I attended the Candidate Forum at Monroe County Community College on September 11, 2018. It was two hours long. There were eight candidates. They were each allowed one minute to respond to questions, and frequently went over that time. My immediate impression at the end of the evening was that it felt rushed, and lacked substance. However, I am still grateful that the event was held, and it was certainly better than nothing.
Here is a link to the FULL VIDEO from that event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZyoCHefkfk
I don't know why it would be difficult to have more events where candidates can really dig in on a granular level, and the crowd can be more interactive. Seriously, Walberg is running again for a very powerful office, and has not held a coffee hour in five months (May 7, 2018 - in Saline). Is this how it is going to be?
Back to the Monroe event, there was only time for 11 questions total [Or technically 12: one was to state candidates only, and one to federal candidates only]. Only three of the questions were selected from written submissions from the crowd that night.
For this website, I am only interested in Walberg's responses from the event. These are my very rough notes and time stamps from the above video:
(6:30) Q 1: Opioid Crisis?
(6:50) Walberg response
(16:30) Q 2: DACA / Border Wall / Immigration?
(18:00) Walberg response, Walberg recites a fake Ronald Reagan quote:“’A nation,’ as Reagan said, ‘without borders, is a region.’” [Reagan never said such a thing. Walberg has been misattributing quotes to Reagan, including this one, since at least 2010, and I will have more to say on this in an upcoming report] – Walberg continues: opposes taking kids away from parents, claims he supported legislation to make sure it doesn’t happen, & reinstating DACA (Is he referring to Goodlatte?).
(19:30) Question from crowd: Poverty in Monroe?
(28:25) Walberg response: says best thing is a growing economy thanks to tax cut [mixture of cheers and boos], Walberg asks for more time because of crowd noise, and Walberg then claims “government getting out of the way”, results in increasing GDP
(30:15) Q 4: Spending to improve Michigan roads?
(37:20) Walberg response: Mentions “Turtle fences” in a snide way
(39:50) Q 5: Gun Violence in schools?
(44:15) Walberg response: Mostly left to “local decisions”; Claims “Stop School Violence Act” put “Significant dollars toward local schools” [This is just in bill form right now, and hasn’t gotten through the Senate. No extra dollars have gone toward schools for this yet]
(49:00) Q 6: Michigan students falling behind / Vouchers and Charter Schools?
(55:30) Walberg response: Article 8 – Section 1 of Michigan Constitution / U.S. Constitution says nothing about education / Walberg’s answer implicitly supports charter schools and vouchers.
(60:00) Q 7: (for State candidates only) Revenue Sharing to address local issues?
(1:07:50) Question from crowd: (for Federal candidates) Permanent S.A.L.T. deduction for individual tax payers?
(1:10:00) Walberg response: Supports it.
(1:11:30) Q 8: Employers discriminating against people on religious grounds?
(1:14:15) Walberg gives only a 15 second long response: To follow constitution, bill of rights, and the law. Walberg doesn’t elaborate, which suggests that he knows that his full opinion would be unpopular. In the past, Walberg has outwardly supported that specifically Christian organizations can discriminate based religious grounds. For example, in 2008, Walberg voted against the Head Start program, because it didn’t allow Christian schools to discriminate.
(1:18:35) Q 9: College affordability?
(1:20:15) Walberg response: says worst thing is government loans / Walberg wants more career training
(1:29:20) Question from crowd: Health care costs?
(1:30:00) Walberg response: Wants competition & vague “patient-centered approach”
(1:32:30) DRAMA FROM WALBERG: Walberg requests to rebut Driskell’s response. The moderator allows this, which provokes an uproar from the crowd, because this event was not formatted as a debate, and nothing was mentioned at the outset about candidates having rebuttals. Walberg goes on to mention that he is on MediCare, and doesn’t want to be. Walberg claims that he did not have health insurance for the first ten years of his marriage, and worked out an arrangement in which his wife cleaned doctors’ offices to have health care coverage. Sooo... Is Walberg saying that was a good system? Should we set up doctor's debt labor camps outside of hospitals, where patients and their families can pay down medical bills through hard labor?
(1:40:30) Last Question 11: Recreational marijuana?
(1:48:30) Walberg response: Supports medical prescribed marijuana / concerned how it will affect job drug testing.
(1:59:45) Walberg Closing Statement: Claims to have had more town halls than any other member of Michigan delegation / “listening to people” [oh, please...] / Walberg tosses in MI-GOP slogan: “Results not Resistance”/ Tax cut / Walberg oddly says: “We worked with human trafficking”– Creepy... Freudian Slip? / Says MI-GOP campaign slogan again in closing: “Results not Resistance - Not a great slogan, because it doesn't emphasize "good results"
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