Michigan politics looked a little different when Rep. Julie Brixie got into the game two decades ago. After a career in Meridian Township government and four years in the state legislature, she said that this year’s midterm election cycle is critical.
“Democracy is literally on the line,” Brixie said. “Not only here in Michigan, but also throughout our country.”
Brixie is up for re-election in the newly-formed 73rd District, which, after redistricting, includes Ingham County. She will face Republican Norm Shinkle in November, a former member of the State Board of Canvassers who refused to certify Michigan’s electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election.
Brixie counts abortion and voting rights as two of the most important issues in this election – a view reflected by two ballot proposals awaiting certification by the Michigan Supreme Court.
“The Promote the Vote ballot initiative is going to be very important to get past this fall, as well as the Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiative,” Brixie said. “And I think those two issues are really important, not just to me, but to Republicans, and Democrats and Independents all over the state of Michigan.”
Michigan’s 1931 ban on abortion is one of the centerpiece issues at all levels of the campaign cycle, sparking debate between gubernatorial hopefuls and local candidates alike. For Brixie, the issue is personal, and it’s one of the reasons why young people have to be tuned in to what’s happening in races on the state and local level.
“When I was a young person, I had control over my uterus the entire time that I was capable of becoming pregnant,” Brixie said. “And that right has been taken away from people. The decision whether and when to have a child is a very, very important personal and financial decision. And the government shouldn't be making that decision for anybody.”
In conversations on front porches and in the Capitol Building, Brixie said she’s noticed that abortion rights are joined by another hot-button topic as one of people’s top priorities this year: voting rights and election security.
“I hear over and over again, from folks throughout Ingham County, that they are very concerned for the future of our state in our country if these voter suppression bills that the Republicans keep trying to get passed are put into place,” Brixie said.
Her opponent is known for his skepticism regarding elections, having also voted against removing Republican gubernatorial candidates from the ballot earlier this year after fraudulent signatures came to light in their petition processes. Brixie said that she will continue to advocate against election-fraud conspiracy theories.
“The reason that I ran for the legislature was that when Donald Trump got elected, I was appalled at the idea that a person who was a known sexual abuser could get elected, and that this person that was normalizing hate speech and taking our country backwards could be the president of the United States,” Brixie said.
Students who are registered to vote outside of Ingham County can request absentee ballots from the state to vote by mail. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th.
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