It’s become common to hear or read about the political divisions in Congress. But what we don’t often see is that members of Congress, even on opposite sides of the aisle, often have good working relationships with each other. That includes members of Michigan’s delegation.
Representatives Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) and Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) are part of the same freshman class of congressional members, though neither is new to politics. Bishop was the state Senate Majority Leader during Governor Jennifer Granholm’s administration, and Dingell was an active part of her husband, John Dingell’s, long and prolific career in Congress. Dingell says it’s easy to work on a bipartisan basis when politicians have a history.
“Mike’s one of my best friends, quite frankly,” says Dingell of Bishop. She says Bishop’s father, former state Senator Donald Bishop, was her mentor. Dingell adds the other freshman are united on one thing; “We all deeply care about the issues.”
Bishop and Dingell say they find common ground in their desire to protect the Great Lakes. Both say that discussions are needed regarding the Great Lakes Compact, designed to regulate water use in the Great Lakes basin, particularly in the wake of Wisconsin’s plan to increase draw of drinking water from Lake Michigan.
They also say they are worried about the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline under the Mackinac Straits. Dingell believes the regulation should span local, state, and federal government, while Bishop believes it should be a state and local issue, with the federal government remaining as a resource if needed.
“We have to make sure, whatever we do, that we don’t have a catastrophic environmental mess,” says Bishop. “There’s too much to risk here.”
They agree that the two presidential front-runners are representative of the current mood of the American people, but their views diverge on who the winning candidate should be. Dingell says she is a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton, but counts herself among those who think Donald Trump could win Michigan and the election as a whole. Bishop supports Trump, saying that the candidate was not his first or second choice, but has his support as the representative of the Republican platform.
“The horse that we have picked is Donald Trump, and he is a different kind of horse,” says Bishop.
To hear the full conversation, click on the audio player above.