Michigan Voter Guide 2022: 7th Congressional District

Meet the candidates running for Michigan’s 7th Congressional District.

WDET Voter Guide

Michigan voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, November 8, for the 2022 midterm elections. One of the races on the ballot is Michigan’s redrawn 7th Congressional District. Democrat Elissa Slotkin faces Republican Tom Barrett in this district.

Map of Michigan's 7th Congressional District
May by Nikki Roach, WDET

Keep reading to learn the candidates’ answers to the questionnaire they received from WDET.

Jump to Elissa Slotkin

Jump to Tom Barrett


Elissa Slotkin
Photo Credit: Elissa Slotkin for Congress

Elissa Slotkin – Democrat (incumbent)

Name: Elissa Slotkin

Age: 46

Current occupation: U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 8th Congressional District

Education: Graduated from Cornell with a B.A. and from Columbia University with a Master’s in International Affairs.

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less.

I am currently the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 8th Congressional District. Prior to being elected, I served three tours as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, and I worked for presidents of both parties in the White House and at the Pentagon. Service is important to my entire family: my husband, Dave, is a 30-year Army officer, and both of my stepdaughters are in public service. But after a deeply apolitical career in national security, I ran for Congress because of a searing experience with my Mom’s health care. Like so many others, she was a survivor of breast cancer. Because of that pre-existing condition, insurance companies hiked her premiums for her entire life, and she didn’t have coverage when she was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. So when my predecessor tried to overturn the ACA, when he laughed about it in the Rose Garden, I knew I couldn’t let him stay in office. In Congress, I see what happens when uncompromising representatives put their own re-election over the good of the country, so I’m running to be a part of the next generation of leaders who work harder, think bigger, and don’t forget who they’re fighting for.

Why are you running for Michigan’s 7th congressional district?

I am running for office because I refuse to let partisan politics hold our country back. I’m not a politician by trade. Since being elected, my priorities have been lowering healthcare and prescription drug costs, bringing our supply chains and manufacturing jobs back to Michigan, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and getting corporate money out of politics. I’m a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, where I work with colleagues from both parties to make progress on the toughest issues facing the country. Bipartisanship is in my bones, and I work every day to be one of the most bipartisan members of Congress. I’ve led legislation on everything from building microchips at home in support of our auto industry to securing our defense supply chains to getting chemicals out of our water to stopping elected officials from profiting from their positions. I believe that mid-Michiganders want public servants whom they can respect even when they disagree, and it is the honor of my life to serve Mid Michigan in Congress.

What are the top 3 priority issues that the 7th congressional district faces and what actions would you, as its representative, take regarding each of them?

I’m in Congress to defend and expand the middle class. My priorities right now are the issues I hear the most about on the campaign trail: the cost of healthcare, inflation, and abortion. These are the problems that Michiganders are talking about at their kitchen tables, the things affecting their pocketbooks and their kids.

Of the three, the cost of healthcare has come up the most consistently over my four years in Congress. People approach me in grocery stores and on the street to tell me that they have to choose between paying for medication and paying their mortgage. That’s why passing the Inflation Reduction Act was so important. It caps out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors, caps the price of insulin for Medicare recipients, and allows Medicare to negotiate down drug prices. I’m also proud of my Real-Time Benefits Act. Signed into law by President Trump, it lets patients comparison-shop for their prescriptions before they leave the doctor’s office.

What is your stance on gun reform in the U.S.?

I believe in the Second Amendment. I grew up in a gun-owning family, and I carried both a Glock-17 and an M-4 on my three tours in Iraq with the CIA. My husband carried a weapon whenever he was deployed overseas during his 30-year career as an Army officer. We can stem the tide of violence and keep our kids and families safe without infringing on Second Amendment rights. That’s why I voted to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law, the first significant gun safety reform bill in decades. It’s also why I voted to support bills that would expand background checks and increase the cooling-off period after gun purchases. In terms of what’s next, I authored the Safe Guns, Safe Kids Act based on the tragic shooting at Oxford High School in my district. It would ensure that guns are stored out of reach of children. I also believe that we should pass legislation that prevents terrorists, the mentally ill, and domestic abusers from obtaining guns, and I think that ordinary citizens should not be able to obtain weapons that allow them to outgun their local police.

What is your stance on abortion rights?

I support the standard established in Roe v. Wade, just like most Democrats, Independents, and Republicans in Michigan. That’s the standard we’ve lived with for 50 years, and I believe it’s the right one — but the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs strikes down that standard. Here in Michigan, we have a 1931 ban on the books that would criminalize abortion, including in cases of violent rape and incest. I voted on the Women’s Health Protection Act in the House to prevent this law and laws like it from going into effect, and there’s legislation in the Senate that would codify Roe. In addition to work at the federal level, we need to look to the states. This fall, Michiganders will have the opportunity to vote for the Roe standard in Proposition 3 after an initiative successfully placed it on the ballot; I support this proposition. Voters will have a simple choice: do we want the Roe standard or the 1931 ban? I know where I stand.

What is your solution to fight the current inflation crisis in the U.S. and how it affects Michigan?

As I have said consistently, inflation is affecting everyone and is one of the top things that voters raise with me. If there was a silver bullet to fix it, it would have been fired. But that’s why it’s important to actually take action to lower costs any way we can.

I championed an effort to suspend the federal gas tax, pushed the Biden administration to open up the Strategic National Reserve, and negotiate harder with foreign oil producers like Saudi Arabia. I voted to stop companies from price gouging and passed laws to lower the costs of prescription drugs starting in January. While there’s no single cure, leaders need to do all they can to bring down prices, not just use it as a talking point in political campaigns.


Tom Barrett
Photo Credit: Tom Barrett for Congress

Tom Barrett – Republican

Name: Tom Barrett

Age: 41

Current occupation: Michigan State Senator, 24th District

Education: Western Michigan University

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less.

I was born and raised in Michigan and learned the value of hard work and the importance of family by watching my dad work two jobs while my mom stayed home to raise me and my six siblings. I joined the United States Army my senior year in high school, taking my first airplane flight to Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. My military service continued for 22 years, with deployments in Kuwait, Guantanamo Bay, South Korea, and in Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning, the Army selected me to attend flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama where I learned to fly some of the most advanced helicopters in the world. I currently serve as the only Iraq War Veteran in the Michigan Senate, and I am the Chairman of the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. I’ve sponsored more than 35 bills that have been signed into law with overwhelming bipartisan support, and I have voted against my own party leadership 292 times since I was first elected.

I attended Western Michigan University on the Montgomery GI Bill and graduated with honors in 2007. My wife Ashley and I are raising our four young children right here in the 7th Congressional District.

Why are you running for Michigan’s 7th congressional district?

I am running for Congress because the country is on the wrong track. The reckless policies of the Biden administration have resulted record high inflation, unaffordable gas, open borders, increased geo-political threats and rampant crime. Working class families across the 7th district are struggling and I am running to rein in Washington and put our families first.

What are the top three priority issues that the 7th congressional district faces and what actions would you, as its representative, take regarding each of them?

Gas and Groceries

Inflation is at a 40-year high and it is decimating family budgets across the 7th district. In fact, inflation is now so high that it robs every working American of an entire month’s pay over the course of a year. Gas is still unaffordable for working families thanks to policies adopted by Joe Biden and Elissa Slotkin. I will fight in Congress to oppose the endless spending that fuels inflation, and I will fight to make America energy independent once again to bring down the cost of fuel for your car and the gas to heat your home.

Immigration

The 7th district is over 1,500 miles from the Southern border, but we are a border community under Joe Biden and Elissa Slotkin. Fentanyl is pouring over the border into every community in America, and now represents the leading cause of death in Americans age 18-45 [Editor’s note: CDC neither affirms nor denies this claim]. The Biden administration has created a humanitarian crisis by refusing to enforce immigration laws on the books, supporting catch and release, and cutting border patrol agents. Two million illegal crossings have occurred under Biden, including more than 80 people on the terror watch list. When elected, I will work to give agencies the tools they need to enforce our immigration laws, and will also work to finally secure the border.

Crime

Crime has exploded across the country over the last two years — especially here in Michigan. Lansing, the central hub of the 7th district, was recently named the 9th most dangerous city in the country according to FBI statistics. Everything from identity theft to murder is on the rise because of soft-on-crime policies. We need to fully fund our police officers so they have the tools needed to enforce the law, and we need to hold rogue prosecutors accountable who let violent criminals back on the streets.

What is your stance on gun reform in the U.S.?

Our prosecutor in Ingham County refuses to enforce the current gun laws, resulting in a record breaking number of murders in the City of Lansing. We need to start by enforcing the laws we already have. All the laws in the world do not matter if prosecutors don’t enforce them.

What is your stance on abortion rights?

I am pro-life, including protecting the life of the mother. I believe every life has value, the life of the mother and the life of the child she is carrying. Elissa Slotkin supports some of the most extreme abortion policies of anyone in Congress. She supports late term, tax-funded abortions up to the moment of birth, and she believes in taking away parental consent for a minor seeking an abortion. Slotkin even led the fight in Congress to demand that Google prevent women from having any access to information about alternatives to abortion. While I have been consistently pro-life, Slotkin wants to stop women from even knowing about options outside of abortion.

What is your solution to fight the current inflation crisis in the U.S. and how it affects Michigan?

Inflation is at a 40-year high. It is decimating family budgets across the 7th district. Elissa Slotkin says she hears about inflation. My wife and I are raising four kids. We FEEL the affects of her policies driving up inflation. Elissa Slotkin has voted for every single Biden spending bill, totaling trillions in new spending that directly results in the rampant inflation we are all experiencing. We simply need to stop the endless spending of trillions of dollars. In congress, I will oppose reckless inflationary spending and the printing of more dollars that devalue our currency.

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