Meet 9th District Democratic candidate Brian Jaye
Brian Steven Jaye is a Democrat running for election to the U.S. House to represent Michigan’s 9th Congressional District. His professional experience includes working as a lawyer and small business owner. He is a former democratic candidate for the Michigan State Board of Education.
This interview was edited for clarity.
Why do you want to be in Congress?
I've been involved in Democratic politics since I could vote. I first started working for Justice Marilyn Kelley about 18 years ago as a law student. I then got hired into a large law firm based out of D.C., McGuire Woods. I spent a lot of time working with some attorneys that worked at past White House administrations under the Clinton administration. From that point, I just had a legal career, and I've been working in various firms in various places. I think really the catalyst was when I became a father. Beyond my work as a lawyer, as a small business owner, I saw what was going on in Washington and the toxic and divisive environment that we started to see. I felt that (Republican incumbent) Lisa McClain wasn't representing her constituents the way that I felt that someone in Congress should. She has voted against almost all legislation that impacts the people within her district and in America. So the basic answer is, I wanted to stand up and do something to defend against and fight for democracy and fight for the people that actually want to be living within this district in America.
Do you live in the district?
I live two miles away from the district. So when the district first was the 10th, I lived about a block from where it started. I lived two miles from where the district starts in Rochester. But if I cross the road or if I drive to the store, I'm in the district. So essentially every time I walk out of my home and go somewhere, I'm going shopping in the district.
What do you think the most important issue is for the ninth District?
For the 9th District and throughout America, I think every district right now is a woman's fundamental right to choose. I think that's going to be a huge breaking point in November. They've called it Roe-vember. A woman doesn't like to be told what to do with her own body. I know Lisa McClain is adamant on anti-choice and that is a strong position she's taken. I think a lot of women, whatever their feelings are, don't like the government to come within their body.
I think another huge issue is public education, especially Tudor Dixon's position being so closely aligned with Betsy DeVos and Lisa McLane. I think there's a lot of misconceptions with voucher programs. I strongly fund and support public education, and the programs and legislations that I want to implement in Washington will deal with public education and improving the public school systems, as opposed to trying to shift and put a Band-Aid on the problems and putting children in educational environments where their their attainment levels are skewed because they're put in socioeconomic positions where they're not necessarily prepared for that type of education.
What about gun control? What would you like to see if you're elected to Congress?
My opponent is an ardent (gun) protector. She believes anything infringes the Second Amendment. I grew up on my father's side of the family with a lot of Republicans. They like guns. I don't. I'm a Democrat. We're all individuals. They hunt a lot of different things. There's this misconceived notion that every Democrat wants to come and take every single gun. That's not what we're aiming for. We're aiming for regulations and procedures, safe storage, universal background checks. One of the loopholes we're currently experiencing is where someone can go to an unlicensed seller and purchase a gun without a background check. The NRA claims that it's always mental health. Well, of course you have mental health issues if you are shooting up a school full of children.
What are your thoughts about climate change? What should Congress be doing?
There's more that always can be done. The Inflation Reduction Act did touch on climate change a lot and touched on a lot of different parameters. I'm running against an opponent that doesn't believe that climate change exists.
Solar roof panels, there's a lot of legislation going through Congress that is working on these issues. But I always believe more can be done because it is so imperative that we protect our environment for our future generations.
Let's talk about the economy. Obviously inflation is on people's minds. What would you like to be working on in Congress if you get elected?
My opponent focuses a lot on money because she wants to avoid some of the fundamental rights issues. Well, I've studied inflation a lot and the projected trajectory of what's been going on. She blames a lot of the policies coming out of Washington, the American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act, anything that increases government spending. But a lot of it is supply chain management issues, some of it's corporate greed. A lot of it contributed to the war in Ukraine.
So I want to continue enacting legislation that's going to increase taxes not on anyone making under $400,000. To be able to stimulate the economy. To bring in more growth. To bring in more jobs.
We're going into the 2024 election, but it seems we can't get away from the 2020 election and the election denials and people working on different aspects of voter access. What's your opinion?
I don't understand a lot of the contempt from the Republican Party. My opponent was one of the individuals that voted against certifying the election. This was a fair and free election. I know my Secretary of State, Secretary [Jocelyn] Benson, had her life threatened multiple times. I received threats. So I understand there's this animosity and there's this desire that President Biden didn't win, but he won fair and square, and it doesn't help that the former president of the United States reiterates and basically started his own social media platform to push an agenda where he's targeting individuals that don't fully understand and are feeding on these ideas that he is trying to put in their mind to cause this this upheaval.
And I think that is a huge issue going into this election because my opponent has said, even as of April 2022, that she believes Donald Trump should be the president of the United States. I felt it was a free and fair election.
Do you think her (McClain's) association with Donald Trump is going to hurt her, I mean, seriously hurt her?
I think how close she is, I think her retweeting the most extreme portions of the MAGA movement, these people that are retweeting on a consistent basis "defund the FBI", I mean, I believe that if Donald Trump went and ran over children in the middle of the street, they would say that the children shouldn't have been there. That's how extreme some of these individuals are. So they've personally come and targeted me. I think it could hurt her. At this point, Donald Trump's been going off the hinges. So I think it's affected voters and I think it could hurt her in November.