My friend Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin
(D-MI) ran for Congress in a battleground state, in a battleground district, after a career of battles as a US intelligence officer. She could have chosen to live a quieter life on a family farm with her husband, a decorated and retired general and patriot like herself. Instead, she has chosen to continue the battle in the US House of Representatives
and we hope next, the US Senate. As we approach 12 month mark til the next election, I wanted to share this exclusive Q&A with her as I believe Elissa is probably the female candidate MOST WORTH SUPPORTING
in the next election.
AJR: After a life of government service, what is the single most important policy (vs
political) reason you felt you “had” to enter the political arena? I believe it is your
mom’s experience with the US healthcare system, but please confirm…
EBS: It was. My mother was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer when she was uninsured. No coverage, my parents were divorced, and she struggled to afford healthcare for years because of a pre-existing condition. At that time, it was totally legal for the insurance companies to gouge her based on that pre-existing condition. So, the same month that we received my mother’s terminal diagnosis was the same month that our family started filling out the paperwork for her to declare bankruptcy. It was like a grenade went off in our lives. So, in 2012, when Trump and others went after the ACA, or those protections for people with pre-existing conditions, it just broke me. And it ultimately fueled me to run.
AJR: What is the single biggest challenge faced by Michiganians today and how will
you as the next Senator of the great state of Michigan be uniquely qualified to
EBS: I’m a national security person by training and I believe the biggest threat to the U.S. and to Michigan, is the shrinking middle class. I spend most of my time addressing the things Michiganders talk about every night at the kitchen table: their pocketbooks and their kids. Right now, in Michigan we have people in our cities and rural areas who can’t break into the middle class because of a lack of opportunity. And we have a group of people who have fallen out of the middle class – folks whose parents or grandparents had that economic security, but now they can’t provide that for their own kids. I firmly believe that in a multiracial, multiethnic society, nothing is more important than a strong middle class – it’s inseparable with the American Dream. Michigan should be a place where you can have one job with good benefits that cover essentials like health care and childcare – a place where you can do well and know that your kids will do even better.
AJR: Rumor has it $800B of federal infrastructure funding is earmarked for
Michigan. How do you believe it should be spent?
EBS: When we passed the BIF (Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal) we made a one-in-a-generation investment in our infrastructure: our roads and bridges impact people every day and need immediate attention, the average Michigander is spending close to $600 a year repairing their car because of the condition our roads are in. We need to ensure every Michigander has clean water – that means removing lead pipes and preventing PFAS contamination. Finally, we need to make sure everyone has access to broadband regardless of their zip code – we saw during the pandemic how badly children in rural areas need it as well as people that can work from home. I would note that China is outspending us 2:1 in infrastructure investment, so it’s also critical to keep pace as a modern society.
AJR: If you could give one rallying cry to our contemporaries in their 40s (and up)
as to why they “have” to vote in the next election, including independents, what
would it be?
EBS: I know a lot of people our age feel down about the state of politics and government. We are in what I believe is a decade of political instability in the U.S. I used to study other countries and many of them would have 10-12 years where people are so polarized, nothing gets done. We are in one of those periods, but it won’t last forever. If good, pragmatic people lead and citizens are engaged, we can get through it. So, we need you to be engaged, and vote. And I’ll do everything in my power to be the principled leader you all deserve.
To support Elissa’s Senate race, please go to: ElissaSlotkin.org