Democratic candidate Matt Morgan, who is running to challenge Jack Bergman, a.k.a. Absent Jack, for US Representative for Michigan’s First District, spoke to members of Indivisible Traverse City and interested citizens on Sunday at the Workshop Brewery. He opened by saying, “the Resistance matters!”
Matt and his wife Angie, met while they were both serving in the US Marine Corp. He was there to witness the transition from the Bush to the Obama administration and knows what a coherent transition looks like. He remembers that Obama asked as he was leaving, for all of us to continue to believe, and to ask ourselves what we can do to continue to serve our country. He has taken this admonition to heart as he contemplated running for Representative of the First District. What he feels matters most are working families.
As he has traveled the First District he encounters families living from paycheck to paycheck, without emergency backup funds to see that a car gets fixed, and God forbid if a child gets sick at the same time. These are the people who were most taken in by the false promises of Trump and the Republican party who gave them the hope that they would bring back industrial era jobs. They can’t do it, and these people who voted against their own best economic interests are being left high and dry. According to Matt real wages have not grown since the Nixon administration. We need to support these families with education, healthcare, and new sector economy jobs.
On the subject of mandatory minimum prison sentences, Matt feels that judges must be empowered to use their experience and discretion in assigning sentences they deem appropriate. He is also opposed to privatizing the prison system as we have seen the mismanagement occurring when prisons are run for profit. We must pressure the Congress to redress this problem as at the moment judges must abide by these egregious laws.
Wage inequality is a huge problem in our country right now. Matt feels education is a huge factor in rectifying this situation where the ordinary worker has not seen a real wage increase since 1976, but the top 5% of income earners have seen their incomes skyrocket. We need more career, technical education that would include teacher academies, as well as trades that do not require a four-year degrees. If we lower the tax rates corporations pay from the present 35% to say, 27%, then we must have a system that ensures they pay that rate. We need a well-trained workforce for our modern economy, good infrastructure and we must have high speed business broadband here in the First District to grow our economy.
Along the lines of education, Matt feels that charter and private schools must be subject to the same government oversight that public schools are. Some are well run, as we have experienced here in TC, some are not. We have allowed teaching to decline and must restore it to a “calling” as it once was considered. We have allowed state legislators to accomplish this decline by enacting Right to Work laws. We must transform public education from training for the old industrial economy to support workers for modern 21st century jobs that will need to be filled. In addition, Matt supports the drive for a $15 an hour living wage, but how we implement that will be important so that small business owners are not adversely impacted. The Department of Education must empower the states to curb the abuse of finances and regulate private schools.
Matt says he is aware that some people feel a candidate cannot win in the First District unless they become a member of the NRA and are Pro Life. He feels no one can fault him on guns as he has been involved with guns his entire military career in a non-sporting role. He believes that women must have control over their own bodies and the decision to have an abortion is between her and her doctor. Along those lines, he has been advised to attend women’s groups and talk to women.
Regarding our military involvement in Afghanistan, Matt feels we must have an “end game” in sight, which the Trump administration has not demanded. On a personal level, he does not want to see his son having to fight in the same wars that he did while he served. That he does not support private contracting of military services where we have seen way too much corruption and abuse of native populations. If we can’t engage militarily with what we have, then we should not get involved.
As to the overall healthcare issue, he supports Medicare For All as the long-term goal. In the meantime, we need to make the ACA work, guarantee that subsidies continue, and get drug prices under control. He always visits local hospitals on his tours. Twenty-five percent of Munson Medical costs, for example, go to paying for drugs. Medicare should be lowered to age 55 as a first step on the way to achieving a single payer healthcare system.
Matt closed by saying Line Five must be shut down. He asks every candidate for governor he speaks with two questions: where they stand on public education and on shutting down Line Five. Bill Schutte can shut it down tomorrow, but knows that Enbridge will sue the state. Schutte wants to put that off as long as possible as he knows it will not be politically expedient, and he wants to be governor of the state of Michigan.