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Slotkin supporters praise "civil discussion" at East Lansing town hall

Democratic Michigan Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin at a podium addreses the crowd at her Friday town hall in East Lansing
Will Callan
Michigan Radio
Democratic Michigan Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin on stage for her "State of the District" town hall Friday at East Lansing High School

U.S. Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI 8) recapped her accomplishments of her first year in Congress to a crowd in East Lansing Friday night.

Much of the crowd at East Lansing High School was there to support Slotkin for the event billed as a “State of the District” town hall. Slotkin also announced two legislative initiatives during her speech: a bill to lower the cost of insulin; and another bill that would require the Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan to implement “emerging technologies” to enhance border security.

Slotkin made a point of thanking everyone in the crowd for coming out on a Friday night, welcoming both people who agreed with her and those who don’t. Some protestors who backed President Donald Trump stood in a back corner, largely silent through the night.

“I really think it’s important that we explain what a new generation of leadership looks like,” Slotkin said after the event. “I think people want to believe there’s a positive, hopeful vision for how we can lead the country forward, and I hope to try and give them some sense of that.” 

Slotkin’s up for reelection in November. Thursday night, in Livingston County, the five Republican candidates vying to be Slotkin’s opponent in the general election spoke at a forum, where Slotkin was the target of many rhetorical jabs.  

Lansing City Councilwoman Patricia Spitzley was in the audience for Slotkin’s town hall. She says she thinks Slotkin’s even-keeled persona will resonate with voters tired of toxic political rhetoric.

“I’m hoping that, as Elissa Slotkin says, we get to a level where we can have a civil conversation about the way the nation’s moving and not be reduced to the mudslinging and insults,” Spitzley said.

Also in attendance were Liz and Tim Wagner. The couple said Slotkin’s Friday event was the “first political event we ever attended.”

Tim Wagner says he doesn’t consider himself affiliated with “any one party," but he says Slotkin embodies what he wants from a member of Congress.

“Moderation, respect, civil discussion,” Wagner said. “Tolerance for opposing viewpoints without getting overly passionate (and) destructive.”

Liz Wagner says the environment and gun control are her top political issues. 

“(Slotkin) makes a lot of sense. She’s a very logical person. We’re happy with what we heard,” Liz Wagner said.

Michigan is a crucial battleground state for all presidential candidates, after President Trump won the state by fewer than 11,000 votes in 2016. Slotkin had some advice for the 2020 presidential candidates and their campaigns.

“We’re an independently minded state. If you think we’re going to vote for Ohio, or like any other state, you haven’t been here,” Slotkin said. “People here have mixed views.… Don’t look at a nationwide poll to give you a sense of our state.”

Tyler Scott is the weekend afternoon host at Michigan Radio, though you can often hear him filling in at other times during the week. Tyler started in radio at age 18, as a board operator at WMLM 1520AM in Alma, Michigan, where he later became host of The Morning Show.
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