ICYMI: Gary Peters Discusses PFAS Cleanup, Expanding Unemployment Eligibility, And Heroes Fund On Eclectablog Podcast

In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Gary Peters joined Eclectablog to share an update on his work for Michiganders including, his push to expedite PFAS cleanup efforts in Oscoda, legislation he enacted to expand eligibility for unemployment assistance, and his fight to ensure that essential frontline workers receive the hazard pay they deserve through his proposed Heroes Fund. 

Gary continues to fight for the issues Michiganders care about and will keep fighting to get results and put Michigan priorities first. 

Listen to the full interview here

  • On Standing With Michigan Families To Expedite PFAS Cleanup Efforts: “So I’ve been focused on cleaning those sites up, finding resources to do that, [and] have a standard. I’ve been doing a lot of work with the military – I serve on the Armed Services Committee. Some of our hotspots are former military bases, Wurtsmith Air Force Base for example in the Oscoda area has been a problem for a long time and the residents have been fighting for a long time to get help. We were able to just recently appropriate additional money to help the cleanup efforts there. Unfortunately the Air Force has come back and said they’re going to do more study with the money, which didn’t make sense to me. They’ve been studying it for 10 years. It’s time to like starting to do some cleanup and so we’re going to be pushing them aggressively to get that done, but the other aspect of it is that in addition and cleanup we got to stop putting this stuff in the environment to begin with. And that’s why I’ve worked, and was successful in getting language to phase out PFAS from firefighting foam in our aircraft firefighting equipment.”
  • On Expanding Eligibility For Unemployment: “Well, I think it’s pretty clear we need to do more. It’s important for us to make sure that we keep the economy afloat so we can get back to a new normal as soon and safely as we possibly can. And that means we have to make sure that families have the resources they need to continue to put food on the table and a roof over their head. That’s why the expansion of unemployment was so important. And in fact the Pandemic Assistance Act, which expanded eligibility for unemployment is the act that I wrote – it’s my legislation. It’s patterned after the work I do with FEMA and how we expand unemployment eligibility with other natural disasters like hurricanes and floods and wildfires. That is critically important for folks who may be small business owners or independent contractors who work in the gig economy which are so many people now. Folks who drive Ubers things of that nature. That was critical and we not only expanded eligibility, we also made sure there was additional money to help people stay afloat. We’re gonna have to make sure that continues to be [a] healthy and strong program until we get through this crisis.”
  • On Fighting For Essential Workers: “But I’ll tell you one thing that I really will be pushing for and I’m so happy that the House took it up, was my proposal for a Heroes [Fund] which helps essential workers – to make sure essential workers are taken care of and receive bonus pay for basically being in harm’s way. So the proposal that I have been advocating in large measure has now been put into the House version, we’re going to fight to keep it in the Senate version. But say if you’re one of those individuals who are in a necessary job that has to be done, and you put yourself at risk and you put your families at risk that you should be receiving a form of hazard pay, a bonus. Certainly you should receive our thanks, every American should thank those individuals, but they also deserve money in their pocket as well to compensate for the added risk that they’re taking.”
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