DETROIT – Six Democratic candidates vying to fill the seat of former Congressman John Conyers in Michigan's 13th U.S. Congressional district engaged in a debate Thursday night in Detroit.
The candidates each began with one-minute opening statements, which you can find below.
Westland Mayor Bill Went wasted no time going after former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib for receiving out-of-state campaign donations and using campaign funds to support herself while she runs for the 13th District seat.
Tlaib defended herself by pointing out that all of her campaign finance transactions are legal. She also argued that it is not unreasonable to support herself and her children with campaign funds, as running for office is currently her full-time job.
Here is Wild's attack and Tlaib's 30-second response, as allowed by debate rules:
Former state Rep. Shanelle Jackson spoke about the need for a balanced approach to environmental and economic issues, emphasizing the importance of bringing jobs to the district while fighting the Trump administration's attacks on the EPA.
State Senator Coleman Young II argued passionately against the now infamous Citizens United decision and the pervasive influence of money in politics.
"Politics shouldn't be about who raised the most money or where it came from. It should be about who has the best record and who has the best vision," he said.
State Senator Ian Conyers seemed to call out certain opponents, though not by name, when he vigorously spoke out against politicians who take credit for progress without actually doing the hard work that's required.
"This is the most economically deprived and cash-strapped district. We're tired of politicians claiming their record and not standing up for what they haven't done yet," he said.
Throughout the debate, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones stressed her experience and the relationships she's built over the years, saying she would use those relationships to remains accessible to her constituents while bringing resources from Washington to the 13th District.
Moderator Devin Scillian asked the Democratic candidates if they considered themselves socialists, and then to answer why or why not. Here are their responses:
the candidates were also asked if they would eliminate U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Here are their answers:
Watch more clips from the 13th Congressional district Democratic debate on WDIV-Local 4's Youtube channel, and find the full debate below.
There are no Republicans running in this district, so the winner of the Democratic primary is effectively guaranteed to become a member of U.S. Congress.
Michigan 13th Congressional Debate (replay)
Here is a YouTube playlist from the debate:
Be Heard. Go Vote!
A reminder to “Be Heard – and Go Vote!” this election season. The Aug. 7 primary election is your first chance to weigh in on big races for governor, U.S. Congress and the State Legislature. Unfortunately, last time around turnout was less than half of the voting public in southeast Michigan. We all have political opinions. Don’t just share them on social media. Share them in the voting booth.