DLGA Dispatch: Lt. Govs lead on infrastructure, student loan repayments, abortion and more

From Oregon to Pennsylvania, our Democratic Lieutenant Governors have been leading efforts to ensure Americans can afford the health care they need, take care of their families, and are safe in their communities. 

See more highlights from our Lt. Govs. on how they continue to lead across the country: 


In Illinois, Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton continues her push for her program, “We Thrive,” focusing on women and financial freedoms. She also continues her efforts on equity and black maternal health care.

Chicago Sun Times Op-Ed: Investing in Black maternal health is the right move for Illinois

Recently, my daughters (now grown women) expressed they find it difficult to trust doctors and navigate the healthcare system. As young Black women, they struggle to feel like their needs are prioritized in an industry that was not originally built to care for them. In their friendship circle, some women have reconsidered having children altogether because of the mortality rates for Black women.

Pregnancy and childbirth continue to claim more Black lives than any other ethnicity. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, from 2018 to 2020, Black women were three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related medical conditions than white women. Nationally, research has shown that Black families have the worst childbirth outcomes regardless of their income status or type of insurance coverage.

It’s one thing to understand the history of racial discrimination in the medical field; it is another thing entirely to see racism still plague public health in 2024. As a state leader and mother of Black women, this disturbs me to my very core.

NPR: Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton spotlights women in Illinois with two new initiatives 

In December 2023, the office of the Lt. Governor launched a new initiative called We Thrive, which focuses on women and financial freedom. In February 2024, Governor Pritzker announced a new initiative that focuses on maternal health care called the Birth Equity Initiative. Lt. Governor Stratton spoke to Community Voices about how Chicago shaped her life, the challenges women have faced, and how the whole state will benefit from the two new initiatives. The Lt. Governor also talks about traveling throughout the state hosting “We Chats” to hear from a variety of different women.


Lt. Governor Gilchrist is touring roadwork and construction across Michigan to tout the “Rebuilding Michigan” program. He also recently unveiled a plan for high-speed internet access across Michigan. 

Fox 47: Lt. Governor Touts Roadwork in Jackson County and Statewide

“Along this project — these are 19 or so miles — we’re repairing a number of bridges — at least ten — and doing the kind of maintenance on those that will extend their lives.”

“As our weather events get more severe — we see more rain — flooding on the freeways has been a problem in different parts of Michigan. So this will add a tremendous amount of capacity and resilience.”

Gilchrist emphasized that improvements are being made with climate in mind.

Michigan Advance: Gilchrist unveils plan for high-speed internet access in Michigan

A program to ensure every Michigander has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet was unveiled Thursday by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office (MIHI).

Michigan’s first-ever Digital Equity Plan is made possible through funding by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a federal agency that helps shape telecommunications and information policy.

“The development of this plan will help us understand better where we need to target resources and make investments and how we can ensure a level playing field for every Michigander no matter where they live,” said Gilchrist.


Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan continues to promote Minnesota’s child tax credit and encourage Minnesotans to apply for the refund. Throughout the current tax season, $458 million have been credited to families through the child tax credit, impacting 366,000 children. 

Bemidji Pioneer: Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan tours BSU, discusses child tax credit during Bemidji visit 

Prompted by recent events and initiatives, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and staff members spent their Thursday as Bemidjians.

Starting off at Bemidji City Hall, Flanagan and local leaders congregated in the council chambers to discuss the state’s child tax credit and encourage Minnesotans to apply for a refund.

The credit was introduced for tax year 2023 and qualifies families for up to $1,750 per child with the average credit per family totaling $2,508. Such a credit was introduced as a means to provide greater economic stability for families, Flanagan noted.

“Growing up in my family, programs like this helped us tremendously,” Flanagan said. “I understand how important it is for Minnesotans to receive the support they need, but also deserve. And $2,500 can make a world of difference for families when there is a flat tire, emergency medical bill or your child’s shoe size goes from a five to a seven within a two-month period.”


Lt. Gov. Austin Davis continues his efforts to prevent senseless acts of gun violence. Through universal background checks, red flag laws, and lost-and-stolen laws, Lt. Gov. Davis is pushing for legislation to keep communities safer.

NPR: Philadelphia gun violence victims find support through residents and nonprofits 

For Pennsylvania’s Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, that’s not good enough.

“I think the question is how many people are going to have to die until we get Republican legislators to pass common sense gun reform legislation,” Davis said.

He says universal background checks, red flag laws, and lost-and-stolen laws are pieces of legislation that could keep communities safer.

The issue of gun control is running into the same political complications as similarly controversial issues despite countless polls that show the vast majority of Americans — including gun owners — want stricter gun laws.


In North Carolina, State Senator Rachel Hunt is gearing up for a match against one of two Republican opponents – both of whom want to ban abortion, defund public education and wreak havoc on the economy. Early voting for runoff starts next week.

CBS 17: 1-on-1 with Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor Rachel Hunt

North Carolina will have a new Lieutenant Governor after the November election.

It’s a role that’s currently held by Republican Mark Robinson who is running for governor. The republican side of the ballot is headed to a runoff, but the democratic nominee was decided in the March primary.

Democrat Rachel Hunt, who is currently a state senator from Mecklenburg County, will face the GOP primary winner in November. Hunt’s last name is a familiar one. Her father Jim Hunt served four terms as Governor of North Carolina.  

CBS 17’s Russ Bowen spoke to Senator Hunt about the role of the office she’s running for and two of her top priorities: access to abortion and education.


In Wisconsin, Lt. Governor Sara Rodriguez continues to draw attention to Donald Trump’s anti-abortion stance, and what the harmful and dangerous restrictions will mean for women of color across the state.

Wisconsin Public Radio: Biden campaign hosts roundtable criticizing Trump’s stance on abortion

“We can teach and teach and teach and teach about these disparities, but the best intervention that we have within the clinical world is to have providers who look like the people who they serve,” said Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Sarah Rodriguez, a Democrat who is also a registered nurse.


In Kansas, Lt. Gov David Toland recently announced a program that will increase participation in student loan repayments for those who move to rural Kansas.

KCTV: Rural Kansas addresses could save owners $15K in student loan repayments 

Those who have earned an associate degree or higher and live in rural Kansas could be eligible for $15,000 in student loan repayment funds.

Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland announced on Thursday, April 18, that changes to the rural Opportunity Zones program could increase participation in student loan repayments for those who move to rural Kansas.

Toland indicated that those who have earned an associate degree or higher and have moved to a designated ROZ county they have not lived in for the past two years are eligible for up to $15,000 in student loan debt repayments. Previously, individuals had to live elsewhere for the past five years.

“Kansas is ranked one of the top states in the nation for higher education, but then loses too many graduates who pursue career opportunities in other states,” Toland noted. “Ensuring more students can utilize the Student Loan Repayment Program is critical to keeping and bringing our young talent back to their rural communities. These updates will make Kansas a more financially attractive option for graduates.”


In his race for Secretary of State, Tobias Reed’s campaign and support continues to grow. This week, he secured the endorsement of The Oregonian, citing his preparedness to “stabilize the agency and carry out the significant work ahead.”

Oregonian: Choose Read in Democratic primary for secretary of state

Democrats should choose Tobias Read as the candidate who is best prepared to stabilize the agency and carry out the significant work ahead.

Read, 48, has served as Oregon’s treasurer since 2017, giving him valuable experience in fulfilling the responsibilities of a statewide elected official. He has capably overseen the implementation of state programs as well as management of the state’s $100 billion-plus in investments. But he also analyzes questions with a degree of depth that other candidates did not show, working through the mechanics of how to address an issue.

For example, when asked how he would boost trust in elections, he pointed to text and email alerts that update voters that their ballot has been sent or counted. Investing in that kind of technology statewide can provide voters greater confidence in the process, he said. Additionally, the office could emulate a program in California modeled after police “ride-alongs” in which voters can come along to witness the pickup and processing of ballots, he said, giving them a first-hand understanding of the way elections officials ensure security.

Similarly, when asked about implementing new campaign contribution laws, he noted the immediate need to upgrade the state’s campaign finance software to accommodate filing and reporting as well as improving the public’s ability to easily look up transactions.


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