Ellis Boal for Congress MI-01
The other candidates
Three-term Tea-Party, climate-change-denying, Republican representative Dan Benishek is retiring from Michigan's first congressional district this year, without having been much of a presence in his six years. Can we do better?
There are two purposes to any campaign. One is to decide who is going to represent you. The other is for the candidates to converse with the electorate, their families, and each other, and discuss the issues of the day.
Three others are running for Michigan's first congressional district. None of their websites discuss issues as thoroughly as this one. Here you can compare their records and positions to mine:
Her website identifies the following issues:
Marijuana, war on drugs. Suicide among veterans. VA-prescribed opioids which tend to make people crazy. Strong national defense while staying out of foreign entanglements. Repeal expensive and burdensome federal regulations while giving the states more control. National budget should be treated like a household budget, where spending more than is brought in means the government must borrow. Police as perpetrators and victims. Civil forfeiture rules, such as forfeiture of individual's bank account based on incorrect belief of failure to pay state income tax, or forfeiture of a car based on a police officer's "feeling" that it was used in a crime.
The last two have nothing to do with the federal office for which she is running. The website shows no interest in the environment, global warming, health care, or Social Security.
Bergman, a retired Marine lieutenant general, frequently refers to himself as a "straight-talking Marine."
In recordings he has opposed abortion in cases of rape and incest (at counter 1:34), supported legalization of marijuana (at counter 42:10), called for privatization of Social Security over the long term (at counter 15:56), said of TPP "yes with reservations" (at counter 42:46), and said marriage is between a man and a woman (at 31:08).
On his website Bergman says TPP "should be opposed as is." He is for fewer government regulations, repeal of Obamacare, simplification and lower taxes, balancing the budget, pro-life, second amendment, improving veterans services, deploying troops only when necessary and training and equiping them to win, ending government monopoly on education, zero-based budgeting, no amnesty for undocumented aliens, securing the borders, restricting immigration, and English as official language.
In a TV interview on July 26 (at 2:40) Bergman said he has no opinion whether Line 5 should be shut down, and (at 5:13) supported Donald Trump in light of his successful business career.
He has shown no interest in environmental issues or global warming.
In 1998 he built a home and settled in Watersmeet. He and his wife Cindy call Michiganís Upper Peninsula home.
"We quite honestly fell in love with New Orleans and Louisiana, " Bergman said. "Pure and simple. It's not any more complicated than that. We feel this is a community and a state that we want to be part of. And it doesn't hurt that we don't get 10 feet of snow here in the winter."
Though retired from the Marines now for nearly seven years, Bergman said at a candidate forum in Sault Ste. Marie that he holds a security clearance today. Therefore, he said in response to a question from me, he could not discuss his ideas for a national security strategy, though he has frequently criticized President Obama for failing to implement a strong one.
Candidate Johnson responded that it violated security principles for Bergman to discuss having a security clearance for political gain. Johnson then asked the name of the sponsoring agency for the clearance, and whether it was a private entity. Bergman denied he had violated anything and refused to name the sponsoring agency.
Other employement Bergman has had according to VoterGuide 2016 is work as a pilot for Northwest Airlines, and his own business in the medical equipment field. These don't sound like platforms for a security clearance.
Pertinent passages of the forum exchange begin at counters 1:03:32, 1:06:33, 1:12:55, 1:14:25, 1:15:04, and 1:23:55 of the video.
Of the three Johnson is the most interesting, a refreshing improvement from the Democrats' candidate in 2014.
His website highlights these issues: non-privatization of Social Security and Medicare, reduction of wealth inequality, union membership and labor rights, progressive taxation, investment in renewables, fixing roads and bridges, high-speed passenger rail service and internet, good veterans services, rejection of TPP, shutting down Line 5 while it is independently inspected, opposing hydraulic fracturing until it is developed safely, protection of public land from development, and prevention of invasive species.
He was one of 16 Michigan superdelegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July, of whom nine were pledged to Hillary Clinton. Though Bernie Sanders won the Michigan primary, all other superdelegates remained uncommitted. Johnson was among these.
At the Traverse City forum in answering the question about the Great Lakes, he said at counter 41:50, in regard to shutting Line 5, he was not opposed to oil or pipelines, and that pipelines are generally the safest way to move oil.
He has not come out for a complete transition from fossil fuels to renewables, or for a pull-out of US forces and money from Syria.
At least in the past he has shown sympathy with Palestinian issues. During the legislative elections there in 2006, he worked as an observer for the Democratic National Institute in the West Bank towns of Salfit and Qalqilya. Salfit had a commendable voter turnout of almost 84%. Hamas won in Salfit and Fatah won in Qalqilya.
Johnson's observations of the fairness in 2006 take on heightened relevance today, in light of a newly-disclosed September 2006 recording of his Democratic slatemate Hillary Clinton when she ran that year for re-election as the senator from New York. She told a group of reporters the US should have rigged the Palestinian election:
I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake. And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.
Like Bergman's trouble with Trump, Johnson will have a hard time defending Clinton's untruthful and vacillating policies, including one which called for war with nuclear-armed Russia. Johnson expects to work with Clinton if both are elected.