By DREW HOWARD
Elissa Slotkin, the Democratic congressional candidate for Michigan’s 8th District, is aiming to sway a reliably Republican district through grassroots fundraising and a focus on the middle class.
A third-generation Michigander, Slotkin previously served three tours in Iraq as a Middle East analyst with the CIA before taking on various defense and intelligence roles at the White House, the Office of National Intelligence, and the State Department.
She says her approach to politics will resemble her experience working under both Republican and Democratic leadership, to serve public over party.
She’s particularly excited to get to work on two issues: the “great squeeze” of the middle class and environmental security.
“I’ve been talking with people who say they’ve had no real raise in 10 years, or talking about how the cost of everything else in life is going up – specifically, the cost of healthcare prescription drugs and tuition,” Slotkin told the Gazette. “People have jobs in Oakland County, the unemployment rate is good, but young adults can’t save and get ahead like their parents.”
Slotkin is also a strong supporter of environmental regulations to prevent climate change and preserve the Great Lakes. “We need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect the environment in our district, and make sure we protect the Great Lakes from exploitation from the gas and oil industry,” she said. “I’m strictly against drilling in the Great Lakes.”
Slotkin raised more than $440,000 in her second fundraising quarter, outraising two-term incumbent Republican Mike Bishop by more than $132,000 from the period of October to December 2017. She made a promise earlier this year to refuse any campaign contributions from corporate PACs and has since received most of her donations from individuals.
“I wanted to make it a clear choice for people and make it as clear as possible that I won’t be bought by any corporations.”
“This is proof you can run a clear and transparent campaign with integrity,” Slotkin said.
The largest demographic in Slotkin’s roughly 800 campaign volunteers are Republican women. She attributes this growing trend to her outsider perspective and ability to resonate with both parties.
Slotkin displays this quality best when speaking on gun legislation. “I come from a gun-owning family,” she said. “I’m a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment, but reasonable people understand the need for reasonable background checks so the mentally unstable, terrorists and abusers can’t get those.”
She also wants to close loopholes at gun trade shows that allow for easier access to guns. “If you want to buy a weapon at a gun show, you aren’t subject to background checks like the ones at a sporting good store,” she said. “We need to close loopholes, and understand that a mentally ill person buying a gun at a store or gun shows needs the same level of vetting.”
Slotkin will continue to host speaking engagements, knock on doors and meet with individuals of the 8th District in preparation for election day on August 7. She will be at Rochester Mills Beer Co. Saturday, March 10 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. for a Petition Canvass event.
For more information on upcoming campaign events and opportunities to get involved, visit elissaforcongress.com.
Editor’s Note: The Gazette will feature an interview with opposing Democratic candidate Chris Smith in a future publication. We have also extended an invitation to Republican incumbent Mike Bishop for a similar interview opportunity