Honoring Beacon Hill at Eastgate for their great service and unfailing leadership in serving older adults.
In a gathering at Beacon Hill’s Community House, on Tuesday, July 26, at 10:00 a.m., State Senator Winnie Brinks delivered a proclamation honoring Beacon Hill at Eastgate for “their great service and unfailing leadership in serving older adults . . . and all they have done to make Kent County a better place for all its residents, especially older adults.”
Following the formal presentation, Senator Brinks answered questions regarding the pressing issues facing older adults during a time when COVID-19 has subsided, but with its many variants is still very much present, and where those individuals over 65 remain most vulnerable.
“We need to focus on ensuring we have the workforce necessary. It’s only going to get worse. We can’t make the math work the way it is,” Brinks said.
Brinks explained staffing at nursing homes is proving to be the single-biggest issue, saying employers struggle with retention. For seniors living outside of these facilities, she said saving for retirement is another stressor.
“This is a huge issue. I’m 54 years old, and I know so many people in my age bracket who are not prepared for retirement,” she said.
Brinks said she’d like to use state and federal dollars to mitigate the stress in these areas. Her list of to do’s also include addressing mental health impacts many experiences due to isolation and the ongoing threat of COVID-19 variants.
Brinks was elected to the Michigan Senate, 29th District, in 2018 – the first woman to hold that seat since Eva McCall Hamilton in 1920. In April of 2022 Brinks was selected as one of nine leaders (including Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss) from across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), a selective national network of state and local elected officials.
Brinks and her peers in the new class of leaders were recognized for their unwavering commitment to expanding opportunity in their communities. These leaders’ work will build on policy recommendations that NewDEAL Leaders help develop, as well as success stories from the NewDEAL’s American Rescue Plan report.
Brinks was selected to join NewDEAL because of her work in community health issues and her understanding that individual and community health must include access to safe and attainable housing, clean drinking water, and healthy food. She has championed legislation to increase attainable housing, worked to get toxic PFAS chemicals out of drinking water, and introduced legislation to hold polluters accountable.
Additionally, as a member of the Senate Health Policy committee, Brinks has made lowering prescription drug costs a priority. Most recently, she introduced legislation to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that would directly impact what Michiganders pay for certain Prescription Drugs.
Jeff Huegli, President & CEO of Beacon Hill at Eastgate greatly appreciates Senator Brinks’ proclamation of Beacon Hill’s service to older adults in Kent County. “We are delighted to welcome Senator Brinks to Beacon Hill and are grateful for the time she spent with our staff and residents. She is a dedicated public servant who is diligent in representing the interests of her constituency here in Grand Rapids.”