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FOX 17 sits down with Sen. Gary Peters

Peters speaks on Postal Service Reform Act, state of economy, Judge Jackson's confirmation and GR's officer-involved shooting
Senator Gary Peters
Posted at 12:40 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 18:08:19-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — On the heels of a busy week on Capitol Hill, U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D) was in Grand Rapids Monday to speak with FOX 17 about a number of different topics.

Postal Service Reform Act

Sen. Gary Peters helped pass the Postal Service Reform Act, which moved through the legislature with bipartisan support. This is the first major reform to the postal service in 15 years, hoping to make sure the postal service is on strong financial footing.

"There have been significant financial challenges for the postal service as a result of rules that were put in years ago that should’ve never been put in," said Peters.

The postal service is the only organization that delivers to every single address in the country. Recently, thanks to costs getting cut, the service has taken a hit. However, Peters said this new law will save the postal service $50 billion of the next 10 years.

"That means money that they can put into advanced processors, make sure the mail is sorted in an efficient way, delivered on time," Peters said. "This is going to help the postal service continue to be strong and vibrant for the foreseeable future.”

Economic Competitiveness Bill

Peters was selected to serve alongside members of the Senate and House to negotiate a final Economic Competitiveness Bill. Peters said many of the cost increases we see across the country are the result of shortages in the supply chain, often dealing with products coming from overseas.

So, this bill will aim to secure our supply chains by moving the production to the states. As of now, several products we use every day are overly dependent on foreign manufacturers, particularly with semi-conductor chips.

“As a result of shortages, we’ve seen production delays, we’ve seen cost increases in these automobiles," said Peters. "We have to bring that on shore. Most all the chips come from China or South Korea or Taiwan. We have shortages. We have to make it in the United States. We have to have American workers, American companies making those chips.”

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's Confirmation

Peters was one of 53 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who helped confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, making her the first black woman to be selected for such a role in America's history. However, it did not come without a controversial hearing process that Peters did not agree with.

“Well, I was certainly disappointed by the questions that were asked by some members on the Judiciary Committee that were not fact-based," said Peters. "They were just very, I thought, mean and inappropriate for a Supreme Court Justice.”

He added, “The Supreme Court, according to our founders, was supposed to be the place where there wasn’t partisanship, where you had fair, impartial justice dispensed. It’s important for us to come together. I hope in the future, we’ll be able to try to step aside from some of the politics involved in these Supreme Court Justices and focus on their qualifications and temperament. Certainly, Judge Jackson has that, and she’s going to do an outstanding job.”

Trust in Law Enforcement

After West Michigan had three officer-involved shootings last week, including one in Grand Rapids that's garnered national attention, Peters said it's important to help the public regain trust in the people who are supposed to serve and protect. To help, he spoke about recent legislation he introduced that would encourage police forces to recruit and train people from within the communities they serve.

“That’s certainly an important step forward," said Peters. "When you know people who grew up in a community, or live there, know the people and perhaps even more importantly people know who they are. We can start building the kind of trust necessary for public safety to work in the way we all want it to work.”

Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Peters wrapped up the interview by touching on the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The U.S. has provided a substantial amount of humanitarian and military aid to help protect Ukraine, but the U.S. has also been a target during this war, mainly in the form of cyberattacks. Peters said Russia is engaged in a number of cyber attacks on a regular basis in our country, and he expects those actions to step up as the conflict continues.

To combat these attacks, Peters introduced a landmark legislative package that he said would "significantly enhance our nation’s ability to combat ongoing cybersecurity threats against our critical infrastructure and the federal government."

One of the main goals of that bill, Peters said, would be to protect small businesses.

“It’s been estimated if a small business is the victim of a cyberattack, that within 18 months, half of those businesses are out of business," said Peters. "It is absolutely existential we need to put more resources forward to protect our small businesses and our critical infrastructure across the country.”

You can check out FOX 17's full interview with Sen. Peters below.

FOX 17's full interview with Senator Gary Peters

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