Thursday, November 20, 2014

MIALSH Bids Farewell to Retiring Senator and Lead Champion Senator Bruce Caswell

Senator Bruce Caswell
I got to sit down this week with Senator Bruce Caswell. For those of us in the lead paint poison prevention business here in Michigan, he is a Rock Star. Senator Caswell was instrumental in getting state dollars targeted to make Michigan homes lead safe. The first state investment in over two decades and in lean budget times to boot! We are now up to $1.75 million dollars from the state to help families clean up a home that poisoned their child.

Aside from a heartfelt thank you, I wanted to know why the good senator from a rural district with few lead poisoned kids cared about this issue. Why was he so passionate that he pushed, reminded and cajoled his colleagues to ensure money was included? There are lots of out stretched hands in Lansing after all.

True to his personality, Senator Caswell was pragmatic and direct with me. “It’s a no brainer,” he said. You can pay $10,000 to clean up their house now, or you can pay over the child’s life time for medical care, special education, and other supports. Plus “you have a kid who is messed up their whole life,” and that’s just not right.

In the end that’s really what it comes down to. Lead paint poisoning is low hanging fruit. We know what causes it and how to prevent it. Prevention is cost effective and the return on investment both in dollars and quality of life is unprecedented.

As we move into 2015 and greet new Senators and Representatives, it is my hope other members can pick up where Senator Caswell left off and that they believe finding monies for lead paint poisoning is a “no brainer” too.

Thanks again Senator Caswell and best of luck in retirement.