8th District Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin held the first, of what she plans to hold quarterly, town hall meetings last night.

The Holly Democrat held the event, which she called “the most American of exercises we can participate in” at Oakland University in Rochester, while also streaming it on her Facebook page. Slotkin fielded questions for roughly an hour on a wide variety of topics.

Health care and the price of prescription drugs were a popular subject, as the freshman Congresswoman discussed a plan that would open up Medicare to everyone and promote transparent pricing on drugs. One of keys to keeping prices down, she said, was getting the younger generations on board. She also spoke in favor of legislation that would penalize drug companies for raising their prices more than 10% in a year.

Slotkin was asked about roads, and what could be done to help avoid a proposed 45-cent gas tax. She called this the one topic that might most unite Michiganders. Slotkin said we need not just a “band-aid solution,” but a once-in-a-generation package from the federal government. She said we need resources that not only cover fixing potholes, but in some cases to re-do roads.

When asked about gun control, Slotkin, who hails from a gun-owning family and is military trained, said that while the issue is very polarizing, her belief is to find a common ground. She said universal background checks are something she believes everyone can stand behind. Whether an individual buys a gun from Dunham’s or off the internet, the background check should be the same.

Slotkin encouraged attendees that they will continue to fight for funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that has seen a proposed 90% cut from President Trump. She credited the President for coming around on the need for funding for the Soo Locks.

The Representative reaffirmed her stance on fighting for the rights of those within the LGBTQ community, sharing how she came from one of those families. Slotkin was also asked about anti-sematic comments from other Democratic members of Congress in recent weeks. She condemned hateful speech whether it was coming from a place of anti-semitism, Islamaphobia, or white supremacy. She said that a “spade needs to be called a spade” and that hateful speech needs to be called out.

Slotkin also called the current immigration system broken, and that it has state- wide effects and hinders several groups, from Michigan’s farmers all the way to business owners on Mackinaw Island.

Slotkin, a member of the Homeland Security Committee, called border security a serious issue. She said she and her husband have canoed part of the Rio Grande, and that she has seen some areas where more security might make sense, and others where it would not. The key, she says, is to be smart about it. She said is also constantly reminding her peers in Washington that if they are throwing money at southern border states, that northern border states like Michigan see 10 times the trade and traffic.

She also tackled the topic of student debt, saying that it starts with the way they are being charged from their loans. She said student loans are different from other loans and should be capped at 2.5%.
When Slotkin was asked about the forth-coming Mueller Report and her thoughts on a possible impeachment of President Trump, she said that after the report comes out and everyone reads it, that if there are credible allegations of treason, they should be treated accordingly. She said she is interested in being judicious, and will act from fact, and not emotion.

Slotkin was asked about the Green New Deal that was proposed by Democrats in Washington last month. She said she agrees with the spirit, but that she is also a pragmatist. Slotkin said she believes that if there are financial incentives for moving towards cleaner energy and away from fossil fuels, then people will get on board. She suggested that the GND’s incorporation of universal health care and jobs may have made it harder to pass.

She closed with a question about what we should be doing to protect our democracy. Slotkin said that voters being in favor of Proposition 2 (ending gerrymandering) and Proposition 3 (no-reason absentee voting) in November went a long way to help that. (MK)