Congresswoman Haley Stevens Inaugurated in Seaholm, Her Hometown School

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Image is courtesy of Ispita K.

Written by Ipsita K.

  On the 27th of January, Michigan’s newest district 11 representative, Haley Stevens, was sworn in at her alma mater’s auditorium.

  Stevens was elected to her position as representative in the November midterm elections, defeating Republican Lena Epstein by winning 52% of the vote.

  Stevens notes that she originally ran for the House of Representatives because she wanted to champion Michigan and manufacturing in Congress, both of which Stevens felt was missing.

  “There were so many things that motivated me to run for Congress; our innovation economy, our education agenda, standing up for our community, and really bringing a spirit of public service back to the district and to our community,” Stevens said. “I have a manufacturing background. I really saw that missing and I thought I could champion our regional economy for the next generation, and get some things done, by restoring the faith, trust, and honor in our government.”

   As well as being a representative, Stevens serves as a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, and is also the co-president of the new class of freshmen Democrats.

  In terms of education, Stevens believes the key to designing effective policy is to listen to students, teachers, and parents, as well as not taking a top-down approach.

   “We have to stop taking the top-down approach. I’m in Washington DC. I need to do education policy from the bottom up, sitting down with educators, with students, parents, and coming together around some of our needs. I think that’s one of the first things that we could really tackle that would make a difference,” Stevens said.

  In terms of specific policy, one of Stevens’ primary goals is tacking the costs of higher education.

  “I also think that we need to address the exorbitant cost of higher education. I think we need to support alternative post-secondary educational opportunities for people, apprenticeship job training programs, the whole technology economy,” Stevens said. “You know, sometimes you create a business without even finishing college, and that’s exciting. We want to also continue to promote lifelong learning and continued educational opportunities, whether you’re just out of high school or in the middle point in your career. Most importantly, we need to focus on the cost and tackling the exorbitant cost of higher education in the loans so many of our students are saddled with.”

  Stevens also emphasized the importance of equal funding for schools.

  “It’s a big concern and we’ve got to focus on a quality. It shouldn’t matter what ZIP code you’re in, we should promote equal funding for schools,” Stevens said. “We need to really give an emphasis on that Title One requirement for the equal funding, and we also need support from the state, municipal, and federal level. I plan to work really closely with our state legislature to make sure that we’re addressing some of our funding gaps, and within the district, one of the things that I’m focused on is pulling in dollars from the federal government.”

  Stevens noted that supporting teacher was also an integral part of her education platform.

“We’re surrounded by rich industry. Those are awesome partners for us, and we shouldn’t be saddling our teachers or parents with all those costs. It’s too much, and our teachers also haven’t gotten a raise in far too long. We need to be supporting our teachers, rather than demonizing them,” Stevens said.

  Aside from her role on the House Education and Labor Committee, Stevens also serves on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and is an ardent advocate for clean energy.

  “[Clean energy] is Paramount. It is here. The clean energy economy is ours for the taking. Certainly, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee is going to play a big role in that. I’m very inspired by the vision that we might move to zero emissions,” Stevens said.

  Stevens also explained her interest in the “space” portion of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

  “I’m really intrigued by [space travel], and I am very optimistic about what it can mean. I certainly believe that we don’t have a “planet B” to move to, but I think that we need to take climate change really seriously and with that, we need to also be investing in space travel and supporting American leadership,” Stevens said. “I really am intrigued, and one of the things I want to conduct some oversight on is some of the private sector space travel opportunities.”

  Another important facet of Stevens’ platform is her strong belief in “gun-sense laws” and gun reform, which is why she is supporting H.R.8, otherwise known as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.

  “[Gun reform] is the universal background checks. [Gun reform] is making sure that guns don’t get in the hands of domestic abusers. [Gun reform is making sure we’re banning those bump stocks as well as making sure that the loopholes that currently exist are stopped,” Stevens said.

  Stevens further noted she did not believe that arming teachers or school officials is the key to creating a safer school environment.

  “I don’t believe that we need guns in our schools. I don’t think we need to arm our teachers,” Stevens said.

  Stevens added that “red flag laws” would be one of the most important places to start in protecting American schools.

  “I think the red flag laws are a good place to start [for school safety], which is making sure that people who are making threatening comments don’t get access to weapons, and I think it’s a conversation we need to have with our schools,” Stevens said. “You know, it’s really easy to say we shouldn’t have our students go to school afraid, and our parents shouldn’t be afraid to send their kids to school. That is something I feel really strongly about, but we also need to make sure that we’re listening and working together with our students, and that’s why I’m proud to be a gun sense candidate.”

  Stevens extends this spirit of working together not only to her constituents but to Republicans as well. With partial government funds due to run out on February 16th, Congress is working to reach a compromise over President Trump’s demands for a wall in order to reopen the government.

  “I think that the word ‘compromise’ is very important. I think that we had a compromise [pertaining to the shutdown] before I took office, and it was broken before the end of the year. And that is why we moved into a shutdown. We absolutely need to have a conversation around comprehensive border security, but we also need to do so working in a cohesive way that doesn’t necessarily waste taxpayer money for things that we don’t need,” Stevens said. “We need to look at technology. We need to look at ports of entry. We need to not be politicizing our national security, and I personally believe that we need to support our dreamers.”

  Stevens did, however, note that other than compromise, her role and the flipping of the House of Representatives was a win to checks and balances, and having a more balanced debate.

  “[Checks and balances] is Article 1 of the Constitution. [Checks and balances] is a major role, and part of flipping the house is that we might reclaim those checks and balances,” Stevens said.

  For Stevens, ensuring that she is always listening to her constituents is a key priority.

  “I’m holding Community meetings. I have a town hall on Plymouth. I had coffee hours in Novi. I try and respond to a lot of the messages personally. My team is started a big and robust correspondence effort, and I make sure my constituents know who my in-district team is, and who my Washington DC team is,” Stevens said. “Also, it’s very important for me to make sure that everybody knows where I stand with them on issues. You know, I’m not looking to take a soft approach on things per say. I want to be very clear about where we’re going to go and what we’re going to do and we’re doing that together.”

  Above all, Stevens is hoping to break Midwest values over to Washington D.C.

  “I think [Midwest values are] hard work, and keeping your head down.

One of my little sayings is stick to my knitting. You get a lot outside requests, and I’m here to get a job done for people. I’m here on behalf of all of us, and that’s certainly part of the Midwestern values. I think it’s also a kind of friendly Spirit, the spirit of collegiality and teamsmanship.”

   Space, and Technology Committee, and is an ardent advocate for clean energy.

“[Clean energy] is Paramount. It is here. The clean energy economy is ours for the taking. Certainly, the Science, Space, and Technology Committee is going to play a big role in that. I’m very inspired by the vision that we might move to zero emissions,” Stevens said.

  Stevens also explained her interest in the “space” portion of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

  “I’m really intrigued by [space travel], and I am very optimistic about what it can mean. I certainly believe that we don’t have a “planet B” to move to, but I think that we need to take climate change really seriously and with that, we need to also be investing in space travel and supporting American leadership,” Stevens said. “I really am intrigued, and one of the things I want to conduct some oversight on is some of the private sector space travel opportunities.”

  Another important facet of Stevens’ platform is her strong belief in “gun-sense laws” and gun reform, which is why she is supporting H.R.8, otherwise known as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.

  “[Gun reform] is the universal background checks. [Gun reform] is making sure that guns don’t get in the hands of domestic abusers. [Gun reform is making sure we’re banning those bump stocks as well as making sure that the loopholes that currently exist are stopped,” Stevens said.

  Stevens further noted she did not believe that arming teachers or school officials is the key to creating a safer school environment.

  “I don’t believe that we need guns in our schools. I don’t think we need to arm our teachers,” Stevens said.

  Stevens added that “red flag laws” would be one of the most important places to start in protecting American schools.

  “I think the red flag laws are a good place to start [for school safety], which is making sure that people who are making threatening comments don’t get access to weapons, and I think it’s a conversation we need to have with our schools,” Stevens said. “You know, it’s really easy to say we shouldn’t have our students go to school afraid, and our parents shouldn’t be afraid to send their kids to school. That is something I feel really strongly about, but we also need to make sure that we’re listening and working together with our students, and that’s why I’m proud to be a gun sense candidate.”

  Stevens extends this spirit of working together not only to her constituents but to Republicans as well. With partial government funds due to run out on February 16th, Congress is working to reach a compromise over President Trump’s demands for a wall in order to reopen the government.

  “I think that the word ‘compromise’ is very important. I think that we had a compromise [pertaining to the shutdown] before I took office, and it was broken before the end of the year. And that is why we moved into a shutdown. We absolutely need to have a conversation around comprehensive border security, but we also need to do so working in a cohesive way that doesn’t necessarily waste taxpayer money for things that we don’t need,” Stevens said. “We need to look at technology. We need to look at ports of entry. We need to not be politicizing our national security, and I personally believe that we need to support our dreamers.”

  Stevens did, however, note that other than compromise, her role and the flipping of the House of Representatives was a win to checks and balances, and having a more balanced debate.

  “[Checks and balances] is Article 1 of the Constitution. [Checks and balances] is a major role, and part of flipping the house is that we might reclaim those checks and balances,” Stevens said.

  For Stevens, ensuring that she is always listening to her constituents is a key priority.

  “I’m holding Community meetings. I have a town hall on Plymouth. I had coffee hours in Novi. I try and respond to a lot of the messages personally. My team is started a big and robust correspondence effort, and I make sure my constituents know who my in-district team is, and who my Washington DC team is,” Stevens said. “Also, it’s very important for me to make sure that everybody knows where I stand with them on issues. You know, I’m not looking to take a soft approach on things per say. I want to be very clear about where we’re going to go and what we’re going to do and we’re doing that together.”

  Above all, Stevens is hoping to break Midwest values over to Washington D.C.

  “I think [Midwest values are] hard work, and keeping your head down. One of my little sayings is stick to my knitting. You get a lot of outside requests, and I’m here to get a job done for people. I’m here on behalf of all of us, and that’s certainly part of the Midwestern values. I think it’s also a kind of friendly spirit, the spirit of collegiality and teamsmanship.”

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