By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Democratic U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, 44, faces four challengers for the 13th District U.S. House seat in the Nov. 3 general election.
Republican David Dudenhoefer, 48, is currently furloughed; Constitution Party candidate Articia Bomer, 48, is a document specialist at United International Services LLC; and Working Class Party candidate Sam Johnson, 81, is a retired Chrysler worker and union activist. Etta Wilcoxon is the Green Party candidate.
The winner serves a two-year term in the district that includes portions of Dearborn Heights, Detroit along with Melvindale, Ecorse, Garden City, Highland Park, Inkster, Redford Township, River Rouge, Romulus, Wayne and Westland.
Candidates were asked to respond to questions with responses limited to a 120-word count for each. All responses exceeding that limit were edited. Wilcoxon did not respond by press time.
Question 1: List your education, experience or skills you posses that make you a qualified candidate.
Bomer: My success in my educational background starts in elementary school. In fifth grade I was asked to become valedictorian hosting my fifth grade graduation speaking out to a crowd no less than 400 students, teachers and parents. I did so with ease. I went on to be first in my class. I became first in a lot throughout my school years. Including my time in 2011 attending Le Cordon Bleu Las Vegas. School for Culinary Arts. There, I was voted in by my classmates to become president of a newly implemented Student Council Committee. Also, for the past 20 years, I took a special interest in the law. I studied the law and took on a paralegal class for a short time but learned a lot.
Dudenhoefer: High school diploma. I’ve spent 13 years waiting Michigan Campaign for Liberty as a legislative activist focused on privacy and property rights, and I’ve traveled the state training citizens with the skills and how to hold their local governments accountable. I have learned the legislative process, And will bring those skills to Washington, D.C., ready to go on day one.
Johnson: I grew up in Alabama under Jim Crow, I had to gain education for myself, got a GED, went to WSU Labor Studies program. At Chrysler, I fought against racist supervisors, and I pushed to overcome the divisions between black workers, white workers and immigrant workers so we could stand together, fight against our common enemies, instead of with each other. I have been a fighter all my life, learned that from my mother, who never let racist cops or KKK frighten her.
Tlaib: I’m a graduate of Wayne State University and the Thomas Cooley Law School. I served three full terms in the Michigan state House of Representatives, where I was in leadership. Before being elected to Congress, I worked at the Sugar Law Center, where we fought for justice on behalf of community members and workers.
Question 2: If (re)elected, what are three issues facing your constituents would you work to address and how?
Bomer: (A) I would address the COVID-19 pandemic. I would find bipartisan ways to give more funding out to citizens. I would create a funding that will supply the American people with the bare minimum PPE such as, hand sanitizer; rubber gloves; face mask; and napkins. No citizen should be burdened down with financial obligations to purchase extra items that relate to COVID-19. (B) I will NOT support defunding the police. Why? It will cause Michigan to fail even more than we have. We would have more crime on the streets and that is not what Michigan need right now. I would consider offering an independent armed security task force that would ride alongside a police officer to ensure the integrity of our good officers.
Dudenhoefer: After surveying the district, healthcare education and financial stability were the top concern of my potential constituents. 1. Healthcare Is best handled by people trained in healthcare, not the government. I would like to work towards actually solving a problem that government has kicked around for decades. Let’s focus on outcome based solutions as opposed to enrollment based bureaucracy and endless testing. Let’s open up the markets pass state lines to spur competition and bring down cost. Let’s use 21st Century platforms of communication between family doctors and specialty doctors who can collaborate free from government red tape and let’s incorporate nutrition, preventative care and holistic solutions which makes sense as opposed to drug base solutions which only benefit the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies.
Johnson: Three big problems we face are not enough good paying jobs, no decent education and health care that costs too much. The two big parties won’t solve these problems. They are part of the problem. They take our tax money and give it to the No. 1 class, the big corporations and the banks and the wealthy people who own them. I would tell people the truth – we won’t get what we need until we stand together to take back that money, use it for what we need. We have the power to do that when we overcome our differences.
Tlaib: Poverty (economic justice), environmental racism, and racial justice. In my first term, I introduced the BOOST Act which would give individuals who earn less than $100,000 per year a refundable tax credit of up to $6,000 – this legislation would cut the poverty rate in the United States by 45 percent. I’ve also introduced the ABC Act which would give folks recurring payments of $2,000 per month during the COVID-19 pandemic and $1,000 monthly for one year after the pandemic is over. As vice chair of the Subcommittee on Environment in the House Oversight Committee, I’ve held corporate polluters accountable for their actions that devastate our environment and public health.
Question 3: Why are you seeking (re)election? Why should people vote for you?
Bomer: I am seeking election because Michigan and America need me to seek a seat in Congress. I deserve to have a job that pays me well to bring money back into the Michigan taxpayer’s pockets. If you are a Republican, a Democrat, A Green Party or a Libertarian, you are me. You are Articia Bomer and I am you. We are all taxpayers who pay taxes in the US. I am poor in pockets but rich in spirit. This job is important and I will vote in Congress to make life matter for all. Citizens should vote for me. I am a second chancer who deserves a second chance in life.
Dudenhoefer: I am seeking election because after years of working the legislative process, A trend has developed in both parties that is eroding freedom. The role of government is to secure our God-given rights. The role of the legislator is to defend the freedom of the individual while remaining within the 18 enumerated privileges with the people granted the federal government outline in our constitution. As long as public servants continue to pander to specific social groups usually at the expense of others, they will continue to create animosity which leads to hatred and violence towards one another as more people become dependent on smaller pieces of the pie.
Johnson: I am a worker, like the majority of people. We should have someone like ourselves to represent us. That’s not who is in Washington today – billionaire businessmen, lawyers, wealthy people of all kinds. They won’t do anything for us. We need to believe in ourselves.
Tlaib: I’m running because I cannot sit on the sidelines while the community that raised me is under assault by corporate greed, structural racism, and oppression that prevents opportunity for the most vulnerable. I chose to run for the House of Representatives because it is the People’s House. Members of Congress are meant to be the closest to the people we serve, and we are ensuring Congress looks more and more like a reflection of our residents, their ideas and ideals. We have more work to do to address structural racism, environmental injustices, and the corporate assault on working families, and I will keep fighting for the 13th District.
For more information on the election or candidates go to www.lwvddh.org or www.vote411.org.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])