MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Candidates for the U.S. Senate are using the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference as an opportunity to make themselves and their opinions known.
The purpose of the conference is to bring decision makers together to look for ways to move Michigan forward — and with many big names and media members in attendance, it’s a great place to campaign.
Democrat Gary Peters, a U.S. congressman, and Republican Terri Lynn Land, a former Michigan Secretary of State, told 24 Hour News 8 why they are taking on the race to fill Sen. Carl Levin’s seat, which will be up for grabs in November when he steps down.
“I just think it is so important in the U. S Senate that we have common-sense, practical problem solvers that are willing to reach across the aisle and get things done,” Peters said. “That’s what I’ve done in the House, and I believe it’s so important to have someone in the Senate that does that, as well.”
“As Secretary of State, local county clerk, and working in the community, also a small businessperson … I saw that we really need to have someone go down to Washington, D.C. and get things done,” Land said.
Like many Senate races around the country this year, one of the big disagreements will be about the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.
“Washington’s broken and now it’s breaking Michigan,” Land said. “It’s over-regulating our state, it’s over-taxing our state, and no more can we see that than the Affordable Care Act. For example, 225,000 Michigan families have lost their insurance.”
“My core belief is that everybody in this country — no matter who you are, no matter where you live — should have access to quality, affordable health care. To me, that’s what you do when you live in the greatest country on Earth,” Peter said.
There is much more to the conference than politics, but some of the big races have garnered attention. Thursday morning, a Democratic teleconference was held to point out the differences between Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and his challenger Mark Schauer, a former congressman.
And politicians in attendance are holding party lines when discussing various issues, including the state of Michigan’s economy.
There was talk of how, despite many hurdles and a bankruptcy still pending Detroit, Michigan is on the comeback. But some say that comeback hasn’t affected everyone.
“I’m sensing a lot of optimism,” Speaker of the House Jase Bolfer (R-Marshall) said. “What I enjoy about coming here is talking to employers, talking to job creators about what’s going on in the state, what they need to continue to succeed, how we’re going to attract more investment, how they’re going to create more jobs. What I see is a lot of excitement I see a lot enthusiasm, lots of optimism.”
House Minority Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) said he has seen progress, but also has concerns.
“There are some reasons for optimism, no question. We believe that we need to work together in a bipartisan way to keep that going,” he said. “But the reality so far is that Michigan’s economy still is not working for most Michigan families. Most Michigan families are still struggling financially. They’re struggling economically.”
The conference will wrap up Friday with a presentation from Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.