This is my home. My name is Amy East and I'm running for state representative in Michigan's 59th district.

Will you join us?

This is my home. My name is Amy East and I'm running for state representative in Michigan's 59th district.

Will you join us?

This is my home; it’s been my family’s home for generations. Tomorrow it will be our children's home.

Homegrown Values

I grew up on a farm in Cass County and graduated from Constantine High School. My roots here go back nearly 200 years.  My ancestors weren't wealthy, didn't hold seats of power, but earned respect as trustworthy and hard-working folk.

Responsibility, honesty, and the value of hard work were passed down to me and my brothers from a very young age. We baled hay, built fence, picked rocks, helped Mom with the garden and Dad with maple syrup. We also learned the value and importance of family – whether walking over to Grandma & Grandpa Weston’s house to spend the day or getting together with our Davidhizar family for some of Gramps’ homemade ice cream, we always felt connected to something larger than ourselves.

When Joel and I had our daughter, we wanted to teach her these same values and to experience the same deep connection to this area.  The 59th district is my home, and I want it to be our children’s home too.

Building for the Future

Education

Our modern public school system was created as a way to overcome poverty and create a more equal society. Sadly, the defunding of our schools and devaluing of teachers and education as a profession has resulted in a system that is far from equal throughout the state. Our teachers and children are losing valuable instruction time due to the burden of excessive testing.

As State Representative, I will support:

• Fully funding our public schools, in an equitable manner.
• Allowing flexibility in funding, thereby empowering school districts to target their unique needs.
• Eliminating the third-grade reading law and reducing government-mandated testing.
• Initiatives to aid in teacher recruitment and retention.

Economy

Our district is comprised of small towns surrounded by a lot of farm land. We need both to succeed if we hope to reduce the poverty in our area and rebuild the sense of community that we long for. Too many of our downtowns are filled with empty storefronts, while Main Street and Downtown Development groups struggle to fill them with viable local businesses. Meanwhile, our farmers are carrying large responsibilities on their shoulders. They are working long hours, handling the fluctuations in weather and the markets, trying to coax bigger yields from the land. We need to do a better job of supporting them and our small family farms.

As State Representative, I will support:

• Investment in our towns through support for small businesses.
• Tax incentives for renovation of historic structures, particularly using climate-resilient materials.
• Skilled labor programs, like CTE and vocational technology.
• Flexibility in best practices for farming so that farmers can adapt to their local conditions efficiently and effectively.
• Reward based programs for those farmers who show efforts to be good stewards of the land.
• Continuation of ag-based classroom education.
• School lunch programs using Michigan-grown foods.

Environment

Our district possesses a rich abundance of natural areas for sport, hunting, fishing, and recreation. And I think I speak for most when I say that we want our children to be able to enjoy them as well. At the same time, our climate is changing and severe events are becoming increasingly common around the world. Our communities and infrastructure need to be able to handle and recover from potential disasters to ensure that the things we love about this district – its farms, small towns, and natural areas – will still be there for our children.

As State Representative, I will support:

• Adequate funding for our conservation and parks districts, for hiring and education in areas like invasive species, agriculture, and land conservation.
• Programs for identification, mitigation, and prevention of contaminants such as PFAS that can impact our health and that of our kids.
• Initiatives for individuals, communities, and farms who utilize climate-resilient materials and methods.
• Programs for building and maintaining climate-ready infrastructure.

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2 days ago

Amy East

Lest we forget the power of regular people standing together and demanding better.The New York Shirtwaist Strike -- a nearly three-month-long strike by New York City garment workers and the first major successful strike by female workers in American history -- began on this day in 1909. The workers, who were nearly all young, Jewish, immigrant women, organized the strike to protest the dangerous working conditions, low pay, and grueling hours which were common at the factory sweatshops of the day.

One of the strike's leaders Clara Lemlich, who had immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine, was known for challenging the mostly male leadership of the women's garment workers union. At an organizing meeting on November 22, after listening to the male leaders cautioning against a strike for over four hours, she demanded the right to speak and declared: "I have listened to all the speakers, and I have no further patience for talk. I am a working girl, one of those striking against intolerable conditions. I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in generalities. What we are here for is to decide whether or not to strike. I make a motion that we go out in a general strike."

In what came to be known as the "Uprising of the 20,000," approximately 20,000 out of the 32,000 workers in the shirtwaist trade walked out in the next two days. The strike lasted until February 10, 1910 and resulted in union contracts with better pay, hours, and working conditions at nearly every garment shop except the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.

The following year, on March 25, 1911, 146 garment workers -- nearly all young women between the ages of 16 and 23 -- perished in a horrific fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. Due to poor conditions at the factory, doors to hallways and stairwells were locked during the work day, trapping the women inside the building when the fire broke out. The fire was the deadliest industrial disaster to have ever occurred in New York, and spurred the passage of 60 new safety and labor regulations in the two years following the tragedy.

The future U.S. Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, who was among the shocked bystanders of the tragedy, went on to advocate for reform of working conditions as a result of what she witnessed that day. The disaster also further energized the efforts of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union to fight for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.

For books for children and teens about the contributions of girls and women to the fight for workers' rights, check out blog post "Fighting For Justice: 20 Books About Women and the Labor Movement" at www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=9881

Clara Lemlich's courageous story is told in the inspiring picture book: "Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909," for ages 4 to 9, at www.amightygirl.com/brave-girl

She is also among the 13 pioneering women featured in the uplifting picture book, "She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World," for ages 5 to 9 at www.amightygirl.com/she-persisted

Clara's story is also told in a novel in verse, "Audacity," for ages 13 and up at www.amightygirl.com/audacity

For more books about the women affected by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, we recommend "Lucy Fights the Flames" for ages 7 to 10 (www.amightygirl.com/lucy-fights-the-flames) and “Uprising” for ages 12 and up (www.amightygirl.com/uprising)

There is also an excellent non-fiction book for young readers about the disaster, which was a National Book Award Finalist: "Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy" for ages 10 and up at www.amightygirl.com/flesh-and-blood-so-cheap
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