Serving mid-Michigan in Congress is the most important thing I’ve ever done. Since winning election in 2018, I’ve worked to defend and expand the middle class—but our work is just beginning.
I’m running for re-election in 2022 in Michigan’s newly formed 7th district because I want to build the next generation of cars and chips here in the U.S.; lower the cost of prescription drugs; fight for the Roe standard to preserve women’s personal freedom; and prevent corporate money from warping the political process.
I’m a third-generation Michigander. I grew up on my family farm in Holly, Michigan. My family story is one of hard work and sacrifice, starting with my great-grandfather. He arrived on Ellis Island and achieved the American Dream by founding the family meat business, Hygrade Foods, which established its headquarters in Detroit in 1949. Hygrade created a number of food staples beloved by Michiganders, including the famous Ballpark Frank, first sold at Tiger Stadium. The values of hard work, decency, and integrity that underpinned his success were passed down from generation to generation, ultimately guiding me into a life of service.
I’ve been fortunate that I get to spend my career serving the country I love. I happened to be in New York when the Twin Towers were attacked, and by the time the dust cleared, I knew I wanted to go into national security. I was recruited by the CIA to serve as a Middle East analyst. Within a year, I was sent to serve the first of three tours in Iraq alongside the military.
I’ve been fortunate that I get to spend my career serving the country I love. I happened to be in New York when the Twin Towers were attacked, and by the time the dust cleared, I knew I wanted to go into national security. I was recruited by the CIA to serve as a Middle East analyst. Within a year, I was sent to serve the first of three tours in Iraq alongside the military.
My tours in a combat zone led to national security roles at the White House under both President Bush and President Obama. I worked for President Bush as a member of his national security staff and was asked to stay on when President Obama took office. I took on a series of leadership roles at the Defense Department, and until January 2017, I oversaw defense policy for Africa, the Middle East, and Europe at the Pentagon as the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. There, I negotiated some of the Pentagon’s most sensitive national security matters from the fight against ISIS to elissa slotkin with familythe U.S. response to Russian aggression. No matter the issue, it was the values I learned growing up in Michigan – a straightforward, common-sense approach – that helped me succeed as a national security leader.
But the reason I decided to run for Congress for the first time was more personal: my mom. My mother died of ovarian cancer in 2011. She struggled to afford healthcare for years because of a pre-existing condition. The same month that we got her terminal diagnosis, we filled out the paperwork for her to declare bankruptcy. Protections for people with pre-existing conditions and the exorbitant price of healthcare and prescription drugs got me in this race and remain a huge focus for me.
I’m fortunate to share my values and love for public service with my husband Dave, who retired as a U.S. Army Colonel after 30 years of service. Dave served as an Apache helicopter pilot and served two tours during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and we met in Baghdad on his second tour. In Dave, I not only gained a partner but two amazing step-daughters as well, both of whom have started their own lives of service: one as a U.S. Army officer and the other as a physician who serves at a VA hospital.
Throughout my career, I’ve worked for both Republican and Democratic leaders who put the good of our country over politics. I’m proud to do the same for the people of Michigan’s new 7th District. If you come to the table ready to negotiate and willing to work, I’ll work with you, because I think mid-Michigan is looking for a principled leader, not an ideologue. That’s why I’m ranked as the most bipartisan member of Michigan’s congressional delegation and the 9th-most of the entire U.S. House—because I know that working across the aisle is how you get things done.
I have spent my time in Congress working on the issues that I hear about most from people across our district: bringing down the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, bringing critical supply chains back to the U.S., supporting our veterans, and getting money out of politics. You can read more about my work here:
I want our 2022 campaign to reflect what we’ve learned from 2018 and 2020. We’ll be visiting voters in all parts of the 7th District: in Ingham, Livingston, Eaton, Clinton, and Shiawassee Counties as well as Milford and South Lyon in Oakland County and a portion of Argentine Township in Genesee County. I believe in making myself as available and accessible as possible, and I hope to see you at public events across the district.
One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about campaigning and representing our district is getting to meet and work with so many dedicated, passionate volunteers and local leaders. We won’t be able to win this without your support, and I look forward to taking on this challenge with you.
I Am Running To Fight For You
I have spent my life in public service. After 9/11, I dedicated my career to national security and I went on to serve at the CIA, the White House, and the Pentagon, where I worked on some of the world’s toughest problems. I approach elected office from a service perspective: as your elected Representative, my job is to fight for you and your families in Washington. I hope to earn your confidence and support.
In my first term in Congress, I have spent my time working on the issues that I hear about most from people across the district. Among my legislation, I worked to pass the bipartisan Real Time Benefits Act and the Lower Drug Cost Now Act –– both of which tackle the out-of-control prices of prescription drugs. As part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, six of my provisions related to PFAS protection, monitoring, and remediation were passed and signed into law by the President. As a result of my PFAS Monitoring Act, communities across the country will be required to monitor for PFAS contamination. I have focused on ways to help better provide for our veterans after they transition to civilian life, which is why I led the bipartisan PAWS Act which helps veterans get connected with service dogs and the bipartisan Support for Veterans in Effective Apprenticeships Act, which will help expand the number of registered apprenticeship programs veterans can access with their benefits.
Our work is just beginning. There is much to be done to reform America’s healthcare system; strengthen Michigan’s middle class; and bring decency and integrity back to politics. I am running for re-election to work for the people of Michigan’s new 7th district.
I first ran for Congress in 2017 after watching my then-Congressman vote to gut the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare is a deeply personal issue for me. When my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer she didn’t have health insurance. Like so many Americans, she had gone years without insurance because she could not afford it, due to her pre-existing condition. The same week my family was dealing with my mom’s terminal diagnosis, we started preparing for the possibility that she would have to declare bankruptcy. So when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut protections for people with pre-existing conditions and celebrated it at the White House, something inside me broke. I turned to my husband Dave, and I said, “No. You don’t get to do this. You don’t get to ignore your constituents, vote against their interests, and keep your job.” In the military, we have a term for this — it’s called dereliction of duty. It’s a fireable offense. In November 2018, voters in Michigan’s 8th district agreed, and we flipped a seat that had been held by Republican lawmakers for nearly two decades.
Over the past four years, I have heard from thousands of folks across the district about what matters most to them. I have tried to do more listening than talking. After hundreds of events in the community, thousands of conversations, and some good old-fashioned Saturday door-knocking, this is what I’ve heard: the American middle class — the backbone of the American success story since World War II — is under direct threat. Between stagnant wages and the rising cost of everything, working families are getting squeezed. People here are working harder for less.
I can promise you this: I will fight to preserve the American Dream in Michigan. I will work every day to make sure that we have world-class, affordable education that prepares our kids for well paid careers in Michigan. I will fight to ensure that all people have access to affordable health care and prescription drugs. I will make sure our kids are safe and healthy by protecting against threats to our environment, our security, and the very real threats posed by our aging infrastructure — and I will fight to bring real economic opportunity to our communities here in Michigan. There’s a lot of work to do, and I hope you give me the chance to fight for the working families of Michigan’s new 7th District.
Over the course of the campaign, I hope to meet as many of you in person as possible. I want to hear directly from you. After all, the job of a U.S. Representative is to represent you. So if you have questions or feedback for me, please send me a note and let me know what’s on your mind.
I believe all Americans should have access to healthcare they can afford, regardless of pre-existing conditions. No one should ever go broke because they happen to get sick, and no family should have to decide whether they can afford to save the life of a loved one. I believe we need true bipartisan reform of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We should also consider options that would allow people the choice to buy into plans, such as Medicare, that have been proven to control costs for consumers. Healthcare reform must be accompanied by a serious effort to reform standards on the prescription drug industry in order to bring down prescription drug costs, something both Democrats and Republicans left out of the original ACA legislation.
Like many Americans, healthcare is a deeply personal issue for me. In fact, healthcare was the reason I decided to first run for office. In 2009, my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer at a time when she was uninsured. She had struggled with her healthcare since 2002 when she lost her job and benefits. She had breast cancer as a young woman — what we now call a “pre-existing condition” — so she couldn’t find a healthcare plan that she could afford for many years. Eventually she got insurance, but unbeknownst to my family, she let it lapse just months before her cancer returned. A loophole saved her from going bankrupt from the high cost of her medical bills, but our family’s experience is evidence of a broken system.
Our nation has made important strides over the past seven years. The ACA ensured that insurance companies could not discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, eliminated lifetime coverage limits, allowed young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, and made some progress in bringing down healthcare and drug costs for seniors. But there is much more to do: premiums have risen, particularly for small business owners, and too many people in our district are covered but struggle to afford the high premiums and deductibles associated with their insurance plans.
We need to approach healthcare with the seriousness and focus it deserves. I believe it is important to work in a bipartisan fashion to tackle the challenges that remain under the ACA. But the way ahead must safeguard vital components of the ACA: protection for essential health benefits, no annual or lifetime coverage caps, no denial of coverage based on health status or pre-existing conditions, and no discrimination based on gender. I believe we must bring down the high price of prescription drugs, which is why I have cosponsored a number of bills to increase transparency around drug pricing, and to allow for price negotiations, which will bring down drug costs for all consumers. The health and safety of our families are at stake in this debate, and we must treat this issue with the seriousness that it deserves.
Lowering The Cost Of Prescription Drugs
Working to lower the cost of prescription drugs has been a top priority of mine since I was elected. The cost of prescription drugs has skyrocketed over the past few decades, and research shows that 1 in 5 Americans have walked away from the pharmacy counter because they can’t afford their prescription drugs. To bring down the cost to consumers, it is essential that there is far greater price transparency, and that the government has the tools to negotiate down drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies, especially for Medicare beneficiaries.
To tackle the problem of price transparency, I introduced the Real Time Benefits Act, which passed the House with unanimous, bipartisan support in October 2019. This bill creates a “real time benefits” tool which could be used by doctors and Medicare patients to access information about the cost of a prescription, compare cheaper generic alternatives, and find the pharmacy with the best price. This would allow patients to know the real cost of their prescription drugs, before they leave the doctor’s office.
To tackle the issue of negotiation, I co-sponsored the Lower Drug Cost Now Act. And in December 2019 I was extremely proud to see it pass the House with bipartisan support. This comprehensive drug pricing reform bill would allow the government to directly negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower the costs of prescription drugs, bringing down the costs for all consumers. Right now, the Veteran’s Administration health care system is able to do just that for the nearly 10 million patients that access healthcare through the VA. Negotiation will bring prices down, which will benefit all Americans.
Unfortunately, both of these bills remain stuck in the Senate’s hands.
For too long, big pharmaceutical firms have bought influence through campaign donations and politicians have looked the other way as prescription drug prices have skyrocketed. I don’t accept a dime from this industry, or any corporate PAC, in my campaign. I will pledge to continue the fight for increased checks and balances on the pharmaceutical industry. The fight for affordable prescription drugs is far from over. I can’t get through the grocery store without people coming up to tell me that they can’t afford their son’s insulin, they can’t send their daughter to summer camp because they can’t afford the four required inhalers, or that their elderly parents are rationing their medication. This is a struggle that nobody should have to go through, and why I will continue to fight to find ways to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
Investing In Education
All children deserve access to a high-quality education that will allow them to compete in the 21st century economy — both the practical skills and the critical thinking they need to succeed. My priority is fighting for common-sense measures that support funding for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education, improving access to the skills training necessary to secure the well-paid jobs here in Michigan, and making higher education affordable for everyone who chooses to pursue it.
From Lansing to Rochester Hills, public schools are the anchor of our communities and as they go, so goes the future of our towns and cities. Thriving public schools require skilled, committed teachers, and I will continue fighting to make sure that they get the respect and support they have earned. I believe educational innovation is important, especially in underserved communities, and I support communities having choices, including magnet schools and public non-profit charter schools.
But I have strong concerns that private, for-profit charter schools may put profit-making at odds with educating Michigan’s children. Regardless of the school, I believe that it is essential for our state to have robust standards across the board. However, any alternative option must apply equal standards and include public accountability for taxpayers’ dollars that gives parents confidence in the quality of the education their children receive. Furthermore, such alternatives cannot come at the expense of ensuring that quality schools exist in each of our district’s neighborhoods.
I believe our education system should work from the bottom up, from early childhood education to skilled trade programs, so that we’re providing the broad set of skills needed for our children to succeed. College shouldn’t be considered a luxury, or a requirement for success, and should be affordable for those who are interested in pursuing it. We need more options — more certification programs and college apprenticeship programs that are paired with the specific job opportunities available right now in our state — to ensure that we are educating and training our young people to contribute to growing Michigan’s economy.
I believe that hard-working college graduates should get a fair shot at the American dream. However, the reality is that many students finish college saddled with crushing debt. I am committed to making higher education more affordable and more accessible to our district’s young people. I will continue to fight to strengthen federal Pell grants, expand federal funds for school-to-work programs so that students know that they have a job waiting for them when they graduate, strengthen career and technical education, and cap the student loan interest rates to reduce the debt on graduating students, to ensure that students are getting a fair shake.
Growing Economic Opportunity In Michigan
Michigan was the birthplace of the middle class, and we must make sure we enact policies that allow Michigan’s middle class families to succeed.
Growing economic opportunity begins by investing in talent in our communities. We must train the next generation to take on roles in Michigan’s 21st century economy by connecting our workforce to the training that will prepare them for the trades, advanced manufacturing, technical, and cyber jobs of the future.
Michigan has always been a place where things are designed and built. Our state has an amazing history of innovation, from the creation of the modern automobile to the invention of penicillin. But the economy is evolving in our state and we need to face forward and change with it. For our communities to thrive, we must be serious and strategic about growing economic opportunity here in Michigan. That starts with investing in education, connecting our talented young people with opportunities in our businesses, and ensuring that our entrepreneurs and small business owners are able to grow by hiring talent directly from our communities.
Across our district, I hear from businesses big and small that they have trouble finding the local talent they need to compete. Instead, our companies are turning to out-of-state talent to fill their critical openings, particularly in IT, cyber-security, coding, and health care. At the same time, I am constantly meeting people who are unsure of the educational path they should pursue to prepare them for well-paid careers, and fear taking on too much student debt with the promise of a job in their field. If we have critical vacancies in fields like IT and healthcare, we should invest in job training programs that match talent to opportunity. Instead of our businesses spending money to hire out of state, they should have the option to partner with the community high schools and colleges to train their own pipeline of talent.
Investing In Our Infrastructure & Water Systems
I live twenty minutes from Flint, Michigan — so clean, safe drinking water is something that’s always on my mind. And here in Michigan we know that you can’t talk about clean water without talking about the threat posed by PFAS contamination, often called the “forever chemical” that has found its way into hundreds of sites in Michigan due to industrial contamination.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I directly advocated for six PFAS related provisions to be included in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and I am proud that my bills to combat the threat of PFAS were signed into law by the President. As a result, the Department of Defense must stop using PFAS based firefighting foams no later than 2024, National Guard bases will be able to receive funding from the Department of Defense to support environmental remediation efforts to clean up PFAS. Importantly, as a result of my PFAS Monitoring Act, communities across the country will now be required to test for PFAS. There is still much work to be done to ensure that every Michigander has clean, drinkable water when they turn their tap — making that a reality remains one of my top priorities in Washington.
Every Michigander knows that our roads need some serious work. The visible potholes in our roads are a daily reminder of how Michigan’s infrastructure is in serious need of investment. We all know the challenges, and we have the skilled workforce in our state ready to rebuild the roads, bridges, pipelines, and other critical infrastructure that our economy depends on. Investing in our infrastructure will attract investment to our state — improving our economic competitiveness — and improve the safety and security of Michiganders. I stand ready and willing to work with anybody, of any political party, who is serious about addressing this critical issue.
Protecting Retirement Security
If you work hard your whole life, you deserve a dignified retirement. Social Security and Medicare are a promise — one that seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work. Safeguarding the economic security of retirees by defending these programs and bringing the costs of prescription drugs down have been among my top priorities since I was elected.
Michiganders pay their fair share towards Medicare and Social Security. Hundreds of thousands of people across our state rely on a responsible government to preserve and protect their benefits. While I wholeheartedly support common-sense approaches to improve efficiency and reduce administrative costs for Medicare, we should not be looking to balance the federal budget on the backs of seniors. It is essential that these programs are safeguarded and defended. Our seniors have earned it.
Fighting For Campaign Finance Reform
Our campaign finance system is broken and largely responsible for so much of the polarization and dysfunction we see in our politics today. Much of this can be traced back to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed corporate special interest money to flood into our democratic system and drown out the voice of voters in our own elections. That’s why I made the decision to refuse corporate PAC money, as I never wanted my constituents to question why I voted the way I did.
The first bill I voted for as a Member of Congress was the For the People Act (HR1). This bill would curb partisan gerrymandering, expand voter rights, and crack down on the culture of corruption in Washington. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives in March of 2019, but unfortunately, it’s been stuck in the Senate ever since.
I promise to continue fighting to reform our campaign finance laws, supporting policies that would increase transparency, curb unlimited spending, to ensure that the voices of our citizens are heard. I support measures that would hold candidates and donors — including my own — accountable through clearly defined fundraising disclosures, deadlines, and penalties. Voters deserve to know who is funding their elected officials.
Strengthening America’s National Security
Before my election to Congress, I proudly served for fourteen years with the CIA and the Department of Defense. Following the 9/11 attacks, I was recruited to join the Central Intelligence Agency as a Middle East analyst and I served a total of three tours in Iraq, alongside our nation’s military and diplomats. I served in the office of the first Director of National Intelligence, and in the White House under both President Bush and President Obama. At the Pentagon, I served as the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs where I was the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on security strategy and policy issues related to NATO, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. Now, as a Member of Congress, I sit on the House Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security Committee.
I believe that the United States plays a unique and vital role in the world. Keeping Americans safe at home and abroad starts with a strong defense, but military power alone is not an effective strategy in a world of increasingly globalized and networked challenges. As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Homeland Security Committee, I remain focused on ensuring the United States is ready to confront both existing international challenges and new threats, from terrorism to sophisticated cyber-attacks. To do so, the United States must make investments in its military, intelligence, and diplomatic power – and continue to work with allies and partners around the globe to confront common challenges.
Providing For Our Veterans
Veterans’ issues are personal for me. My family is a service family. My husband is an Apache pilot and served for thirty years in the Army, retiring as a Colonel. My grandfather was awarded the Silver Star for his service at Normandy, during World War Two. My father-in-law served for twenty years in the Air Force, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. Today, my two stepdaughters are both serving in their own right: one is an active duty Army officer and the other is a physician at a VA hospital. For me, providing world-class care and support to our nation’s veterans is not an abstract policy question – it affects my life and that of my family.
I believe that our veterans deserve our utmost respect and we must do more to ensure that returning veterans are given opportunities to successfully reintegrate, through more support for education, apprenticeship, and job training. In February 2020, I was proud to lead the introduction of the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) for Veterans Therapy Act, which unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support. This bill would create a program within the VA that supports non-profits that connect veterans with service dogs. Two organizations right here in the 8th district, Blue Star Service Dogs and Veteran Service Dogs, will directly benefit from this bill and are already doing this type of meaningful work. I believe it is critical that veterans have meaningful employment opportunities when they transition to civilian life, which is why I co-led the bipartisan Support for Veterans in Effective Apprenticeships Act, which will help expand the number of registered apprenticeship programs veterans can access with their GI benefits. Advocating for our veterans is a top priority for me, and I will continue to fight to ensure they have the support and resources that they have earned.
Preserving Our Environment
A threat to our environment is a threat to our security and a threat to our way of life. I do not believe that a strong economy and a clean environment are mutually exclusive. In fact, in Michigan, they are intrinsically linked. After all, if you can’t sustain your business because our lakes and rivers have become polluted, that’s a threat to your economic security. If you and your family don’t have access to clean drinking water, that’s a threat to your family’s health and well being. And if polluters continue to write the rules,that’s a threat to the future of our state — and the environment we will pass down to our kids.
Here in Michigan, we not only cherish our beautiful natural resources, but we depend on them to keep our families healthy and our economy strong. That’s why I’ve made protecting our environment — and the businesses that depend on them — a top priority, since over 525,000 jobs in our state are tied to the Great Lakes.
In February 2020 I strongly supported the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support. This legislation will ensure that we have the funding to preserve the Great Lakes as a reliable source of clean water, fishing, and recreation for generations to come.
The development of clean energy technologies like wind and solar not only helps the quality of our environment, it also means economic potential. Michigan has always been a leader in manufacturing, and I will continue to fight to position Michigan to welcome the next generation of high-skill, well-paying advanced manufacturing jobs to our state.
The impact of climate change is being felt nationally, and can be seen here in Michigan. I believe climate change is an issue that must be taken seriously, and prudent planning should be undertaken to prepare for and mitigate its negative impacts. We must be realistic about our changing climate and prepare our state’s economy, communities, and environment for the impact of climate change — and get serious about how to stop it.
FIGHTING FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS
When women succeed, families succeed, and communities succeed. While we have made great strides as a society, we must do more to ensure women have every opportunity to chart their own paths, rise up in their careers, and provide for their families. Women deserve equal pay for equal work, and there is far more to do to ensure all women are treated equally in the workplace. The United States lags far behind other nations with regards to access to maternity care and paid family leave, which helps women and families stay healthy and get ahead. I believe that women should make their own personal decisions about their reproductive health, and that politicians should not tell women what to do with their bodies.
Since being elected in 2018, one of my top priorities has been ensuring that survivors of sexual assault are fully protected under the law. In December 2019, I was proud to introduce legislation that would stop Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos from dismantling Title IX protections for survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment, and to co-lead bipartisan legislation to strengthen on-campus sexual assault prevention and enforcement measures, by holding colleges and universities more accountable. As the U.S. Representative for Michigan State University, the location of the single largest case campus sexual assault in American history, I am dedicated to fighting for progress on this issue.
DEFENDING LGBTQ RIGHTS
Members of the LGBTQ community deserve to have full and equal protection under the law. There have been important advancements in LGBTQ equality in my lifetime, but that progress must be defended. I have always been a strong supporter of equality for the LGBTQ community, including marriage equality. It is a deeply personal issue for me: my mother came out in the 1980’s and was in a committed same-sex relationship prior to her passing away. From equality in the workplace, to access to critical healthcare services, LGBTQ Michiganders deserve equal rights and opportunities.
I was serving in the Pentagon when the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was finally repealed, an update that was long overdue and that I strongly supported. No service member who meets the requirements for service should be turned away based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, including transgender service members. I am proud to have the endorsement of Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest civil rights organization working for equality on behalf of LGBTQ Americans.
ADVANCING EQUALITY FOR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR
I believe that every Michigander, no matter who they are, where they come from, how they identify, who they worship, or who they love, deserves to be safe, healthy and thrive in their community. I have spent my life working to keep Americans safe, to defend the rights that are promised to each of us in our founding documents – and that’s a fight I’m continuing in Congress. Doing one’s duty as a public servant means defending equal rights, but also ensuring equal opportunity – when it comes to access to quality schools, equitable employment opportunities, dependable and affordable healthcare, safety, and security.
As a Member of Congress I’ve worked hard to truly put the public first – and that means fighting to break down the barriers that still hold Michiganders back. We have a long way to go to address the racial inequities in economic security, education, housing, safety, employment, and our criminal justice system – and these issues must be at the center of an agenda to build a stronger economy that works for everyone, and a safer and fairer Michigan.
My first job out of college was working for an organization that helped address educational disparities in marginalized communities. In Congress, I will fight to ensure every child is given the chance to succeed, level the playing field in our criminal justice system, protect and expand voting rights, and promote fair hiring practices that give Michiganders a second chance to thrive and contribute in their communities.
Fiscal Responsibility And Government
Crafting a budget for the federal government is one of the most fundamental duties of the U.S. Congress. Just like a family’s budget, the federal budget is a reflection of our national values and priorities. And just like a family budget, we must identify the waste to cut in order to spend on the things that are most important to us. I believe we need to rigorously cut waste and excess, while simultaneously making smart investments in health care, education, support for small businesses, and improvements to our infrastructure. I believe that a core tenet of being an elected official is to be upfront about spending decisions, to explain both the benefits and the cuts.
An example of this backward budgeting mindset is the 2017 tax bill proposed by Congress and enacted by President Trump. This legislation permanently slashed taxes for corporations and the richest Americans, while adding more than a trillion dollars to our national debt. In my mind, that’s the definition of fiscal irresponsibility – giving away permanent tax breaks to corporations without being clear what vital programs will be cut to pay the bill. We should not balance the federal budget on the backs of Middle Class families, seniors, students, or veterans — and the public should be informed about how these new bills will be paid.
I strongly disagree with the usage of government shutdowns as a bargaining tactic during budget negotiations. After being elected in 2018, I was sworn into Congress in the middle of the longest government shutdown in history, which lasted thirty five days. During that period, I led a group of Freshman lawmakers to draft the Shutdown to End all Shutdowns Act, which would suspend pay for Members of Congress and suspend travel for senior Executive Branch officials in the event of a federal government shutdown. I believe that the all-too common pattern of using the federal workforce as leverage in budget negotiations is political brinkmanship at its most cynical, and it must end.
Solving our country’s debt and deficit issues starts with an efficient and effective government that invests in the future of the American people. I will continue advocating for a responsible federal budget that reduces government waste and puts people before corporate profit.
Passing Common Sense Gun Legislation
I believe in and support the Second Amendment. I believe that individuals across our district, state, and country who operate guns with care and safety should be allowed to exercise the right to do so. I grew up in a gun-owning family, and when I served as an intelligence officer alongside the military in Iraq, I was trained on and carried a Glock 17 handgun and an M-4 semi-automatic weapon. My husband, who served in the U.S. Army for 30 years, carried a weapon every day he was deployed.
But I also believe we need to be honest that gun violence presents a serious national security and public health issue. And it is precisely because of my experience both operating firearms and working in national security that I believe we must pass common-sense gun safety legislation. We must prohibit terrorists, the mentally ill, and domestic abusers from obtaining guns. And as an Army wife, I do not believe ordinary citizens should be able to easily obtain weapons or materiel that allow them to outgun their local police or military.
Mass shootings and gun violence are a threat to the security of our families, our communities, and our schools. No parent should fear for their child’s safety after dropping them off for class. Failing to do all we can to protect our children is a failure to put the public first – and in my view, a dereliction of duty to address one of the nation’s pressing security issues.
Combating The Opioid Epidemic
It’s no secret that the opioid epidemic represents a national emergency across America — it is now a leading cause of death of Americans under 50 years old. I have met with the stakeholders of our communities — teachers, firefighters, police and first responders, community coalitions, treatment programs, nonprofits and hospitals — to hear directly from those most impacted by the opioid epidemic and to guide my legislative approach on this critical issue.
In Congress, I have co-sponsored legislation to authorize State Opioid Response Grants, creating lasting congressional approval for a program that moves critically important funds to our state. In 2019 alone, Michigan received more than $27M through State Opioid Response Grants to help strengthen opioid response measures. And I have co-sponsored legislation that sanctions foreign drug manufacturers who knowingly provide synthetic opioids to traffickers, to crack down on the pipeline that brings these drugs into our state. In Michigan, opioid overdoses now claim more lives than car accidents, including hundreds of deaths each year across our district. This issue demands action, at every level.
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