Sen. Jones attends Air Lift ribbon cutting

LANSING — State Sen. Rick Jones took part in a ribbon cutting to celebrate the grand opening of Air Lift’s new 20,000 square foot manufacturing plant expansion in Delta Township.

“This is a wonderful day for the workers and families of Delta Township and the greater Lansing area,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I am honored to represent such an outstanding company.  They have made a huge commitment to our community.  I look forward to creating a business environment in our state that will encourage more companies to invest here and attract new job providers to Michigan.”

Other dignitaries participating in the ceremony with Jones included: Air Lift president Kevin Mehigh; state Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville; state Rep. Joan Bauer, D-Lansing; and representatives from Congressman Mike Rogers’ office and the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Members of the Detroit Tigers stopped at Air Lift for the event as part of the team’s 9th annual Winter Caravan, in which players, coaches and executives tour the state by bus.

The event was held on Jan. 20 at the Air Lift plant located on Snow Road in Delta Township.   Air Lift Company is an automotive aftermarket company that has been locally owned and operated since its inception in 1949.  For all of 2010, Air Lift was the only company in Delta Township to pull a permit for a building expansion.

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Editor’s note: A photograph of Jones at the ribbon cutting is located here.  Pictured, from left, are:  Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tim Daman; Tony Baltimore, Congressman Mike Rogers aide; Tico Duckett; Air Lift President Kevin Mehigh; Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge; Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville; Rep. Joan Bauer, D-Lansing; and Brent Case of the Lansing Chamber.

Jones: Michigan must change

LANSING – State Sen. Rick Jones gave Gov. Rick Snyder high marks Wednesday for recognizing that Michigan must transform and offering a roadmap in his State of the State address on how to reinvent the state.

“Everyone wants reforms, but no one wants change. Everyone needs to have an epiphany and realize that we are in a crisis and change is necessary,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “The last governor did not take care of the structural deficit in the state budget because she relied on federal money to plug the gaps. I welcome Governor Snyder’s call that we will not play ‘kick the can down the road to the next year.’

“Now the heavy lifting needs to be done and Governor Snyder has given us an outline on reinventing Michigan. I am ready to work hard with both the governor and the House to fix Michigan for our children and future children.”

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder gave his first State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday night, stressing economic development and reform.

“I am excited that Michigan now has a governor who understands that to attract investment and create jobs you must cut the unnecessary red tape and burdensome taxes,” Jones said. “Realizing the governor’s vision will not be easy, but reinventing Michigan to revitalize our economy and create jobs is worth the effort.”

Jones added: “Governor Snyder knows the status quo isn’t working, and tonight he charted a new course. I especially liked the governor’s remarks ‘job one is jobs’ and ‘the old impossible is the new achievable.’ It is a positive tone to accomplish real results. My fellow Republicans and I are united in our commitment to do what our residents elected us to do: cut spending, reduce regulations and get Michigan working again.”
 

Media Advisory: Sen. Jones is available for comments following the 2011 State of the State address

Who: State Sen. Rick Jones, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

What: Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

When: The address is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.

Where: House of Representatives
State Capitol Building
Lansing, MI

Briefing: Jones, R-Grand Ledge, will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor during his presentation.

Please call Jones’ office at (517) 373-3447 prior to 5 p.m. on Jan. 19 to schedule an interview time with the senator. 

Republicans work to end lifetime legislator benefits

LANSING – Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, introduced Senate Bill 26 today to end retirement health insurance for state senators and representatives after only six years. Legislators currently need to only serve six years to be eligible for retirement health insurance at age 55.

A bill to end the benefit passed the House last session. The Senate approved the measure but amended it and sent it back to the House. House Democrat leadership sat on the reforms; not allowing a vote from February 2010 through the end of the year.

“Retirement health insurance benefits after only six years of service is obscene,” said Jones. “I was very angry that the Democrat leadership would not move the bill last year. Michigan residents are demanding that the state tighten its belt and adopt serious spending reforms. Republicans will work together and pass this reform – saving taxpayers millions of dollars.”

Jones noted that several steps to reduce the cost of the Legislature have already happened. All legislative salaries were cut 10 percent on Jan.1, 2011, and office budgets have been reduced for three consecutive years. All the old-style retirement plans are gone and only 401k plans are available.

“Ending retirement health insurance after only six years is a reform that still needs to be done,” Jones said. “Republicans in the Senate and House are working together to ensure this long overdue reform is completed this session.”

State Rep. Joel Johnson, R-Clare, has introduced a similar measure, House Bill 4087, to end this benefit.  

Rick Jones sworn in as senator for 24th District

LANSING — State Sen. Rick Jones took part in Wednesday’s swearing-in at the state Capitol with Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. administering the oath of office.

Jones was joined on the Senate floor by Charlene, his wife of 37 years, and grandson Nick.

“My Senate team began working on the state’s problems back in December. We opened our office January 3 and are actively helping constituents,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I’m ready to work with Governor Rick Snyder to reinvent the State so that we have a better business climate. Jobs are our number one priority.”

Jones announced that his Lansing office is open and ready to meet the needs of constituents of the 24th Senate District, which includes Allegan, Barry and Eaton counties..

“I encourage anyone who needs help or wants to share their viewpoint on state issues to contact our office,” Jones said. “My excellent staff and I are prepared to listen. Our aim is to provide the best service possible for our hard-working constituents.”

Jones also announced his Senate staff, including:

  • Cana Garrison, chief of staff;
  • Jason Wadaga, legislative director;
  • Ryan Luke, constituent services director; and
  • Sandra McCormick, executive assistant.

District residents may contact Jones by e-mail at senrjones@senate.michigan.gov or call the senator’s office at (517) 373-3447. The mailing address is Senator Rick Jones, P. O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI, 48909.

Jones’ office is located in Room 915 of the Farnum Building at 125 West Allegan Street in Lansing, across the street from the Michigan Capitol.  

Jones: DELEG mishandled federal grant money

LANSING – Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, has completed his investigation of how the Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth (DELEG) lost federal grant money for veterans programs.

“The money should have been used to employ Michigan residents to assist our veterans,” said Jones. “It is shameful and inexcusable that these positions were not filled immediately. I am disgusted that DELEG blew this chance to hire Michigan workers – especially when our state still ranks among the worst in unemployment.”

In December, Jones began looking into reports that $500,000 in grant money would have to be returned because the program was not run correctly. After talking with the federal government and the department, he learned that $623,000 in federal grant money was lost because the department failed to hire people in a timely fashion.

Some positions were left vacant for more than a year. The grant money was to be spent to hire veterans to help both returning veterans and disabled veterans.

A DELEG spokesperson claimed that the money could still be spent in the “fifth quarter” which is a term to describe spending the money after the year is up. However, Jones has learned that the following years grant will now be cut $623,000 because it was not spent properly.

“It is shocking that while our military veterans are returning in need from both Iraq and Afghanistan that this money was mishandled by DELEG,” Jones said. “This points to the need for Gov. Snyder to replace Andy Levin and shake up the leadership of the department soon so that proper policies can be put in place.” 

Jones Senate office is open and ready for business

LANSING – Senator Rick Jones announced today that his Lansing office is open and ready to meet the needs of constituents in the 24th Senate District.

“I encourage anyone who needs help or wants to share their viewpoint on state issues to contact our office,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “My excellent staff and I are prepared to listen. Our aim is to provide the best service possible for our hard-working constituents.”

Jones also announced his Senate staff, including:

  • Cana Garrison, chief of staff;
  • Jason Wadaga, legislative director;
  • Ryan Luke, constituent services director; and 
  • Sandra McCormick, executive assistant.

District residents may contact Jones by e-mail at senrjones@senate.michigan.gov or call the senator’s office at (517) 373-3447. The mailing address is Senator Rick Jones, P. O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI, 48909.

Jones’ office is located in Room 915 of the Farnum Building at 125 West Allegan Street in Lansing, across the street from the Michigan Capitol.

“Residents who are visiting at the Capitol or are here to testify before a committee are always welcome,” said Jones.

The 24th District includes Allegan, Barry and Eaton counties.

Jones: Bernero proposes $1.3 million Sidewalk to Nowhere

LANSING – Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, reports complaints are coming into his office about Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’s proposed $1.3 million sidewalk plan, which the mayor has been urging the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission to approve with no input from residents.

Jones said residents are wondering: With all the infrastructure needs in the tri-county area and with all the municipal budget problems, why spend precious tax dollars on a walk-way at this time? This would involve not only Lansing, but also Lansing Township and funds available to the tri-county regional planning.

“Local residents have called my office and labeled this project ‘Virg’s Sidewalk to Nowhere.’ They are complaining about such a use of 1.3 million tax dollars at this time of budget shortfalls,” Jones said. “They are also asking: Why doesn’t Mayor Virg Bernero have a sidewalk in front of his own home? Shouldn’t he personally pay for a sidewalk in front of his house and keep it shoveled, at a time when the media is reporting on the city fining seniors who cannot shovel their walk?”

See attached documents for further information: Virg letter 12-17-2010.pdf  TIP_Amendment_Lansing.pdf