Campaign 2016: 71st House District race

EATON Co., Mich (WLNS) – An unusual House race is unfolding in Eaton County where a Democrat, who lost her seat to a Republican, is trying to make a comeback.

In the 71st House district it’s a re-match between Tom Barrett and Theresa Abed.

These two politicians are certainly not strangers.

Theresa Abed won this seat four years ago, but then two years ago Tom Barrett beat her by 146 votes.

The issues?

“I think education certainly is one. I think roads is another, and I think jobs and the economy is always pressing on people’s minds,” says Barrett.

“There’s just that very frustrated feeling of you know what policies and legislation keeps being passed, but it’s not helping us,” remarks Abed.

Voters want to know why is one candidate better than the other.

“I am so connected with the community. I’ve lived here for 30 years. I’ve been a school social worker. So I’ve been embedded in our community,” says Abed.

“I’ve had legislative accomplishments; frankly my opponent has had none,” counters Barrett. “I focused on issues that I am most capable of addressing. I’m the only Iraq war veteran in the State House of Representatives.”

Democrats are trying to pick up nine seats in the House to regain control. This race is a must-win for the D’s and the Democrats are trying to pressure Republican candidates to unendorse Mr. Trump. Will Mr. Barrett do that? “I do not,” answered Barrett. “I certainly do not support everything Mr. Trump has said.”

“This is something that is huge and that we need to make sure that we say this is appalling,” insists Abed.

When asked if she thought her opponent should denounce Mr. Trump, Abed answered “I do. I do think he should denounce what he has been saying.”

As for fixing the roads and a gas tax hike?

Barrett says “I voted yes on the increase for the gas tax to invest more money in to our infrastructure.”

And Abed answers “I definitely would’ve voted no.”

And then there was the Governor’s plan to extend insurance to the uninsured, the so-called Medicade expansion.

“Well, I wasn’t there for it so I wasn’t there for the debate that take place,” answers Barrett.

“I was a yes vote,” said Abed. “Yes. And I’m proud of that cause it allowed more people to get medical coverage.”

Finally, what do they like about the other?

“I think my opponents a nice lady,” said Barrett. “My opponent had the exact same opportunity to serve our district and couldn’t pass a single legislative accomplishment at all.”

And Abed answers “He’s trying to be involved.”

But when told Barrett had said she got nothing passed into law while in the House, Abed responded with “I think that that’s so disingenuous. They were not going to let me pass one thing.”

We welcome thoughts and comments from our viewers. We ask that everyone keep their remarks civil and respectful. Postings that contain profanity, racist, or potentially libelous remarks will be deleted. We will delete any commercial postings, as well.

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