By Jessica Mathews & Jon King /

Local lawmakers have announced a new website that allows people to share their experiences and struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic. is described by Republican legislative leaders as an accessible resource for concerned residents across the state. Michigan has now lost over 5,372 people to COVID-19. Republican State Representative Hank Vaupel of Fowlerville said it’s heartbreaking to hear the challenges families, workers, patients and business owners have had to endure during this difficult time. He said the new resource provides people with an outlet to be heard by the Legislature’s Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic and he urges everyone with a story to take a few short moments to participate. The website will allow stories to be categorized by subject. People can choose whether their experience applies to essential and non-essential business directives from the governor’s administration, difficulties securing needed unemployment benefits, interactions with state agencies, health care treatment and more.

Republican State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township commented that hearing stories from residents about the way the state’s response to the pandemic has affected their lives will help them better understand the problems people are facing so they can move forward with solutions. Bollin added that everyone must work together to hold state government to a higher standard, so they can deliver better results.

The site will work in conjunction with the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic. A press release notes that the committee is bi-partisan, although all legislative committees have members of both parties and Democratic leaders have been critical of the role the committee will play, airing concerns it is intended only as a platform from Republicans to politically target Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer's administration.

Committee leaders say it will provide key legislative oversight by evaluating decision-making and preparedness both within the administration and state departments, while also providing a needed platform for people to share their personal stories.