Tudor Dixon in Rochester Hills: ‘Quiet Republicans’ Emerging As Force In Race
Ms. Dixon also was pressed about her lack of campaign advertising. She expressed hope about ad time reserved by the Republican Governors Association slated to start next week. Further, she suggested polling is missing Republicans reluctant to publicly declare their support, similar to what helped Donald Trump in his first run for president in 2016.
She also said that she would encourage GOP attorney general candidate Matt DePerno to investigate former officials, such as Attorney General Dana Nessel and Governor Gretchen Whitmer over various policy decisions at an event held at Emagine Theaters in Rochester Hills.
Dubbed as an "ask me anything" event in the vein of Reddit’s spontaneous message board usually reserved for celebrities, Ms. Dixon used the platform to reintroduce herself to potential Republican voters in southeast Michigan. The event follows a weeklong push by the candidate to relitigate some of Ms. Whitmer’s COVID pandemic-era policy decisions that Republicans have tirelessly argued hurt residents and businesses.
In her introduction, she told a packed movie theater that she was led to fight back against the Whitmer administration by starting a political communications company that at first worked with high school students to increase their voice in conservative politics and later parlayed that into a conservative communications consulting business and her own brand as a commentator.
A run in the Republican primary resulted in her taking the gubernatorial nomination to challenge Ms. Whitmer.
She added that her mission to relitigate Ms. Whitmer’s pandemic policies was to show how a leader acts during a crisis, and that it was her argument that Ms. Whitmer failed the test.
She also defended her views on business or economic development incentives and abortion, saying that it was clear that she opposes both.
On incentives, Ms. Dixon railed against the Gotion battery plant plans, claiming as she has in the past that the company has ties to the Chinese communist government and that "having the CCP have land ownership in Michigan is not okay with me."
On the abortion issue, Ms. Dixon attempted to clarify that she wasn’t running on her own opposition to abortion, but said her mission is to show what Ms. Whitmer’s position was so voters have a clear contrast. She called the court orders keeping abortion legal in Michigan despite the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court "a terrible situation for young women," as well as the Proposal 22-3 to enshrine reproductive rights in the state Constitution.
As the question-and-answer portion began, Ms. Dixon was at first inundated by several wandering questions from audience members who were either making blanket statements or offered conspiratorial views without asking Ms. Dixon much of anything at all.
Among the questions that gave Ms. Dixon did receive were those relating to incentives for electric vehicles, transgender acceptance in schools despite her platform of no sex or gender education before third grade and her lack of advertising presence.
Regarding electric vehicles, one person asked if she would support state level incentives for electric vehicle ownership or sales, but also electric vehicle infrastructure improvements as seen in California, New York or Vermont.
"You’re not going to see me banning gas vehicles in the state of Michigan," she said. "Those are choices I believe our consumers will make, the choice that is best for them. I don’t believe in the government telling you what you have to buy. We know countries that do that. It doesn’t help."
One audience member slammed transgender inclusion in the workplace, saying that as a scientist and a person with strong religious beliefs, they weren’t going to "call someone something they aren’t," a reference likely to preferred pronouns and gender self-assignment.
Ms. Dixon has sought to distance her sex and gender education stance from appearing as though they are attacks against transgender people or the LGBTQ community writ large – saying during the Friday event as she has repeatedly in others that this was not an anti-LGBTQ policy point.
She furthered that by saying she had a transgender person at one of her rallies recently offering the campaign support.
"She took time to talk to me and she said, ‘You know, I didn’t need a teacher to tell me that this is who I was. It was something that I grew, and I learned about myself, and every child grows and learns about themselves. It’s not something someone tells you,’" Ms. Dixon said, paraphrasing the remarks. "And I thought, well, that was really powerful because we all grow into who we are, whoever that is going to be. And we all grow into that by ourselves. And this idea that we should have any teacher doing something other than teaching us the skills that we need to grow into who we are, rather than telling us who we should be, that’s where we need to stop that from happening. The other interesting thing is that she said, ‘I think that you should know that most of us agree on the sports because I have bigger lungs and I have bigger frame, and I can play a much tougher game and I can run much faster than a biological girl. I think that you’re right, in that sense, and I think you have a lot of support there.’"
Ms. Dixon continued by saying "I think we need to understand exactly what that means. And I think that means that our kids should focus on learning, and eventually our kids are going to grow into who they want to be."
Two audience members asked her about her lack of advertising, including one who flatly asked her where her commercials were. During the first instance, Ms. Dixon said she wasn’t a self-funder, that she’s not rich and that she personally doesn’t have the kind of money Ms. Whitmer has spent on ads and opposition spending.
She framed herself as being part of a GOP vanguard that has taken over the Democrats’ role as the party of the working class, saying that Republicans now represent that group.
"We are the party that gets what it is to work hard and have your business shut down and ripped away from you. We’re the party that understands what it is to go every day to work and put a hard day’s work in and pay our bills and be proud of paying our bills," Ms. Dixon said. "And then when you get that ripped away, how horrible is to think you can’t pay your bills. So, we don’t have as much money as them … their candidates are rich and wealthy. That’s not the way the Republican Party is right now, and I’m not ashamed of that. I think that’s pretty cool."
In second instance, Ms. Dixon said she was hopeful the Republican Governors Association would begin running allied advertising as seen with the Democratic Governors Associations’ buys to prop up Ms. Whitmer. While the organization has reserved $4 million in ads for Ms. Dixon, there is no guarantee it will actually follow through on those reservations as the organization determines where to spend its resources. It is also unclear if Ms. Dixon fits that mold since she is behind in all recent polling to varying degrees.
Ms. Dixon also doubled down on that fact that she doesn’t need to spend as much on ads as the incumbent governor because her plan is better. She also addressed the fact that some have said she lacks name ID, saying Ms. Whitmer’s negative ads have helped in that regard.
"I don’t really have to worry about it because she’s spending a lot of money to make sure I have it. Everywhere we go now, we have people that stop me," she said. "What I think is fascinating about this is that it’s not going to Republican events. It’s when we go to the gas station. When I stop at the coffee shop. I have people tapping me and saying, ‘I’m voting for you.’ And the funny thing about it is, they’re always whispering. They’re always whispering because it’s true that there’s the quiet Republicans out there."
She mentioned a man at the grocery store who had shimmied down the aisle, tapped her on the shoulder and whispered that she had his vote, noting her belief that they do that "because Republicans are so scared right now, because it’s the deplorables of 2016 all over again."
Report: Hitting Gov’s Energy Goal Means All New Car Sales Must Be Electric By 2030
The report also recommends a 100% clean electricity standard in addition to the MI Healthy Climate Plan recommendation of a 50% renewable portfolio standard by 2030. The clean electricity standard would phase out coal plants by 2030 and end the construction of new gas-fired power plants.
Pollution-free building recommendations would create building electrifications standards requiring 100% of all new heating equipment sales be electric by 2035.
Following the release of the MI Healthy Climate Plan earlier this year, a new joint report found additional policy is necessary to achieve Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality statewide by 2050.
The “2030 Report: How Michigan Should Meet Its Climate Change Goals” is a follow-up to the April 2022 MI Healthy Climate Plan recommendations written by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, which focused on six areas in Michigan: Energy production, electric vehicles, decarbonizing homes and businesses, clean-energy jobs, protecting land and water, and supporting environmental justice.
The 2030 report now concludes that the MI Healthy Climate Plan puts Michigan on the right path to reduce emissions, but finds that reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 requires more ambitious action than is currently outlined, said Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer for the Michigan Environmental Council.
“The report’s modeling confirms that Michigan has a real chance to lead on climate solutions, but policy matters,” Jameson said. “Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 requires more aggressive actions in the near-term than the state is currently on track for. Michigan decision-makers should use the findings of this report to craft a concrete policy agenda for climate action and move swiftly to implement it.”
The policies outlined would cut emissions by more than 72 million metric tons, while the original plan would reduce emissions by 52 million tons.
Key Cannabis Group Says Rescheduling Drug Would Help Businesses
Mr. Biden on Thursday asked the secretary of Health and Human Services and U.S. attorney general to initiate the administrative process to review how marijuana is scheduled in federal law.
"Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances," Mr. Biden said in a statement. "This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic."
Robin Schneider, executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, said in a statement Friday that cannabis stocks are soaring after the announcement by Mr. Biden and the potential for reclassifying the drug that has been legal recreationally in Michigan since 2018.
"Not only will this resolve our industries banking issues but it will address the 280e tax implications making cannabis business much more profitable," she said. "We also expect that reclassification will lead to new investment opportunities strengthening the industry overall."
Businesses in Michigan and other states that are legal often have to deal in all or mostly cash because they do not have the same access to banks as other businesses because cannabis remains illegal federally.
This has created safety issues as well for employees who transfer the money, and some have spoken of paying licensing fees with suitcases full of cash.
Mr. Biden also said he was pardoning federal offenders who were convicted of simple marijuana possession charges and called on governors to do the same.
Michigan has not pardoned marijuana offenders since the recreational law was adopted in 2018, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office noted the expungement law passed this term and how it would help some offenders.
"Earlier in the governor’s term, she signed bipartisan Clean Slate legislation to create a process for people convicted of misdemeanors, including marijuana offenses, to apply for streamlined expungement," Whitmer communication director Bobby Leddy said. "This law is one of the most expansive pieces of expungement legislation in the nation. It allows first time marijuana offenses to be expunged manually, and a process for automatic expungement for non-violent offenses will go into effect next April. We will continue to work with anyone who’s serious about solving problems and keeping our communities safe."
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