Letters to the Editor . . .

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As a college student, I spend a lot of time thinking about my future, and the role government can play in shaping that future. I have my whole life ahead of me and looking towards the future should be exciting. But it’s hard to think about when I know that the person who supposedly represents me in Congress is actively voting to endanger my future. I know it’s time to vote Tim Walberg out of office.

Congressman Walberg refuses to address the threat of climate change, a crisis that will affect each and every one of us. Instead of confronting climate change, Congressman Walberg said “if there’s a real problem, [God] can take care of it.” He voted against even acknowledging that greenhouse gas pollution contributes to climate change, and voted against the bipartisan PFAS bill, which would regulate the carcinogen in our water supply, despite having active PFAS sites in our district.

He voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, a historic bill that many experts have credited with decreasing the rate of domestic violence in the United States. Since its introduction in 1993 to 2010, intimate-partner violence has dropped by 64%. He has publicly voiced his support for the bill, but this hasn’t been reflected in his vote. I’m disheartened to see that my Representative fails to protect vulnerable members of our community from intimate-partner violence, then lies about his values.

When white supremacist organizations enter our community, Congressman Walberg has stayed silent, empowering them. He has not condemned the Proud Boys when they rallied in our district, or when they took photos outside of his office and thanked him. Why is Walberg complicit with white supremacists?

When I think towards the future, I am not reassured by my Representative. His decisions in office are short-sighted and endanger the lives of his constituents. Our district deserves better. Gretchen Driskell has decades of public service under her belt and cares deeply about the people she represents, taking active time to be present in the community.

As a resident of Tecumseh, I plan on casting my ballot for Gretchen Driskell on November 3rd, and I urge you to do the same.

Sarah Libidini

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Myself and other Gen-Z’ers are going to be living in this country for decades to come, and we need our country to promote values that allow for a sustainable and equitable future. Electing politicians that share our worldviews is essential to shaping our future – which is exactly why we should vote Gretchen Driskell for the House of Representatives.

Young members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community should take a particular interest in voting for Gretchen Driskell to replace Tim Walberg in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District, because while she is guaranteed to protect to LGBTQ+ rights, the former Indiana pastor is not.

In 2006, Walberg openly supported the Federal Marriage Amendment that defines marriage as, ‘between one man and one woman,’ and continues to tout this worldview. When the Supreme Court ruled to protect the right for same-sex couples to marry, Walberg claimed “society itself was at risk.” Walberg denies the humanity and freedom of others.

Further, he voted against the Violence Against Women Act in 2013. It was written to ensure that all American women have the resources to protect themselves and included protections for LGBT domestic violence victims. 
Under Walberg’s eye, violence on certain groups is acceptable.

Luckily, the seventh district isn’t doomed. Gretchen Driskell, former mayor of Saline and state representative, is a candidate who will stand up for our rights and values.  “Gretchen Driskell is a dedicated leader and proven champion for LGBTQ equality,” Human Rights Campaign’s Michigan State Director wrote in 2018.  “She will fight for every Michigander’s right to live and work free from discrimination and harassment.”

Even people who typically stay neutral towards LGBTQ+ rights have a reason to vote for Driskell. One of Gretchen Driskell priorities is protecting Michigan’s beautiful wildlife and providing clean water for our citizens, while Walberg has stood by as Jackson County, a county in his congressional district, has one of the highest water led rates in the state. Driskell also wants affordable higher education, affordable healthcare, and universal preschool. Walberg has attempted to eliminate the Department of Education and does not believe in lowering prescription drug prices.

Almost anyone my age – regardless of political party or their views on LGBTQ+ issues – wants a candidate who will vote to protect our citizens and one who cares about our health, our environment, our well-being, and the issues that matter most. That candidate is Gretchen Driskell.

Willow Symonds

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Nobody claimed that going into politics for a living was going to be easy. I knew before I declared my major in political science that my road to making a difference in this world was going to be filled with obstacles and barriers strictly put in place because of my gender identity. With recent news of the arrest of multiple individuals who had intentions of harming our governor late last week, I can’t help but fear that one day my own life might be threatened because of my career path.

Regardless of professional status or political party affiliation, women across this country are facing an ongoing problem of violence or threat of violence. This is due in part to how our society has been constructed with patriarchal values of favoring white, heterosexual, cisgender men and how that power imbalance harms women of every race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, ability, etc.

 In March of 2016, our Representative in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District, Tim Walberg, publicized his celebration of incredible women during Women’s History Month. And yet he also voted against the Violence Against Women Act, which would provide resources to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. How can someone claim to celebrate women’s accomplishments while simultaneously voting against an act that protects them on their journeys to achieving greatness? One cannot claim to support Michigan women while also voting against a means of protecting Michigan women.

Our district needs strong leaders like Gretchen Driskell who have continuously proven to be a role model paving the way for young women behind her to feel empowered and safe getting involved in politics. Gretchen was a member of the Women’s Caucus as a State Representative and mentored female candidates looking to serve their communities. Through that membership, she was active in a task force focused on assault issues, including co-sponsoring legislation to support victims of domestic violence and co-sponsoring Violence Awareness Day at the capitol. She was the primary sponsor of legislation that would prohibit discrimination for failing to provide equal compensation for comparable work. We need her courage to stand up for and fight for the safety of all women in this district.

That’s why this November, I am voting for Gretchen Driskell. A vote for Gretchen is a vote for the wellbeing of your mother, daughter, wife, aunt, grandmother, friend, and fellow Michigander.

Joci  McMichael

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