State Rep. Whiteford Says Mental Health, Broadband Access, Auto Insurance Are Top Priorities

12 hours ago

Mary Whiteford
Credit Official State Legislature Photo

State Representative Mary Whiteford says she hopes to work on improving broadband access, bringing down auto insurance costs and mental health access if she wins a second full term in the state House.

Whiteford represents the 80the state House district, which includes most of Allegan County. The Republican won a partial term in a special election in 2016 after Cindy Gamrat was expelled from the House. Whiteford then won a full term in November of that year.

Legislation to address mental health did pass the House earlier this year. Whiteford sponsored one of the bills in the package. She wants the state to create a hotline to connect people who need help with providers in their area. Whiteford says people who need mental health care often end up in an emergency room. She says that is not the right place to get connections to care. Whiteford says a hotline could help people get the care they need nearby and soon.

Whiteford says many of the townships in her district need better broadband service. She says it’s expensive because there is no business model to get service to places that don’t have it. Whiteford says some state grants are being used to get broadband access. She says the process should be more efficient to focus on areas that are unserved. Whiteford says federal money can also help with broadband access.

Michigan’s high auto insurance rates are something that Whiteford says her constituents want fixed. She says too many people can’t afford auto insurance in Michigan. Whiteford says there should be an auto insurance fee structure so higher rates are not charged for auto related accidents. She also supports a fraud authority.

Asked about open records, Whiteford says the governor’s office and the Legislature should be subject to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act. She says it’s important to have transparency with taxpayer dollars.