Candidate Profile: Sen. Stabenow sets goal of lower health care cost, small business focus
LANSING, Mich. —
Education: Michigan State University
Hometown: Clare, Mich.
Occupation: Democratic U.S. Senator
Long-time U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow is looking to continue her time in Congress in the November midterm election.
Sen. Stabenow was first elected in 2000 after defeating the incumbent senator. She now serves with another Democratic senator and said she has the experience relationships in Washington to continue serving Michigan.
The Farm Bill is written every five years in Congress and Stabenow has been actively involved in the language; she serves as the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Stabenow said the Farm Bill is critical to more than just famers in America.
“It’s really the rural economic development strategy for the country,” she explained.
The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that handles trade, commodity programs, food safety and other rules. Stabenow said this will continue to be a big focus for her and she would like to see the bill get authorized for a longer time frame and earlier because so many people are impacted by the result.
“I don’t believe we have an economy unless somebody makes something and somebody grows something,” Stabenow added.
Taxes and Small Business Support
The Senator did not support the GOP led tax cut bill and said she believes there’s a better way “to do this without adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt.” Despite not supporting the tax cuts, she said she is a huge supporter of small businesses.
“We [need to] make sure that any rules that come down that affect big businesses one way, we don’t end up seeing all this paperwork and regulation that’s unnecessary on small businesses so we need to look at everything through the lens of small businesses and how they’re impacted,” Stabenow explained.
As far as the tax bill, Stabenow said she would like to see a deal that’s targeted more toward middle class families, manufacturers and others that keep their business in the United States.
“I’d like very much being able to provide tax cuts to small businesses and to Michigan manufacturers and we can do that in a way that will be much more beneficial than the way it was written,” added the senator.
The education system is something that needs work, Stabenow said, and would like to see skilled trades and apprenticeships programs grow across the country.
“What I hear from employers right now is they are desperate to get people that have skilled trades or technical skills,” she said.
The Senator introduced a bill, the Careers Act, in February; since then, no movement has been made after getting read in committee. This piece of legislation aims to close that gap between job needs and available workers.
“The careers act is about adding more career counselors that will be able to spend the time with students telling them about the other opportunities that they have,” she explained.
Moving forward, she said she wants to see a much larger emphasis put on this area of education because not every student coming out of high school needs to go to a four-year institution.
The Affordable Care Act was introduced and enacted during Sen. Stabenow’s time in the Senate. She said she has been ‘leading the efforts’ of making healthcare more accessible to more Americans and wants to focus more efforts on mental health.
“We need to focus on health care above the neck as well as health care below the neck,” she said.
Sen. Stabenow is not a co-sponsor of a bill in Congress currently that would move toward a single-payer health care system, but believes in a universal care system.
The cost of prescription drugs will be a big focus for her, she said. President Donald Trump recently signed into law a bill backed by Stabenow that allows pharmacists to discuss the price of prescription drugs with customers at the counter, something that was prohibited by law until now.
“I want to tackle the biggest cost [of health care] which is the cost of prescription drugs,” Stabenow explained.
Another idea, she said, is to allow people 55 and older to buy into the current Medicare program.
“I think that’s a way to address health care without, in any way, threaten he current Medicare system.”
Learn more about Stabenow’s ideas and platform on her campaign website.