U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin breaks down what the Democratic presidential candidates need to accomplish and the issues you should know.

Featured Photo Courtesy of Hannah Lindow

After the Democratic Debate in Detroit, U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin who represents Michigan’s 8th congressional district, shares thoughts on the Democratic Presidential candidates and issues that are important to Michigan.

What do the Democratic candidates need to accomplish for Michigan to flip back to a primarily Democratic state?

I’m looking for three things:

  1. Some sort of vision on the future of work, on the economy and how to bring down the costs that makes everyone feel like their dollars aren’t going as far as they used to.
  2. Practicality — someone who has practical plans, not just high in-the-sky things that will never come into fruition.
  3. I think we all know that 2020 will be an election that comes down to character. I’m going to be looking at who is talking affirmatively about what they want to do, what their plans are and who is attacking others, because I think Michiganders are sick of that back-and-forth fighting.

Why is Michigan a must-win for the presidential candidates?

Well first off, I think it’s just math. Most people believe that it is harder and harder to count on Ohio and Florida as Democratic and that leaves Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Those are must win states for any Democrat that wants to become president. It’s good and exciting for us in Michigan, but that means these candidates need to do more than just stop by. They need to spend time here and understand our issues may be different than some of the other issues they hear about in Washington D.C. or on the coast. They need to take their time to get to know us. Michigan is just an amazing laboratory for what works in politics and I don’t think there could be a better state for it.

What issues do these candidates need to hit hard to gain the support of Michigan voters?

I think they need to explain the plan for the future of the middle class. I think people are spending way too much on things like healthcare and tuition — therefore, they don’t have the extensible income that they had before or even their parents had before them. They need to explain what their plan is to protect and defend the middle class, especially with our changing economy here in Michigan. We haven’t heard any of them talk about the importance of a once -in a-generation infrastructure package that include a focus on water. Michigan has had real issues with our water.

Are there any specific issues that the Jewish community needs to pay attention to?

I’m very proud to be the first Jewish woman to represent the state of Michigan. I think for me what I watch very carefully is the rise of domestic terrorism, anti-Semitism, the increase in hate speech and violent attacks on Jewish institutions and Jewish people. For me, that is because leadership climate is set from the top. When the president talks about supporting people who have these outrageous views, it gives permission for everybody else to talk like that and think like that. It’s very dangerous for the Jewish community.

I would be looking for the tone that each of the candidates propose to set for the country. Are they talking about unity or are they talking about division? Are they people who bring people together or divide them further? I think for the Jewish community along with the immigrant community and lots of other racial and ethnic groups, this is an increasing troubling and dangerous time. We should be putting our energy and focus on candidates who are trying to bring this country together, because it is about the safety and security of our kids and our way of life.

Read more: Soifer’s Top Five Takeaways from Democratic Debate

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