and bringing faster Internet to our communities so all Michiganders can compete in the 21st century economy. As our next member of Congress, I will support legislation that provides much needed infrastructure repairs.

Make Michigan’s Minimum Wage a Living Wage

I believe the minimum wage should be a living wage. As our next member of Congress, I will support an increase in the federal minimum wage indexed to cost of living and implemented at a pace that allows employers to adapt their business plans.