Candidate Profile: Debbie Dingell For U.S. House

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Debbie Dingell, a Dearborn resident is running for U.S. House of Representatives District 12.

Age: 66
Party affiliation: Democratic Party
Family:I have a great extended family of step-children, god children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
Occupation:President, GM Foundation & Executive Director, GM Public Affairs, 1977- 2009
Previous elected experience:US Congresswoman, 2015- Present;
Wayne State University Board of Governors, 2007-2014
Family members in government:My stepson is a Judge in Wayne County.
Campaign website: http://www.debbiedingellforcongress.com

The single most pressing issue facing our state is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
There are so many critical issues that must be addressed in these uncertain times. Ensuring every American has access to quality healthcare, which means being able to see a doctor whenever they’re sick - regardless of income- and being able to afford their prescription drugs. Fighting climate change by transitioning to 100% clean energy and safeguarding against damages to our environment like PFAS - which I've passed bills to clean up. Giving American workers a level playing field so families can feel stable and secure during these increasingly uncertain economic times, which means ensuring we have access to good-paying jobs and a stable, American-based supply chain. And ensuring that every student in this country has access to no-cost 2-year college, and the resources needed to attend trade school or 4-year college without incurring the massive amount of debt that currently saddles so many young adults.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
The working men and women of this district need a seat at the table and a representative in Congress who is fighting for them, no matter which part of the district they live in. As representative of this diverse district, I've set myself apart by listening to everyone on any and every issue, and I've been working on these things since long before I was elected. I earned this seat by fighting for access to quality healthcare, protections for the environment, and other issues that matter to the district - the voters of the 12th give me a job interview every 2 years and I'm proud of the work I have to show them.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
I was first elected to serve the 12th district in congress in 2014, but have spent many years as an advocate on issues that matter deeply to me. My activism started while still in high school and took root in my passion for working on issues important to women and children and working people. Early in my career, I founded the National Women’s Health Research Center when I discovered that women weren’t included in federally funded health research and advocated for greater awareness of women’s health issues, including breast cancer and heart health. I also chaired the Michigan Infant Mortality Task Force and served as co-chair of the Children’s Leadership Council, working to reduce infant mortality rates and improve investment in public education.

I was a senior executive at General Motors for three decades and as President of the GM Foundation was very engaged in the community. In 2006, I was elected to the Wayne State Board of Governors where I championed lowering the cost of higher education, and was chair of the Board before being elected to Congress, caring deeply about students and their education. I have worked hard to put together coalitions, from many different perspectives, over the years to actually adopt policies that get things done from both inside and outside the government.

What steps should state government take to bolster economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for local businesses?
The errors at a national level in the early days of the pandemic set us back significantly. We should have had an earlier focus on testing, ramping up production of PPE that we needed to ensure the safety of people, and should have done a better job communicating the risks at the outset. There has been misleading information on medicine, lack of testing capability, and a denial of danger that contributed significantly to community spread, anxiety, and fear around this virus. This is a national problem that requires a robust response from the federal government.

Instead, states have been left to fend for themselves and oftentimes were competing against each other. We should have had a national strategy, and we still need one today - on masks, testing, and general tactics to stop COVID-19.

We need to do more to ensure that life-saving medical supplies are produced here in the United States. When the pandemic was hitting us, we found that badly needed protective equipment and testing supplies were only to be found overseas. That is why I have authored legislation to bring this supply chain back to the United States. If we are going to be more effective at stopping pandemics in the future, we need to increase our manufacturing capacity for medical supplies, drugs and devices here at home.

We have passed four bold, bipartisan pieces of recovery legislation that has helped mitigate the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. With record unemployment here in Michigan, it is clear that more needs to be done. We first passed The Heroes Act over 4 months ago, and must be considered by the Senate as people suffer without extra unemployment benefits, rent assistance, and more.

The top thing we must do right now is give direct support to state, county and local governments to make up for revenue they have lost during the pandemic. If we do not act soon, many states and cities may have to go bankrupt which will only make the situation worse. This money will be used to pay healthcare providers, public safety officials, road construction projects, and teachers salaries.

How will you address the calls for racial justice and police reform?
Recent events show that much work remains in the fight against inequality and injustice, at all levels. For too long, real reform has been delayed and denied. I’m proud to have voted for the First Step Act and the Justice in Policing Act, and I will fight for policies that hold police accountable and counter the long-term damage that’s been done by neglecting marginalized communities.

We need to work to fix systemic problems long before they reach the criminal justice system by working together to remove barriers for social mobility. We need to expand the social safety nets and work for economic justice for all. We must improve access to healthcare, educational opportunity, and affordable housing, as well as protections from negative environmental impacts. Equality, liberty, and justice for all may be lofty goals, but they are ones that we must keep pushing towards as a country.

List other issues that define your campaign platform:
I know that we can accomplish more by working together. Today, we are dealing with a deadly pandemic that has killed too many. We are grappling with the impacts of systemic racism in our country. And there are critical issues that must be addressed here in Michigan like Line 5, stopping water shut-offs, and PFAS contamination. I’m running for re-election so I can continue to be your voice and your champion on these issues in Washington and so we can keep getting things done for Michigan.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
You all know me - I’m Debbie. I’m my own person and I’ll always play it straight and tell you how I feel and what my position is, beyond the talking points. My favorite part of the job is going out and meeting people in our community - whether it is at the farmer’s market, a festival, or a spaghetti dinner. It’s been harder to see people in-person due to the pandemic but we’ve done lots of Zooms to stay connected. I’m always accessible to my constituents and always there to listen to them if there is a problem and help come up with a solution for how to help. Listening and helping is a critical part of being a Member of Congress, and many of the bills I’ve introduced and gotten passed started off as an idea I got from a conversation in the community.

This article originally appeared on the Dearborn Patch

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