Senator Debbie Stabenow attended Eastern Michigan University (EMU) on Monday, Oct. 29 on her “Made in Michigan” tour, a campaign where she highlights the efforts of people and businesses; an initiative to forecast her goals of bettering and growing Michigan, as well as an opportunity to inspire citizens to exercise their right to vote.
Sen. Stabenow was invited to speak to students and community members by the EMU’s College Democrats in conjunction with the Willow Run Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to energize her Ypsilanti constituents.
“We are a part of who got her to where she is today, and we are going to support her through to her next term,” said Alexa Cooley, a member of the College Democrats of EMU.
Sen. Stabenow has lived in Michigan her whole life and sees all the work she does through the lens of Michigan. Throughout her time as senator she spends her weekends in Michigan and weeks in Washington D.C. advocating for Michigan.
“I want everyone that’s graduating to stay here. Whether that’s going into a public school as an educator, going into the healthcare field, or opening their own business,” said Sen. Stabenow.
Before visiting EMU, she visited several small businesses across Michigan, including: Detroit Denim, Just Delicious Scones and Blake’s Orchard, which are continuing to stimulate the economy through various ways including opportunities and agriculture. Over the past two years, Sen. Stabenow has visited over 200 small businesses.
“If we want to have local businesses then we need to support local businesses,” said Sen. Stabenow.
“My philosophy is that we don’t have an economy unless someone makes something, or someone grows something, and yes it’s automobiles, but it’s not just automobiles. We have all kinds of entrepreneurs making all kinds of wonderful things,” she continued.
Sen. Stabenow is focused on growing the job market, cutting the cost of college and supporting entrepreneurship among other issues. One of her underlining goals is to create a Michigan where children have the desire and ability to stay and thrive.
Sen. Stabenow calls small businesses and entrepreneurs the future of Michigan, acknowledging that the youth are a significant driving force in transforming the wealth of ideas into economic growth. The voices and actions of the youth matter due to their great impact and influence.
“It is unfortunate to hear young American citizens say they don’t care to vote, especially people of color, because our voices are critical in shaping our communities. There is a point in time where other people of color have sacrificed their lives and the lives of their families for people like us to obtain the right to vote, so it is important that we continue to stimulate this young and new generation of potential voters,” said Zakiyyah Rahman, EMU Senior.
Sen. Stabenow expressed an importance in buying local, supporting local and creating jobs locally. Senator Stabenow is excited for the shift in political representation fueled by the increased number of women, non-white and LGBTQ identifiers in office and running for office.
“It is important we have elected officials that look like Michigan and represent Michigan. It’s wonderful to see the energy and intelligence in these candidates. There are people that are going to really work hard, and have an important view developed through their own life experiences,” said Sen. Stabenow.
She mentioned governor candidate Gretchen Whitmer, and other candidates Garlin Gilchrist and Dana Nessel.
“Election day is the great equalizer in our country because it doesn’t matter if you have a million dollars or a nickel in your pocket, we each get one vote, so someone should think twice before giving up the power of their vote,” said Sen. Stabenow.
There are people that will be voting that don’t represent your interest.
“If you don’t vote then other people are making decisions for you. Voting is for our independence and our ability to stand for what we want to see implemented through our government,” said Sakinah Rahman, EMU Senior.
Michigan’s midterm elections will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 6, with voting taking place from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. EMU’s Honors College will be hosting a polling location for students and other citizens of Ypsilanti. A full list of Ypsilanti polling locations is available on the city’s website.