Midland Daily News — Aide dismisses voting record attacks, says Glenn will release flood funding plan

Dan Chalk | chalk@mdn.net | June 9, 2020

State Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, updated the Daily News this week on a variety of topics, ranging from Michigan House Democrats’ criticism of her voting record to assistance that is available for people filing insurance claims related to last month’s flooding.

Michigan House Democrats recently issued a news release that attacked Glenn’s voting record and included a quote from Sarah Schulz, Glenn’s Democrat challenger in the upcoming November election.

“People in our community are trying to rebuild after their homes were literally washed away,” Schulz said in the release. “Our state representative, who is supposed to stand up for people in this community, had the opportunity to bring us relief, investigate and hold people accountable for these dam failures, and help us get the additional resources we need to combat COVID-19. She did none of those things.

“Representative Glenn failed us. She failed every single person in this community by passing on and voting down these amendments. We need relief, and we need answers — and our representative made it clear she wasn’t willing to get us either of those things,” Schulz concluded.

The release stated that last Wednesday, Glenn did not vote on an amendment to appropriate $4 million for flood relief in Michigan, $2 million of which would support Midland families without flood insurance; and did not vote on another amendment to fund the attorney general’s office to support investigations in dam failures.

The release also said Glenn voted against an amendment for $9 million in federal funding for county health departments to support coronavirus needs, including testing, contact tracing and personal protective equipment.

Glenn’s legislative director, Kaylee Mead, emailed a statement to the Daily News when asked for a response to the release from Michigan House Democrats.

“While House Democrats are busy playing political games with the lives of people impacted by this flood, Annette (Glenn) has led the fight to get them critical resources, coordinated volunteer efforts, and pushed to begin a truly independent investigation (into the failure of the Edenville Dam),” Mead wrote.

“These amendments were sprung on members minutes before committee, would have redirected critical flood funding to Detroit, and allowed state bureaucrats to investigate their own failures. The people of Midland County deserve better. They deserve the real tangible results provided by Annette Glenn,” Mead continued.

Mead wrote Glenn is working on a funding plan in response to the flooding and will be releasing it soon.

“When Rep. Glenn isn’t in Midland helping with the cleanup and working with locals on the immediate response to the flooding, she is working through the budget line by line to find a responsible funding solution for Midland. Annette has developed a real plan that will be released in the coming days. It is much wiser to get this done right than to rush it through the budget process in a last-minute amendment to a coronavirus funding bill,” Mead wrote.

Glenn, who was not available for an interview on Friday, told the Daily News on Monday that her constituents broadly support having an independent agency — instead of the state department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) — investigate the failure of the Edenville Dam. EGLE is itself a defendant in multiple lawsuits related to the failure of the dam.

“I have not run into anybody in Midland who does not think we deserve an independent investigation,” Glenn said. “I think an independent investigation is absolutely the way to go. With all the lawsuits going on, including (against) the Attorney General and EGLE, it does not feel right to have them be doing the investigating.”

State Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, and Schulz, also of Midland, are among those who have also called for an independent investigation.

Glenn said that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who announced that she was assigning the investigation to EGLE during a news conference in Sanford on May 27, was back in Sanford on Monday, still saying she would like EGLE to be in charge.

Glenn, who represents eastern Midland County and part of Bay County, said she has also heard a mix of emotions from her many constituents whose homes or businesses were damaged or destroyed by the flood.

“I hear everything from immense gratitude, to frustration that things don’t move faster (in terms of getting help for rebuilding),” Glenn said. “But there’s a lot of gratitude for the community coming together and supporting each other.

“And thankfully, we’ve got the United Way that is continuing to assess needs (of people impacted by the flood). I’m in regular communication with them and with the local foundations and businesses that are stepping up to provide food, clothing and shelter while we await longer-term answers, which we hope to be coming soon,” Glenn said in reference to a possible major disaster declaration for Midland County by President Trump.

Meanwhile, Glenn said she is ready to help anyone who needs assistance with insurance questions related to the flood. She serves on the House committee that oversees the Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

Glenn also wants to help anyone who is having trouble filing for unemployment or who has been waiting a long time for an unemployment check. She can be reached at 517-373-1791 or AnnetteGlenn@house.mi.gov.

“We have people in Midland that filed for unemployment in March and still don’t have their check, and now have lost their homes in the flood,” Glenn said. “That can’t happen. This is a huge issue.”

Glenn also attended the Rally for Racial Justice that drew more than 1,200 people in Midland on Sunday. It is one of many similar rallies that have been held around the country and the world since George Floyd died in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

“I think the big hope is that this was not (just) the community pulling together for two hours, but the beginning of true work in the community,” Glenn said.

“It’s important that we stand together. … Midland is a great place and Midland desires to be better. And I think these incidents (of violence against black people) that we have seen and experienced have made that a higher priority than in the past.”

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