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Strengthening the Economy and Creating Jobs

The son of a public school teacher and nurse’s aide, Gary grew up in a middle class family. His parents instilled in him the value of hard work. In the Senate, he is fighting to create good-paying jobs for every Michigander. Whether that’s strengthening the manufacturing sector, supporting small businesses, closing the digital divide, creating union jobs that fix our country’s infrastructure, or expanding skills training and apprenticeships, Gary has achieved results for workers and families across the state.

Manufacturing in Michigan

Michigan built the middle class and is proudly home to the beating heart of the global auto industry. Gary has been forward-thinking in his determination to ensure Michigan can continue to be a hub for manufacturing, innovation, and new technologies that will transform our state’s economy.

That’s why he coauthored and helped pass into law the bipartisan American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which ensures America maintains a competitive edge in the global economy by incentivizing private-sector innovation, improving advanced manufacturing, and expanding the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program. Gary also helped enact the CHIPS and Science Act, which will boost domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips that are crucial to our supply chains. Gary secured critical provisions for Michigan in that law, including $2 billion for the type of semiconductors that are most important to the auto industry.

Gary was instrumental in passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the bipartisan infrastructure law, in 2021 – making a generational investment in our nation’s infrastructure. The law has already helped rebuild roads and bridges, expand access to clean drinking water, strengthen our rail networks, and ensure every American has access to high-speed internet. It will leave the next generation of Michiganders with more resilient infrastructure while creating high-paying jobs across the state.

Gary also helped pass the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022 – landmark legislation that invested in the clean energy sector, lifted up American workers, and created good-paying, union jobs across the country. Experts estimate that the climate provisions in this bill have created 170,000 jobs and led to $110 billion in green manufacturing investments in the last year alone. This law will continue to benefit the clean energy sector for decades to come – and Gary will keep working to ensure that the green economy is made in Michigan.

Supporting Our Small Businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of the economy. Throughout his time in the Senate, Gary’s been focused on making sure small businesses have the support they need to start, grow, and succeed. Gary worked to increase the cap for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) loan program so that Michigan small businesses could get the loans they needed. Gary has also worked to prevent small businesses from falling victim to fraud when procuring federal contracts. In 2017, his provision was signed into law requiring that small businesses be notified of free assistance available to them when registering to accept federal contracts. In 2018, Gary’s Small Business Innovation Protection Act was signed into law, which built upon existing outreach programs run by the SBA and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), to better inform small businesses of domestic and international intellectual property protections. Under this new law, entrepreneurs who can’t afford a team of patent lawyers will have more assistance in protecting their intellectual property so they can continue to grow their businesses here at home.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gary worked to help pass the American Rescue Plan Act, which provided an additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program and added $15 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance program to help the hardest hit small businesses. This bill also included legislation he led to reauthorize the State Small Business Credit Initiative—a program he helped establish while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. He secured $10 billion in new funding for this program that helps small businesses grow and create jobs in Michigan and across the country.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Gary is continually fighting for resources important to Michigan small businesses, including securing federal funding to spur investment and economic growth in undeserved and rural communities, create new small businesses, and encourage job creation in Michigan.

Apprenticeships and Career Training

Gary recognizes that not every student wants to pursue a four-year college degree as a pathway to find a good-paying job. Apprenticeships, career and technical education, and skills training are all good options for students and workers. He also enacted bipartisan legislation to strengthen school counselors’ training in career and technical education opportunities for their students. Gary also helped enact legislation to maximize STEM research opportunities by eliminating red-tape, strengthening oversight of taxpayer-funded research, and improving public-private sector partnerships that support small and medium-sized manufacturers. 

Closing the Digital Divide

In Gary’s travels across Michigan one thing is clear: we need to expand access to high-speed, affordable broadband, especially in rural and underserved communities. Just as connecting all homes to electricity was a 20th century priority, expanding broadband must be a 21st century priority. As we live in an increasingly interconnected society, taking classes, receiving medical care, and doing business has become more reliant on high-speed broadband than ever.

In March 2020, Gary’s bipartisan Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Data Act (DATA) Act became law. The law aims to improve the accuracy of broadband availability maps. Accurate maps are key to closing the digital divide in rural and urban communities across Michigan. The law also empowers local communities where this digital divide is felt the most by introducing a new process for consumers, state, local and tribal governments, and other groups to challenge Federal Communications Commission (FCC) maps with their own data.

The bipartisan infrastructure law included critical investments to expand our country’s broadband networks, while cutting costs for consumers. The infrastructure law included the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program. As a result of the infrastructure law and Gary’s Broadband DATA Act, Michigan is set to receive over $2.4 billion to expand high-speed, affordable internet and increase digital literacy to bridge the digital divide—receiving one of the largest investments of any state in the country.