On Oct. 26, the College Democrats of SVSU hosted U.S. Congressmen Dan Kildee and Ted Lieu.
Kildee, who represents the congressional district including Saginaw Vally State University’s campus, kicked off the night by asking all the students in attendance to state their name and major. After that, the floor was open to students to ask questions.
The first question was directed towards Lieu, who represents a congressional district in California. He was asked what his stance on the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
“I’m a big believer that the pen is more powerful than the sword,” he said. “I’ve concluded there’s only two ways this war ends, either Russia conquers the Ukraine or Putin concludes he cannot win. I support giving the Ukraine whatever they need to win on the battlefield.”
He was also asked what he feels about China and how America can compete with them.
“One of the reasons we passed the CHIPS act is to make sure we’re no longer dependent on other countries,” he said. “It’s not only good for the economy but it’s good for mass security. We [also] have terrific property laws and a way of boosting innovation. Long term, we still outcompete our competition.”
Kildee said he thinks America needs to strengthen its relationships with other democracies to help outbid China. He highlighted that this is something the U.S. House of Representaives has had 12-hour meetings to try to figure out.
“Creating stronger alliances with other democracies,” he said. “Particularly in the west, like the European Union and the United Kingdom.”
After the Q&A, Kildee and Lieu met with students to take photos. Kildee sat down afterwards for a one-on-one interview with the Vanguard.
Kildee is going into this election with a new district. He said 80% is his old district but he has some new areas now included in that. He now has all of Saginaw County and much of Midland County including the city of Midland. He also represents Genesee County inclding Flint.
“It’s a challenging race,” he said. “It’s a toss up kind of district, one that can go either way and that’s an unusual situation for me to be in. I’ve been in Congress for 10 years, but I haven’t had a race as contested as this. It’s one of the most contested races in the country.”
He talked about why this election is so important.
“It’s important for the country,” he said. “Part of it is because the vision of the two parties couldn’t be more distinct. The Republican party has kind of lost its soul. It’s become the party of Trump and that’s a dangerous thing. I’m willing to criticize my own party because they’re not always 100% right either, but in this particular case what we have is a Republican Party that’s just so disconnected from reality.”
Kildee expressed an understanding of the current political climate and how that can be disheartening to young adults just coming into voting and gave advice on how to figure everything out.
“Find reliable information, sources of information and don’t fall into a trap that a lot of people have fallen into. Which has people consuming information that proves their own biases,” he said. “What I used to tell people all the time is read a newspaper. Newspaper might not be paper anymore but find a reliable, credible, source of news information and read that every day.
“If a person does that, they’ll know where they fit in the political spectrum. They know how that information, and their own values, will move them to action. The other thing I would say is people who think they’re checking out of the political process aren’t really checking out,” he said. “They’re still going to be affected by it and their lives are going to be impacted, their freedom could be curtailed by it. It’s a pretty simple choice if people understand that. Start small, you don’t have to run for office or give speeches but even as a student, being involved in an organization like this group (the College Democrats).”
He ended by saying everyone has a voice and
should use it.
“Everybody’s voice is the same, if you’re a freshman at SVSU who just turned 18 or a billionaire on Wall Street, there’s one day where you have the same power. I’d hate to see someone who has that power not use it.”
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