Dear Neighbor,


Greetings and happy summer!


Michigan summers are always eagerly anticipated and I hope you find fun ways to enjoy this time with your friends, families, and neighbors. We have so many exciting things going on in our community these next few months, and I hope to see you around Kalamazoo County!


Here in Lansing, we have worked hard these last couple of weeks to complete a fair and balanced budget so that Michigan can continue to run as efficiently and effectively as possible. We are increasing funding for our public schools, providing support for local road projects, and improving important government services. Specifically, I was able to secure a grant of $850,000 to help combat opioid abuse right here in Kalamazoo County.


These next few weeks, I will be spending a lot of time in our neighborhoods, walking door to door, talking to you about what matters most and the issues you want me to bring back to Lansing. If I miss you, please never hesitate to reach out to my office to set up an appointment, to obtain coffee hour information, or to give your suggestions and opinions.


As we look forward to Independence Day and back on Memorial Day, it is an opportunity to appreciate this great country we live in and to reflect on the sacrifices made for us all. Along with our neighbors, our family, and our friends, we stand in thanks and appreciation of those who risk or have lost their lives for our freedoms.


Thank you for your continued participation and feedback. It is honor to represent you and our community in Lansing. Please contact my office any time at (517) 373-1774 or at



In-District Coffee Hours


These events are a great way to connect with my neighbors on what matters most to them. I hope local residents will join me to share any questions or concerns they have and I look forward to seeing everyone.


Visit me at one of the upcoming coffee hours:


Monday, July 24th **                               Friday, July 28th  

7:00 – 8:30 a.m.                                         9:30am – 11:00am

Biggby Coffee                                            Rykse’s Restaurant

6800 S. Westnedge Ave.                            5924 Stadium Dr.

Portage, MI 49002                                      Kalamazoo, MI 49009


Friday, August 25th                                  

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Portage Senior Center

320 Library Lane, Portage MI 49002

** Rep. Iden will NOT be attending this coffee hour.  An office staff member will be available to take your suggestions, and opinions.



Residents who are unable to attend are welcome to contact my office by phone at (517) 373-1774, by email at, through my website, or through Facebook*.



Budget passes both Legislative chambers and awaits Governor Snyder’s approval


The Legislature has again completed a budget months ahead of the constitutional deadline, allowing local governments and schools to adequately plan for the coming year. We have passed a budget that saves taxpayer dollars while still providing effective and efficient government services. Not only did we maximize our dollars for the coming year, but we have also added some additional funding to Michigan’s rainy day fund, reserved for financial emergencies.


I am proud to say that under this budget, our schools will receive the highest funding in state history. Our goal was to put more money in the classroom, which we did at about $60-$120 more per student. Specifically, I heard a lot of demand for increased funding towards at-risk student populations, so I supported an extra $120 million for next fiscal year. Further, we increased the skilled trades training budget by about one third, placing much needed focus on and support of career and technical programs.


We have also made some important improvements in the healthcare realm under this budget. We added a needed salary increase for our direct care workers, those who care for some of most vulnerable citizens.  This plan also encourages a more holistic approach to healthcare by establishing pilot programs around the state that integrate behavioral, mental, and physical health. Something I am most proud of is my addition of $850,000 towards opioid research right here in Kalamazoo County, discussed in greater detail below.


I often hear concern for roads funding and funding for our natural resources; this budget accounts for both of those topics. Over $1.3 million has been dedicated for cities, villages, and county road commissions that need to complete projects around the State. Further, we have money going towards trail development, State Park repairs, invasive species initiatives, and wildlife conservation efforts.


The budget has been passed by both the House and Senate and now awaits the Governor’s final approval and signature.



Rep. Iden and Michigan Legislature Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic


The opioid epidemic is a serious concern across the nation and across our state. Opioid abuse has been linked with further drug experimentation, resulting in higher rates of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. Thousands of people have lost friends, family members, and neighbors to this terrible addiction.


Here at the Michigan Legislature, we recognize the severity of this issue and have recently considered both a House package and a Senate package of bills aimed at addressing some of these concerns.


The House package increases access to opioid addiction treatment, strengthens the requirements of pain management facilities, permits pharmacist refusal of prescriptions in highly concerning cases, and requires providers to give additional information when prescribing opioids. The Senate bills include provisions requiring prescribers to check a database before dispensing opioids and increases penalties for those who wrongfully prescribe.


Furthermore, in the recent budget, I was able to secure an $850,000 grant to help fight opioid abuse right here in Kalamazoo County. The money is specified for a Kalamazoo Community Mental Health program that will help in identifying those with a high likelihood of opioid addiction.


“The misuse of, and addiction to, illicit opioids is a serious and challenging public health problem,” said Jeff Patton, CEO of the KCMHSAS. “We want to thank State Representative Brandt Iden for working to address such a serious public health crisis. Increased funding will help Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and partners improve access to quality treatment and pain management in the southwest Michigan region.”


It is great to see money coming straight to Kalamazoo County for a preventative program like this and I am thankful for the lives this will save.



Rep. Iden Encourages Students as they Enter Vocational and Technical Fields  


This past month, I had the amazing opportunity to give a commencement speech for the Michigan Career and Technical Institute [MCTI]. MCTI offers unique and much needed programs in vocational and technical areas including nursing assistance, automotive, machine technology, weatherization, electronics, culinary arts, landscaping, and others. MCTI students come from all over the state and are often facing serious physical, emotional, or educational challenges. Almost all of MCTI’s students are able to overcome their respective disabilities, injuries, and disorders through the commitment and creativity of MCTI’s faculty and staff. It was a true honor to celebrate with the 2017 MCTI graduates. If you would like more information on the programs at MCTI, please feel free to contact my office. We will be more than happy to assist you, and again, my congratulations to the graduates!



Rep. Iden Congratulates Portage World Champion Robotics Team


I am so incredibly proud to announce that we have the first place winners of the FIRST Robotics World Championship right here in our community! The team, Stryke Force 2767, recently competed in a competition of over 3,000 teams from all around the world in an effort to be crowned world champion. Teams were required to build a robot capable of various tasks, including placing gears on an airship.


The FIRST Robotics World Championship is the oldest and largest student robotics program in the world. It brings kids and teams together from across the globe to challenge them in areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM]. How awesome that a competition like this can generate so much interest and passion for these STEM skills, which will certainly aid in the future careers of these bright students.


Congratulations, Stryke Force 2767, our Portage champions!



Rep. Iden Celebrates National Toothbrush Day


Recently, I hosted a celebration of National Toothbrush Day in Kalamazoo County. I teamed up with Delta Dental and the Dental Hygienists Association to provide interactive displays and presentations about dental hygiene to encourage kids in their practice of good oral health. We also provided free toothbrushes to all participating children. Speaking of which, don’t forget to brush AND floss tonight!



Get Out and Enjoy the Summer!


July 7                     Food Truck Rally                                          201 Water Street

July 8                     Park Bike Race          WMU Business Tech & Research Park

July 8-9           4H Open Horse Show              Kalamazoo County Expo Center

July 16               Vintage in the Zoo                    Kalamazoo Farmers Market

July 20-23            USAPA Great Lakes Regional            Wings Event Center

                                PickleBall Fever

July 21                Bronco’s Night Out Improve Night      WMU Heritage Hall

July 29                Breweriana Beer Collectibles Show    Radisson Plaza Hotel

August 3-5                           Rib Fest                      Arcadia Creek Festival Place

August 8-12                      County Fair             Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds

August 11            Bronco’s Night Out: Movie Night         WMU Heritage Hall

August 12              PalletPalooza                              WMU Student Rec Center

August 13            Lakeside Concert                    W.K. Kellogg Manor House

August 19-20      Vintage Market                Kalamazoo County Expo Center

August 20            BB & Airgun Show              Kalamazoo County Expo Center

August 26-27      Healthy and Fit Expo          Kalamazoo County Expo Center

August 27            Mudfest                                  Kalamazoo Nature Center



If you would like additional details about any of the above events, please contact my office at (517) 373-1774 or at













We are Here for You!



(877) DIST-061




Visit my online office:


Mailing Address:

N-995 House Office Building

P.O. Box 30014

Lansing, MI  48909


Located on the corner of Ottawa and Capitol, across the street from the State Capitol.




















Constituent Notes



Several members of our community have received recognition over the last several weeks for their hard work and dedication in their fields.  Some of this inspirational individuals include:



Kathleen Hemingway

Appointed to the 8th Distrct



Ella Hoffman

Elected “Mayor for a Day”


Barbara Adams

Michelle Hruska

Debora O’Keefe

Laura Weber

Colleen Sante

Received WMU’s 2017 Make

a Difference Award


Phillip Johnson

Selected for the Kalamazoo

NAACP’s Humanitarian Award


Veronica Buss

Selected for the National

Center for Women &

Information Technology

Aspirations in Computing



Isabel Hernandez

Josephine Hosner

Samantha Cabado

Alexandria Seybold

Liya Jin

Honored by the National

Center for Women &

Information Technology


Kasia Paprocki

Completed a Business

Administration degree from

the Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln


Adam Lutz

Evan Korycki

Named to Cumberland Univ.

Dean’s List


Larry Stehouwer

David Powloski

Appointed to the Road

Commission of Kalamazoo



Allison Youtzy

Kevin Graves

Brett Vandenberg

Molly Ouvrey

As a team, placed 2nd in the

American Advertising

Federation’s National Student

Advertising Competition


Nichole Cover

Appointed to the Medical

Marijuana Licensing Board


Maushaumi Nerurkar &

Zoetis, Inc.

Received Michigan Strategic

Fund Grant


Linda Holzwarth

Named the 2017 Educator of

the Year by Michigan Lottery’s

Excellence in Education



Brett Kaufman

Named to Miami Univ. Dean’s



Valerie Koopsen

Received Bachelor of the Arts

from Dordt College


Danielle Kreuger

Received Bachelor of the Arts

from GVSU


Nicholas Keizer

     Received Bachelor of Business

Administration from GVSU


Rebecca Timmeran

Isaac Hazen

Sydney Fontanilla

Brittany Dibiaggio

Carson Carpenter

     Received Bachelor of Science

from GVSU


Kaleigh Hasse

     Received Masters of Social

Work from GVSU


Ashley Griesshammer

Received Master of Science in

Accounting from GVSU


Kara Fadanelli

Received Bachelor of Science

from the Univ. of Alabama


Michael Everts

Joshua Staple

Kevan Robinson

Scott Gee

Jason Sherwood

Connor Hughes

Amy Neuhouser

Samantha O’Brien

Caitlin Whisler

Travis Bogema

Kristy Carson

     Named to Davenport Univ.

Dean’s List


Keegan Canny

Named to Trine Univ. Dean’s



Andrea Nord

Named to Univ. of Alabama

Dean’s List


Anna Brettman

Lyvia Osterstock

Named to the Univ. of

Nebraska-Lincoln Dean’s List


Gail Doscher-Thompson

Recognized by the Senior

Services of SW Michigan for

Volunteer Work


Stuart Bottfield

Sam Breuer

Mason Brouwer

Jack Bruinwood

Nika Buss

Ryan Clare

Matthew Clark

McKenzie Elliot

James Herschleb

 Brandon Howard

Tanvi Khurmi

Kyra Kothawala

Paul Kovacic

Jared Lynch

Ross Malackowski

Hunter McGillivray

Erich Naidoo

Logan Neeley

Max Neeley

Freddie Ouding

Kris Ouvry

Cade Peterman

Connor Piereson

Audrey Rabick

Greg Redlon

Karley Reed

Cole Richter

Emma Scheller

Nick Stamper

Sierra Staunton

Alex Thannhauser

Champions of the FIRST

Robotics World Championship

held in St. Louis, Missouri

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