Democratic gubernatorial candidates debate

posted by WOOD TV -

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Democratic candidates met Wednesday night at WOOD TV8's Grand Rapids studio to talk about the issues Michigan faces as it prepares to choose a new governor.

CLOSING STATEMENTS

Thanedar promised to improve education, create skilled labor jobs, shut down Line 5, fix roads and get more people health care. "I want to be the change agent, and I need your vote on August 7th."

Whitmer said she's compelled to run for governor to solve problems and that she has no patience for politics rather than solutions. She says she has a plan to make change. "Let's get it done," she said.

El-Sayed said he wants to be governor to improve the lives of children, including his baby daughter. "We deserve a Michigan where ... kids have the best access to the most dignified life," he said.

THE OPIOID CRISIS

El-Sayed said that the system has devastated mental health care to the point that it can't handle the opioid crisis and that must be rectified. He added that more people should be equipped with Narcan, which administers an overdose reversal drug. He said prescription guidelines should be strengthened. He said pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for irresponsible marketing.

Thanedar said pill mills need to be shut down and urged holding corporations being held accountable. "This is not a law enforcement issue, this is a health care issue," he said.

Whitmer said she has a plan to combat the crisis, starting by declaring a state of emergency to access federal resources. "Addiction is not a moral failing, addiction is a disease," she said, and the state must give users the resources they need to break the drug's hold. She blamed former Gov. John Engler, a Republican, for devastating the mental health system.

FULL STORY: WOOD TV

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