Slotkin grew up in Oakland County, graduated from Cranbrook Schools and Cornell University before getting a masters degree from Columbia University. She lives in Holly on her family farm and is married to Dave Moore, a former Apache pilot, who retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army. Slotkin served three tours in Iraq in military intelligence, and worked as a national security expert for both Democratic and Republican administrations. She served at the White House and in top roles at the Pentagon, including as Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs under the Obama Administration.
When President Trump came to office, he began to roll back a number of environmental regulations enacted by the past administration and reversed a number of decisions dating back to the Clinton administration that were designed to promote a cleaner environment. Do you support the administration’s efforts to minimize environmental regulations?
No. Protecting our Great Lakes, inland waters, drinking water and parks must be a key priority for anyone who claims to love this state. As a former national security analyst, I believe we need to start thinking of environmental security the way we think about homeland security: it’s about the safety and security of our kids. By rolling back protections for our environment, our clean air, and our access to clean drinking water, the administration is using the banner of deregulation to threaten our way of life in Michigan. If elected, I would help reinvigorate the Great Lakes caucus; push for a comprehensive, ten-year environmental plan for Michigan – instead of piecemeal initiatives – to preserve the natural gifts we have as a state; and conduct prudent planning to manage and mitigate the impact of warming temperatures.
Do you support the tax cuts enacted by Congress at the urging of the Trump administration? Explain your position.
I support tax reform that lifts up the middle class and Michigan’s small businesses. But I was disappointed that the tax bill passed by Congress gave deep, permanent cuts for the ultra-wealthy and large corporations like the pharmaceutical industry, while giving shallow, temporary cuts to the average taxpayer. I would change that approach and close the enormous number of loopholes that keep many of the ultra-wealthy from paying taxes at all.
In the most recent budget adopted by Congress, and in tax legislation approved by both the House and Senate, the national debt has continued to skyrocket. There has been talk of Congress now attempting to reduce the deficit by cutting back on programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Do you support trimming these programs to reduce the budget? Are there other areas of the budget that should be targeted to bring the budget back under control and over time reduce the national debt?
I believe that the federal budget should be treated like your budget at home: you don’t spend outside your means without a plan to pay for it. The recent tax bill added more than a trillion dollars to our national debt, which isn’t healthy for us as a nation. Coming from a national security background, you never know what national disasters or security crises you may need to deal with in the future, and racking up endless debt is irresponsible. We should close the significant loopholes left open in the latest tax bill, particularly with regard to holding profits or moving American jobs offshore, to help bring the budget back under control, in addition to fat-cutting actions to rein in our national debt. But to be clear, Social Security and Medicare are not fat, and I support neither cuts to them nor privatizing them.
NATIONAL HEALTH CARE
Despite attempts by the current administration and Republican members of Congress, a substantial number of persons continue to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare. What is your position on the current Affordable Care Act and the issue of a national health care plan in general?
I believe figuring out healthcare and healthcare costs is our generational challenge, and we need new representatives in Congress who will get to work on dealing with this issue responsibly – instead of playing politics with our care. It’s also a deeply personal issue, and the one that got me into this congressional race: my mom died of ovarian cancer in 2011 after struggling with health care due to her pre-existing condition of breast cancer as a young mom. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made important strides towards expanding coverage for key segments of the population, particularly those with pre-existing conditions, like my mom, before she passed away. However, the ACA desperately needs reform, and I believe there is a lot we still must do to bring costs down, and make sure that people who have health insurance can actually access the care they pay for. One critical way to do that is by implementing a public option, a buy-in to Medicare. This could help drive down all health care costs significantly.
President Trump has eliminated the policy governing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that granted deportation relief for immigrants who came here as children (under the age of 16), which was created in 2012 by the Obama administration. Do you support continuation of the DACA program? Should Congress move to find a common ground that will provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants?
I believe that immigration is a moral, economic, and national security issue. And right now, the immigration system isn’t working for anyone: not Michigan businesses or workers, not undocumented immigrants, not Dreamers, not farmers, or anyone else. Our elected representatives have failed to address the public outcry for reform – we need to pass comprehensive legislation, tailored to our economic needs, that brings in workers when we need their specific skills; provides a pathway to citizenship to young people brought to the United States as kids who are Americans in every way other than their papers; increases border security, especially through technology; we need to hold companies accountable for exploiting undocumented labor, when they undercut our American workers; and provide safe-haven, as we have since the Founding Fathers, for refugees escaping death and destruction in their home countries.
What is your position on the need for added gun control legislation? Which, if any, of the following gun control measures could you support: Requiring expanded background checks? Background checks at gun shows? Banning bump stocks? Raising the age on the purchase of weapons? Banning military style weapons?
I grew up in a gun-owning family. I was trained on a Glock-17 and an M-4 for my three tours in Iraq. And my husband, a retired Army officer, carried a weapon every day he was deployed. So I believe in and support the Second Amendment. It is because of my background that I believe we need to both protect the Second Amendment and be smart about gun safety reforms; this is not an either/or issue. But our Congress has failed to take meaningful action for years. No one expects everyone to agree, but I do expect our elected officials to be willing to have tough conversations and make some sort of progress. I believe that we must pass common-sense gun safety legislation including instituting a robust, universal background check system to prevent terrorists, domestic abusers, and the mentally ill from obtaining guns, prohibit purchase of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines, and raise the age to purchase certain firearms. But we can’t make progress if our elected leaders simply refuse to have a conversation.
AUTHORIZING MILITARY ACTIONS
Should this or any President be required to consult with Congress before sending our military forces into foreign countries?
I’ve served in various defense and intelligence roles under Presidents Obama and Bush, including three tours in Iraq. I’m an Army wife and the step-mom to a current Army officer. So I feel strongly about this issue. Congress has the legal obligation, as given by the U.S. Constitution, to authorize any act of war. Since the Iraq war, we’ve seen little action on the part of our elected representatives to truly demand that authority, and to seek to update the Authorization of Military Force (AUMF). Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines serving in combat zones today are still operating under the 2001 AUMF, aimed at al Qaeda, because our Congress has backed away from their responsibilities. In Congress, I would serve as a vocal proponent for an update to the AUMF, and start to bring back the appropriate checks and balances in our system set up by our founding fathers.
The current administration has expressed its desire to withdraw from many of the international trade agreements entered into by past administrations. The President has also authorized import tariffs in recent months. Do you agree with the President on the trade agreements? What will the impact be of the import tariffs?
My great-grandfather started Hygrade Foods – famous for creating the Ballpark Franks at Tigers Stadium. My grandfather bought our family farm in Holly, where a local farmer now grows soybeans and feed corn. Stability is everything for business owners and farmers. So our approach to tariffs needs to be strategic and well thought out, and I’m concerned by some of President Trump’s actions in this area. While it’s unclear what tariffs will ultimately be put in place, I do not believe in unnecessary instability for businesses and farmers, and a trade war with China, should it come to that, leaves both the American consumer and producer a loser. When it comes to trade agreements, I take a principled approach: what does a trade deal do for Michigan businesses, Michigan workers, and will foreign partners be held to the same high quality and human rights standards? This is the scorecard that any trade deal should be graded against.
Why should a voter choose you over an opponent on the ballot?
I am running for Congress because I believe our politics must change – and that Congress isn’t going to fix itself. As a national security professional who has served both Democratic and Republican administrations, I know what it means to put politics aside, put your head down, and get to work. To serve. I have been tested in war zones and national security crises, and I know how to bring disparate parties together and hammer out solutions. If elected, I will bring that same mission-focus to expanding real economic opportunity to our communities here in Michigan, fighting for our fundamental rights to safety, security, and health for our kids, and preserving what makes our state great. I will always be governed by the simple idea that our representatives’ job is to be available and serve the public. It’s time to send a different generation of leaders to Congress, and I hope you give me the chance to do it.
Bishop, of Rochester, is the incumbent Congressman of the 8th District, since 2014. Before that, he served two terms in the state House (1999-2003), and two terms in the state Senate (2003-2011), where he was the Majority Leader. He graduated from University of Michigan and Michigan State University College of Law.
All Americans deserve clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. And every Michigan family is a part of the heritage of the Great Lakes, and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are preserved for generations to come. This does not require a labyrinth of government regulations, some of which do little to actually protect the environment. A National Association of Manufacturers study estimates that compliance with burdensome regulations cost our economy nearly $2 trillion annually. This places a massive disincentive to manufacture, farm, or produce energy in America, costing workers good paying jobs, and driving up costs for families. That is why I’ve supported a reduction in the regulatory burden throughout my time in Congress. In Michigan our economic security is dependent on manufacturing, and our national security is dependent on energy security. I will fight any government over-regulations which threaten those imperatives.
Not only did I support it, as a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, I helped write it. I’m proud that this legislation delivers real relief to nearly every hardworking Michigan family including doubling the standard deduction and the child tax credit, expanding the medical expense deduction, and preserving higher education tax relief for our students. As a result, a typical family of four in Michigan’s Eighth earning $90,000 will see a tax cut of approximately $1,700. We’re also seeing something extremely exciting in our state – jobs returning from Mexico! Fiat Chrysler Truck Assembly Plant is relocating their new Ram Truck production line from Mexico to Michigan, bringing with it 2,500 new jobs. In addition, every Chrysler employee received a bonus check for $2,000 as a result of tax reform. The economy is growing and jobs are returning to the United States – and this is just the beginning.
The national debt and deficit continue to be some of America’s most pressing issues. Effectively dealing with this will require tough fiscal decisions but most importantly we need the growing economy that is resulting from tax reform. We must also continue to cut wasteful spending while protecting the benefits of folks who have paid into the system and need these benefits for their retirement. Programs like Social Security and Medicare, which people have earned, need to be strengthened and protected, not cut. Last year, I supported reforms to Medicaid as a part of the American Health Care Act which would have given states more flexibility and delivered a great deal of savings, but the Senate failed to act. I will continue to work toward such reforms to bring fiscal responsibility while protecting Michigan families. I support a balanced budget amendment that will force the government to live within its means.
NATIONAL HEALTH CARE
Sadly, the Affordable Care Act has failed American families across the nation. Americans are facing higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and fewer participating providers. I don’t believe the Affordable Care Act is the right way forward for our nation. My goals are the same as those of Michigan families, to increase quality, reduce costs, and put healthcare decisions back into the hands of the American people. That is exactly what I am working to enact. I voted in support of the Small Business Health Fairness Act, which would allow small businesses to band together to purchase health insurance through an association giving their employees greater access to health coverage at reduced costs. I also voted for legislation recently signed into law that provides a two-year extension of funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers, also known as community health centers, which provide affordable health care to low-income Americans.
Our immigration system is broken and our borders are not secure. I support legislation that secures the border, transitions away from chain migration to a merit based system, eliminates the Visa lottery and cracks down on sanctuary cities. It would also provide stability for the DACA recipients who are here through no fault of their own by restoring the DACA program without giving a special pathway to citizenship. This is a reasonable and commonsense approach which will treat those currently protected by DACA with compassion so they can continue to work and study here while also protecting the sovereignty of our nation by restoring the rule of law.
The House has been taking action on this important issue. In March, legislation I supported was signed into law that will strengthen our nation’s gun background check system (NICS). This is vital to ensure criminal histories are accurately reported to the national background check database. I have supported banning bump stocks and submitted a letter encouraging a ban. But there are those who would propose a ban on a wide-range of commonly-used firearms, which I don’t believe will solve the problem. I voted for the Violence Against Law Enforcement Officers and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability (VALOR) Initiative, which trains law enforcement to handle active shooter situations, provides increased grant funding to train teachers, first responders, and others to identify and aid someone with mental health issues before a crisis occurs. I also voted for the bipartisan STOP School Violence Act (H.R. 4909) which increased grant funding for school security from $30 million to $75 million for the next ten years.
AUTHORIZING MILITARY ACTIONS
The decision to send American service members into harm’s way is something every American takes very seriously, and I believe it must only be done when vital U.S. interests or those of our allies are at risk. While the President does have the unilateral power to deploy U.S. forces in combat to protect our national interests from imminent threat, the President is required to consult with Congress beforehand, and must seek Congressional authorization to continue such a deployment beyond 90 days. There are also two existing Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs) on the books that Congress enacted in the aftermath of 9/11. These AUMFs provide the President with broad authority to fight terrorism overseas. I believe that any future effort to expand the authorities granted by these two AUMFs should be fully debated by the people’s representatives in Congress and passed into law before action is taken.
I believe in free trade, but it must be fair trade. We should pursue level trade rules for American manufacturers, farmers, and small businesses given that they must compete in the global market. I support modernizing NAFTA and applaud the Trump Administration’s successful renegotiation of the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement which has achieved fair treatment for U.S. auto exports. Bad actors like China have distorted world markets through currency manipulation and theft of intellectual property bringing the loss of American jobs and entire industries. This must be confronted. In response, the Trump Administration has threatened tariffs while also entering negotiations with nations like China. I’ve heard from a number of small businesses right here in Michigan who are concerned these tariffs could harm their businesses, and I understand their concerns. Going forward, please know that I will continue to fight for American producers and American workers.