With the general election less than a month away, Democrat Debbie Dingell is hoping to succeed her husband, U.S. Rep. John Dingell, as the U.S. House representative for Michigan’s 12th District, which includes Ann Arbor and Detroit’s western suburbs.

Dingell is currently president of D2 Strategies, and chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors. She has also served as president and senior executive responsible for public affairs for the General Motors Foundation. Dingell is active in many charities in both Michigan and Washington, D.C., and has been listed as one of the most powerful women in D.C. by the Washingtonian and one of the most influential women in Michigan by Crain’s Detroit Business.

1. She is has a focus on providing affordable health care and has advocated for women and children’s issues.

As a founder of the National Women’s Health Resource Center, Dingell said a highlight of her résumé is her leadership in the national effort to include women in federally funded health research.

She wants to address the issue of providing resources to an aging population as well as the stigma regarding mental health.

“Health issues are very, very important to me,” Dingell said. “We are behind the rest of the world; we need to be investing in research that is finding answers to all these problems.”

2. She wants to reduce student loan interest rates and increase state funding for higher education.

Dingell said education has always been one of her most critical concerns.

As chair of the Wayne State Board of Governors, Dingell has had experience with education policy. As chair, she was responsible for presiding over board meetings. She noted that she recently voted against a tuition increase at Wayne State.

“Too many young people who can’t afford college or universities are graduating with staggering debt,” Dingell said. “We’ve got to look at waiving the interest rate that young people are paying and making sure that they are having access to affordable student loans. I believe that education is a public good and it is an important thing for the state to invest in.”

3. She supports gay rights.

Dingell said she advocates for policies that end discrimination. She hopes to expand opportunities for all Americans.

“If two people love each other, why should we keep them from being with each other?” Dingell said.

4. She hopes to expand job creation.

Dingell said while the auto industry has recovered somewhat, the job market has yet to recover from the 2008 financial crisis. She wants to encourage business and labor to work together to strengthen the economy and bring people into the state to work.

“I’m concerned about young people having jobs when they graduate, and I’m concerned about people that are being forced into early retirement in their early 50s that actually have decades left in them that they want to work hard,” Dingell said. “We’ve got to continue to invest in economic development.”

5. If elected, she will be the first woman to succeed a living husband in Congress.

John Dingell, the longest-serving member of the House in U.S. history, will retire at the conclusion of this term. While many other women have succeeded their husbands in Congress, Debbie Dingell would be the first to succeed a living husband.

“I want people to know that I want to listen, and fight for them and to be their advocate,” Dingell said.

Dingell said while her husband is a great influence and has taught her a lot, she is her own person with her own positions on today’s issues.

“I’m not trying to fill John Dingell’s shoes because I know how big they are and I could never fill them; I’m going to be Debbie Dingell,” she said. “I’m my own person. We share many values, but I bring a women’s perspective to many of the issues.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.