WASHINGTON — Between celebratory speeches and inaugural balls, thousands of Michigan residents took time to discuss the future of their state under the newly re-elected Obama administration.
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Obama supporters filled the room where the pre-inaugural Michigan congressional open house was held Sunday morning, with two security lines wrapping around the outside of the building just steps away from the Capitol.
Top Democratic congressmen and congresswomen — including Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin and Representatives Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) — attended to discuss policy with their constituents.
Stabenow said her biggest goal for the new term is to create and diversify jobs throughout the state. She said the University will play a role in job growth with the advent of an advanced battery innovation center that will lead the way in energy storage development.
“Advancing manufacturing is key to the energy technology which is very, very important for Michigan,” Stabenow said.
Stabenow, who is chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, also said she plans to address the effects of climate change on the Great Lakes in the coming term.
“Climate change is real; nobody has felt that more than our farmers who are seeing the volatility of the weather,” Stabenow said. “We’re seeing it now in the lake levels going down in the Great Lakes ... We have to tackle these issues.”
Though the economy and jobs were the topics of the hour, Rep. Levin said Democrats won a major victory for students by keeping the student-loan interest rate down, a goal which will remain an objective for the Democrats this term.
“The students won; we cut the interest rate in half,” Levin said. “Student debt, I think, remains a problem, and there’s some efforts at legislation to challenge what we have just won.”
In a phone interview before the event, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) said Republicans and Democrats in Congress need to work together to implement effective policy.
“The problem is if we keep swinging at each other, we’ll get to the point where we can’t … have the ability to do our job,” Dingell, who did not attend the event, said.
Dingell added that the ill will of the past four years should be forgotten, and he would like to see an attitude change from both sides in the coming administration.
—Follow our team of reporters and photographers covering the 2013 inauguration of President Barrack Obama on Twitter for live updates: Follow Alicia Adamczyk at @aliciaadamczyk, Katie Burke at @KatieGBurke and Adam Glanzman at @glanzpiece. The news section, @michdailynews will also be broadcasting live updates throughout inauguration day.