From The Daily: Vote Debbie Dingell and Gary Peters

Monday, October 26, 2020 - 1:38pm

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Editor's note: The Michigan Daily has also provided endorsements for other races on the Ann Arbor ballot this November. You can find them all here.

The race for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for Michigan’s 12th congressional district is effortlessly dominated by incumbent Dingell. Closely tied to the University of Michigan’s campus, Dingell was one of the politicians who vocally endorsed the Graduate Employees' Organization’s strikes earlier this semester. The pandemic, the loss of her husband and presidential attacks bringing nationwide attention have not hindered her work to improve the state of Michigan — she persisted in her steadfast advocacy for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and the Payment Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Prior to the pandemic, she exemplified her support for union workers by joining the United Auto Workers strikes in 2019, pressuring General Motors to raise wages, narrow the pay gap between new and veteran workers and reopen closed plants. 

Dingell believes that every American has the right to health care, values the automotive industry and its contributions to Michigan’s economy and supports the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative which protects our freshwater lakes from pollution, invasive species and other impacts of climate change. She has also supported the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, closing important loopholes in purchasing firearms and leading the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, which further prevents domestic abusers from obtaining firearms. Due to her history of relentless support for issues critical to Michigan’s prosperity, the Michigan Daily Editorial Board is proud to endorse Dingell. 

Opponent Jeff Jones is challenging Dingell for the third time, yet still lacks any semblance of the political stronghold necessary to win the race. His only online presence is his Facebook page, which fails to describe what his platform is for this election. In miscellaneous posts answering constituent questions, he has expressed his disbelief in the science behind mask-wearing and most of the public health measures implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Jones is anti-abortion in a state that is already in grave danger if Roe v. Wade is overturned. His chances of winning the election are negligible, making Dingell almost guaranteed to be victorious. 

Gary Walkowicz is running for the U.S. House of Representatives seat for the fourth consecutive election cycle, but without any preconception that he will actually win the election. After running as an independent in 2014, he successfully petitioned for the Working Class Party to be put on the ballot and subsequently ran under the Working Class Party in 2016, 2018 and 2020. He is firmly against the two-party system and believes that no party can adequately represent the working class besides the working class themselves. 

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There are many reasons why The Michigan Daily Editorial Board stands firmly in its support of the reelection of Sen. Peters, D-Mich., but one of the most prominent is the unqualified candidate against whom he is running: Detroit businessman John James. James, who was defeated by incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., in 2018, is running as an outsider, despite his presence as a fixture in Michigan politics dating back to 2014, and despite his campaign receiving $9 million from a super PAC led by allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. He was considered by President Donald Trump as a candidate to replace Nikki R. Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, in 2018, but the position ultimately went to Trump megadonor Kelly Craft. 

That James is Peters’s opponent is in and of itself enough to warrant casting your ballot for the latter. While Peters keeps his head down, passing legislation and working on behalf of his constituents, James has boasted that he is “2000%” for Trump. The Senate has its share of avid right-wing Trump supporters; it does not need another. Much like Michigan, the Senate needs a man like Peters, the third most bipartisan Democratic senator of the 116th (and current) Congress. The last thing Michigan needs is to add to the Senate a man like James, who equates abortion rights to genocide or who is endorsed by the NRA, when, as of July, non-fatal shootings in Detroit have increased by a factor of 52% since 2019. 

James is another Republican military veteran who distorts and exploits his military record for political gain. James claims to have been an Army Ranger, but he never served in the 75th Ranger Regiment of the United States Army. James served honorably in the U.S. Army for eight years; his discharge tells us as much. That he still feels the need to embellish his record begs the question: If he feels the need to mislead Michigan voters about his own record, how can we trust him to tell his constituents the truth about matters that affect them? 

At a time when Michigan needs a decent, hard-working senator who understands the challenges faced by Michigan families, the GOP has nominated a man who is self-serving, propped up by DeVos, Koch and McConnell super PAC money and supportive of policies that would further divide our communities and our country. That James opposes the death penalty is not enough to excuse his other stances — while Peters has not taken a firm stance on the death penalty since joining Congress in 2009, he also doesn’t hold a series of other problematic views or lie repeatedly about his record.


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