The Chamber’s Government Affairs team kicked off Women’s History Month by featuring two impactful and significant leaders at our March 1st Breakfast with Legislators, the first of two this month. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health and Human Services for the State of Michigan provided an update on COVID-19 and vaccine distribution and Mayor Rosalynn Bliss expanded on her State of the City address.
Dr. Khaldun was pleased over the vaccination progress being made and the approval of the third vaccine from Johnson & Johnson but cautioned that herd immunity likely won’t happen until the end of this year considering the variants and willingness of people to get the vaccine. She also gave praise to the business community by acknowledging the role they play during the pandemic and how the majority of businesses have been playing it mindfully. “Continue to do that and if you do, we will all get out of this pandemic much more quickly,” finished Dr. Khaldun.
Mayor Bliss listed her top three priorities for the year as addressing housing and homelessness, public safety, and equity while also making a major focus on updating the master plan. After seeing an increase in the individuals experiencing unstable housing or homelessness during the pandemic, she hopes to build up the affordable housing fund to support small-scale housing projects. Additionally, Grand Rapids has seen a devastating increase in gun violence. Mayor Bliss hopes that by shifting to a neighborhood policing model and creating a violence protection program, Grand Rapids can find the root of the crimes and reduce them collectively.