Slotkin Holds Town Hall With Lt. Gov., Unemployment Official
May 7, 2020
By Mike Kruzman / email@example.com
8th District Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin took questions from constituents with Michigan’s Lieutenant Governor and a high ranking Unemployment officer during a tele-town hall.
At her virtual town hall meeting, Wednesday, the Holly Democrat was joined by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Legislative Affairs Director for the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, Stephanie Glidden. Slotkin opened up with news that they are still negotiating the terms of a 5th stimulus package to help bridge the gap from one side of the crisis to the other. Gilchrist reiterated indicators that the Governor’s office is looking for to ensure a safe restart of the economy that include increased testing, contact tracing, and helping people who need to be isolated, safely do so. He says they are thinking about people first, and they want the best science and facts in front of them to help make these decisions.
Glidden said unemployment numbers were still historically high, with Michigan to be crossing over $4-billion given out as early as Wednesday. She responded to her question on if he can stay on unemployment if it’s too risky for him to go back. She said someone who is immune-compromised will likely be able to stay on unemployment provided it’s not protested by the employer. She said the workplace still has to be safe, and they will be providing guidance for those in his situation.
Another caller brought up a question about Paycheck Protection Program loans and if it could be amended to extend the repayment period. His concern was that restaurants could receive the loan, but not meet the employment requirements with dining rooms closed. Slotkin agreed that the 8-week period is not particularly useful in Michigan and other hard hit states. She said they are engaging the Small Business Administration to see if they can allow for greater flexibility, and that while they can look at a legislative fix, the simplest way would be the SBA giving its own guidance.
As for public schools reopening in the fall, Gilchrist said that they have not made a determination yet. When they do, it will be driven by where we stand from a public health perspective, and helped by school administrators. He said it important that the teachers, administrators, and parents all need feel safe sending kids to school.
Finally, when asked about fall elections, Slotkin and Gilchrist asked people to vote by mail, if possible, recognizing the struggles this may cause local clerks. Slotkin called for state legislature to allow for the early counting of ballots for timeliness on Election Day. Republicans have voiced opposition to that, as it makes it difficult for one to spoil their own ballot.