Seaholm Students Meet Congressional Candidates, Except Trott

Seaholm Students Meet 11th District Congressional Candidates, Except Trott (video)934_8600_Gen-Online_Banners3

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 25, 2014)

There is a saying in some social circles that you better show up or people will talk about you anyway. That certainly held true Monday when Congressional Candidate Dave Trott failed to come to a candidate forum specifically for students taking government classes at Seaholm High School in Birmingham.

The forum gave youth from eight classes a chance to ask questions of the candidates. Democrat Bobby McKenzie, incumbent and write in candidate Republican Kerry Bentivolio and Libertarian John Tatar all spoke against their Republican opponent.

“Showing up matters. Mr. Trott was supposed to be here and he didn’t show up. What kind of waterworkrepresentative do you think he’s going to be? For 18 years I’ve been trying to keep our country safe and make the world a better place. During that same period of time, Trott has been foreclosing on people’s homes,” McKenzie said.

Bentivolio even surprised Tater with a hug, when Tater said “When you have millions and millions of dollars and you can you buy your way into office, why bother showing up at these debates?”

Trott outspent Bentivolio significantly in the primary and the financial differences among the candidates moving into the general election is notable. As of Sept. 30, Trott had $1.3 million, McKenzie had $170,000, and Bentivolio had $42,000. Money is the biggest criticism Trott has faced from all sides, because he has spent his career in a law firm helping banks foreclose on people.lisa schmidt law

Bentivolio was elected in 2012 after his primary opponent withdrew due to election fraud. Although he did not show up at the League of Women Voter’s forum on July 16, Bentivolio did take the opportunity to speak when asked about Trott’s absence, stating “I have to be careful what I say, you have no idea. After serving my country in two wars and honorably serving in Congress I have been subject to slander and libel.”

Trott’s campaign told the school that he had another engagement, but that he would be happy to come another time to talk to students.

The forum gave students a taste of the political process, from the points about the impact of money to responses posed by students on various topics.

Senior William Sargent thought that the forum was helpful but was frustrated by some of the answers. “The main complaint I have is that sometimes it seemed that the responses they gave didn’t relate extremely specifically to the question. They focused on a topic related to the question but they Judy_Palmer30yearswouldn’t give a clear response or plan for any sort of action about the question,” he said. One example, Sargent said, is a question about how to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads. “I clearly remember that… McKenzie said that taxation is the basis of our modern world and that’s why we need to support road repair in Michigan through government action. And I remember Tatar gave a response about receiving only part of our tax money back from government. But I didn’t hear a clear call to action from either of them. I didn’t hear any policies being mentioned to fix these Michigan roads and I thought that was disappointing.”

When asked if a longer format for answer would have been more useful, Sargent responded “Ultimately I think it all depends on the quality of the candidates themselves. I think it’s possible to pack an excellent explanation of a policy into just maybe two minutes. Of course it would be easier to explain a complex policy over maybe 15 minutes. But I think if a politician doesn’t give a good explanation of what they want to do, I think it’s their fault and their group’s fault really.”

Candidates made opening statements and answered questions about topics like how to help Detroit, same-sex marriage, abortion, Isis and if the government should have a say in how healthy school lunches are.

Find out what the candidates had to say and hear student reactions by checking out the video below:

For more election coverage go to http://oaklandcounty115.com/category/election-information/.

For the primary forum for the 11th Congressional District, which did include Dave Trott, see http://oaklandcounty115.com/2014/07/17/candidates-for-11th-congressional-district-speak-in-lwv-forum-video/.

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