The race in Michigan’s new 6th congressional district features a four-term congresswoman against a first-generation immigrant who worked in the auto industry.
Democratic US Rep. Debbie Dingell of Ann Arbor was first elected in 2015 and is running for a fifth term against Republican Whittney Williams of Canton, who also ran for Congress in 2020 against Rep. Haley Stevens.
The district is located in Oakland and Wayne counties and includes the communities of Beverly Hills, Franklin, Lathrup Village, Southfield, Livonia, Redford, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Garden City, and Westland.
SEE HERE: Map of Michigan’s new 6th Congress
According to the latest campaign finance revelations from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the two candidates raised a combined $1.2 million while spending an additional $770,000.
The general election is Nov. 8, but Michigan voters can now vote by mail.
Rep. Dingell shared her insights with The Oakland Press on issues important to voters, but Williams chose not to answer any of the questions below.
His answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Reproductive rights are an important issue in this year’s midterm elections. In Michigan, voters will have the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment to provide permanent protections for reproductive rights, including abortion, and strike down the 1931 abortion ban. Do you believe abortion should be legal? If yes, please explain your reasoning. If not, do you support abortions with exceptions for incest, rape and to save the life of the mother?
DEBBIE DINGELL: Women’s access to health care is under attack across our country, and an unfair Supreme Court ruling has already led states to attempt to criminalize women’s health care. In Michigan, we must codify the right to privacy and health care for all patients. The separation of church and state is a fundamental principle in our nation’s constitution, and that is why I am working to pass legislation that will ensure that health care decisions from a woman are caught between herself, her doctor, her faith and her family.
What more needs to be done to help reduce costs for families struggling to make ends meet with an inflation rate above 8%?
DINGELL: Long before inflation rates started to rise, I was working to reduce costs for families and provide solutions to problems that keep them up at night. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I led efforts to reduce health care costs, increase access to affordable hearing aids, and lower the price of prescription drugs. that save lives. Earlier this year, I confronted oil companies directly on the issue of ending the corporate price gouging that keeps prices high at the pump and questioned the need to maintain federal subsidies. And I’ve always closely followed grocery prices by sharing them on social media and communicating directly with my constituents about their bills. We must continue to find ways to reduce the cost of living for working families in Michigan.
What are the biggest threats to our democracy here in Michigan and across the country?
DINGELL: We must reject false and baseless allegations designed to weaken confidence in our democracy and our electoral institutions, and instead increase access to the ballot box and restrict the influence of vested interests in our elections. I am a co-sponsor of the For The People Act which would reform our nation’s election laws to empower voters, end partisan and racial gerrymandering, and shine a light on black money being spent to influence elections. To strengthen voting rights, I am a proud supporter of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore essential protections for black and brown voters in this country who have been marginalized in our democracy for far too long.
According to FBI statistics, the violent crime rate in the United States is on the rise. In 2020, Michigan’s violent crime rate, including homicide, was approximately 20% higher than the national rate. What will you do to help reduce the rate of violent crime in our communities?
DINGELL: We need to put politics aside and work together to solve this problem and keep our communities safe. In 2021, thanks to the US bailout and other investments, we made the biggest investment ever in local law enforcement. We also passed a package of bills to support law enforcement and reduce crime, including the Invest and Protect Act to strengthen policing in small towns and communities with fewer than 125 officers, as well as the Break the Cycle of Violence Act to support the community. violence prevention efforts.
Specifically, what needs to be done to improve our public education system to provide educators and students with the resources to feel safe and supported to ensure continued success and progress in the classroom? Further, how can public education funding be changed to ensure equitable financial support for our nation’s and Michigan’s most vulnerable and at-risk students?
DINGELL: Investing in our public education, at all levels, is absolutely essential to the economic growth and competitiveness of our state and our nation. As part of the US bailout, we invested $122 billion in P-12 education and helped schools emerge safely from the pandemic while protecting the health of students and teachers. Now we need to make sure our teachers know they have the support and tools they need to educate our students. And we need to align our curriculum with the skills needed to thrive in a rapidly changing economy. Additionally, as digital learning is a growing part of education at all levels, we need to invest in broadband to ensure that all students are connected to the resources they need to succeed.
While you were on the campaign trail, what were the main issues that voters discussed with you? What issues are most important to them right now?
DINGELL: The most pressing issue facing my constituents is their cost of living, and that is why I have focused my efforts on issues that keep families up at night. Every day, I walk to farmers’ markets, festivals, community talks, and other neighborhood events to hear directly from the people I serve. It is their voices and experiences that guide me in Washington. That’s why I fight to reduce their costs, protect their environment, clean their water and invest in their health care.