Ypsi Votes is a new series from the Eastern Echo featuring candidates up and down the ballot in Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township. Get accessible and in-depth information on the candidates on your ballot. Note: The Echo does not endorse any candidate for any office.
This is the second of two articles featuring the candidates for Michigan’s 12th Congressional District. Find our feature on Solomon Rajput here.
The Dingell family has deep roots in Michigan politics; Debbie Dingell was elected to Congress to succeed her husband, John Dingell, who stepped down after 30 terms in Congress. He served for 59 years, which is the longest congressional tenure in U.S. history.
John Dingell’s father, John Dingell Sr. had been elected to the seat for 22 years prior, so the Dingell family has been a part of the Michigan congressional delegation for 86 years. Now, Debbie Dingell seeks to continue representing southeastern Michigan in the House of Representatives for her fourth term.
Dingell has prided herself on being able to deliver results for her constituents, and she is betting it is this effective delivery that will earn her a fourth term.
Debbie Dingell’s challenger in the Democratic Primary election is 28-year-old UM medical student Solomon Rajput, who is a self-described progressive Democrat. Rajput said in an interview with Local 4 News he feels the 12th district needs an “unapologetic progressive”, but Dingell sees herself as this progressive champion.
“I’m the lead sponsor of Medicare for All in Congress - I’m unapologetically progressive, but I’m not just about talking points. I’m about delivery. And delivery means bringing together the people who will actually get it done,“ Dingell said to Local 4 News.
“When you get elected, you don’t have the luxury of just talking to or represent the people who like you, so I won’t back down on important fights like Medicare for All or the goals of the Green New Deal, but I also know that being in Congress means hearing everyone in your district - and this district has a wide variety of political beliefs and priorities," Dingell continued.
Dingell is not one of the Democratic co-sponsors of the Green New Deal bill currently introduced in the House, but she says she supports the goals of the policies and has touted her own environmental policies.
Dingell is the Co-Chair of the Great Lakes Task Force, which is a bipartisan working group in the House and Senate tasked with promoting the environmental quality and economic development of the Great Lakes region.
One of Dingell’s hallmark environmental policies is the 100% Clean Economy Act of 2019, of which she was a co-sponsor. The main goal of the bill is to achieve a 100% clean energy economy by 2050, meaning net-zero climate pollution among all economic sectors in the country.
The legislation directs all federal agencies to take action towards meeting the goals of a 100% clean energy economy by 2050. It would create an advisory committee and direct the EPA to make yearly recommendations and reports on the progress towards the 2050 goal.
The legislation also directs climate policies to focus on the environmental outcomes, "especially for low-income and rural communities, communities of color, Tribal and indigenous communities, deindustrialized communities, and other communities disproportionately impacted by climate change.”
On healthcare, Dingell supports building on the Affordable Care Act to transition the country to a Medicare-for-all system. She is a co-sponsor of the Medicare-for-all bill currently introduced in the House.
Dingell is also an advocate for increasing Social Security benefits, she co-sponsored the Social Security 2100 Act, which would increase benefits to Social Security and provides for a bolstering of the program’s finances.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Dingell has also been a vocal supporter of additional financial support from the federal government. She worked on and voted in favor of the Heroes Act in the House, which is the Democrats' version of a coronavirus relief bill.
She worked with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) on a provision of the bill that prohibits water shut-offs nationwide and provides financial support to low-income households for drinking water and wastewater services. The bill also provides for another stimulus check of $1,200 for an individual, $2,400 for a couple, and now up to 3 dependents, regardless of age, in each household can receive $1,200.
The bill also provides for the $600 per week unemployment benefit from the federal government to continue through January 2021.
Dingell also worked to make sure the University of Michigan and Michigan State University received CARES Act funds from the federal government for rapid response coronavirus research.
To see a full list of campaign policies, please visit Dingell’s website.
Dingell boats a long list of endorsements from local and state elected officials, labor unions, activist organizations, and more. Among her endorsements are:
- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
- Attorney General Dana Nessel
- Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
- Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners Chair Jason Morgan
- State Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor)
- State Rep. Ronnie Peterson (D-Ypsilanti)
- State Rep. Yousef Rabhi (D-Ann Arbor)