Daily Briefs

Whitmer: Use $1.4B to expand health access, build facilities

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday proposed spending $1.4 billion in federal pandemic funding to expand health care and infrastructure, including to bolster access to mental health services, replace state psychiatric hospitals and build a new public health lab.

The proposal, if approved by the Republican-led Legislature, would account for more than a fifth of Michigan’s $6.5 billion in discretionary rescue funding approved by Congress and President Joe Biden six months ago. Lawmakers could consider it — and other spending plans previously outlined by the Democratic governor — this fall after finalizing the state budget this month.

Whitmer called for $335 million in grants to improve access to treatments for autism, behavioral health and substance abuse. An additional $325 million would fund the construction of a new psychiatric facility in the Detroit area to replace both the Hawthorn Center in Northville Township and the Walter P. Reuther Psychiatric Hospital in Westland.

The governor wants to use $220 million to replace the public health lab in Lansing.

The broader proposal also would give grants to local health departments, fund telemedicine rooms in public places such as state social service offices, help retain direct care workers, provide home repair and plumbing assistance to lower-income families, and improve infection controls inside nursing homes.


Craig formally announces governor campaign amid protest

DETROIT (AP) — Former Detroit Police Chief James Craig formally announced his campaign for governor Tuesday but not before protesters derailed his kickoff event on Belle Isle and forced him to move.

He effectively has been running for months. He is among 10 Republicans, all of them political newcomers, looking to unseat Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2022.

Craig was to speak to the media at the state park in the middle of the Detroit River in his hometown, but he abandoned that plan when he was shouted down by a couple-dozen people critical of his role as chief.

He turned around and walked back toward a waiting vehicle, which took him to a nearby office complex. It was there that he made the announcement a short time later.

“My name is James Craig. And I’m running to be your governor,” he said, flashing a thumbs-up. “The governor for the state of Michigan.”

He nodded as supporters chanted, “Chief Craig.”

As for the disruption on Belle Isle, Craig said a “small group of paid protesters did nothing. What they did is reinforce why we need change.”

Asked about this statement that the protesters were paid, Craig said he did not have evidence of that, but that he believed it.

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