2020 Michigan Senate Candidate Guide

John James (Republican)
John James (Republican)
Gary Peters (Democrat - Incumbent)
Gary Peters (Democrat - Incumbent)

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AFFORDABLE CARE ACT –Support Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare?

James – Unclear. Called ACA a “monstrosity” in 2018, favoring a “market-based, patient-centered” approach. Now wants to fix “broken” parts of ACA, with pre-existing condition protection.

Peters – Yes. “We should be thinking about what we need to do to improve the Affordable Care Act while celebrating what actually works.”

CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Require political ads to disclose their largest funders?

James – No position found.

Peters – Yes. Co-sponsored the Campaign Disclosure Parity Act of 2018 and two 2015 measures to reverse the impacts of Citizens United.

CLIMATE CHANGE – Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat?

James – No position found.

Peters – Yes. “Climate change, caused in large part by humans, is a threat to Michigan, our Great Lakes, our country and our planet.”

CLIMATE CHANGE – Support government subsidies for renewable energy?

James – Unclear. Is supported by Restoration PAC, which is critical of renewable energy efforts.

Peters – Yes. Co-sponsored the Clean Energy for America Act, providing tax credits aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

CONTRACEPTION – Require health plans to cover birth control?

James – No position found.

Peters – Yes. Would prevent for-profit employers from being able to deny female employees contraception coverage.

COURTS – Pick Ruth Bader Ginsburg replacement now or let November winner choose? See CEEP Supreme Court guide.

James – No position given on timing of nomination hearings or a confirmation vote.

Peters – “Voters should have their voices heard, and there should not be a Supreme Court nomination until the next presidential term begins.”

COVID-19 – Support Trump administration’s COVID response?

James – Yes. Said Trump has “done everything that he has thought was best” in a national COVID response. Says Peters as a senator hasn’t done enough.

Peters – No. Administration was “far too slow” in expanding access to testing and personal protective equipment. Opposed Trump decision to cut WHO funding. Introduced legislation to expand access to free testing.

EDUCATION – Use public funding to send children to private schools?

James – Yes. Would let parents “use their tax dollars to send their children to the best schools, whether they are public or private.”

Peters – No. “Voucher programs rob [children in public schools] of the resources they need to receive a high-quality education near where they live.”

FOREIGN POLICY – Support administration tariffs on steel and other products?

James – Yes. “I support free, but fair, trade.” Calls Trump “a master negotiator.”

Peters – Mixed. Supported tariffs on foreign cherries and foreign-made washing machines. Opposed proposed tariffs on Mexican goods.

GUN LAWS – Enact more restrictive legislation on guns?

James – Unclear. In 2018 strongly opposed all gun control. More recently says he is open to discussion on background checks.

Peters – Yes. Called for “common-sense gun safety … at a minimum … comprehensive background checks.”

IMMIGRATION – Support “DACA” offering work permits to participants brought to U.S. as children?

James – Unclear. Said “We’re putting DREAMers in a terrible position,” but has not expressed support for DACA.

Peters – Yes. “The DACA program has helped provide relief to thousands of hardworking young people” brought to this country as children.

IMMIGRATION – Support border walls and reduced immigration by limiting visas and asylum?

James – Unclear. “There are some areas where a wall or fence may be the best solution, but I would leave that to the boots on the ground, Homeland Security.”

Peters – No. Opposed redirecting funds from already allocated programs to pay for a border wall. Cites difficulties farmers face in getting work visas for seasonal workers.

IMPEACHMENT – Supported U.S. Senate calling witnesses and voting to convict President Donald Trump?

James – No. “This impeachment is not about the rule of law, it is about revenge.” Has said that he supports Trump “2000 percent.”

Peters – Yes. Voted first to call witnesses and then to convict Trump on both articles of impeachment. “The president violated his oath of office and betrayed the public trust.”

IRAN – Oppose military attacks on Iran without congressional approval?

James – No position found. Campaign did not respond to request for comment on House resolution requiring congressional approval to attack Iran.

Peters – Yes. “The American people deserve to hear from the Administration on whether military action is necessary and if we have exhausted all diplomatic options.”

LABOR – Support “right to work” laws, prohibiting unions from mandating dues for workers they represent?

James – No position found.

Peters – No. Said anti-union laws would “harm working-class families in the state of Michigan.” Co-sponsored legislation to ban right-to-work laws.

LEGAL ABORTION – Keep legal or ban?

James – Ban. Calls abortion “genocide.” Would make an exception to save the life of the mother, but not for rape or incest.

Peters – Legal. Co-sponsored 2019 Women’s Health Protection Act that would protect access to abortion.

LGBT RIGHTS – Support LGBTQ Rights?

James – Unclear. Has said employers shouldn’t be able to fire someone for being gay.

Peters – Yes. In 2015, supported Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality.

MARIJUANA – Decriminalize or legalize?

James – No. Said would vote no on 2018 state proposal to legalize recreational marijuana but would “respect the will of the voters.”

Peters – Yes. Says “when it is legalized, it is regulated and it is taxed and it helps with paying for public services like public education …”

MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25?

James – Unclear. Criticized increase of minimum wage to $15 an hour. No position found on a smaller increase.

Peters – Yes. In 2019 co-sponsored the Raise the Wage Act, to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD – Support Planned Parenthood receiving public funds for non-abortion care?

James – Unclear. Supports defunding Planned Parenthood, according to Right to Life of Michigan.

Peters – Yes. Planned Parenthood “provides important health services to 2.7 million women, men and young people in Michigan.”

POLICE/COMMUNITY ISSUES – Restrict police use of force and increase public oversight?

James – Unclear. Supports more police training and recruitment of diverse officers; called proposals to defund police “insane.”

Peters – Yes. Co-sponsored bills that would reform policing, ban chokeholds, improve officer training and increase accountability.

TAXES – Support administration’s $1.9 trillion (2017) tax cuts?

James – Yes. “This is real money for real people. … Donald Trump is delivering on his promises.”

Peters – No. “It is wildly irresponsible to pile on this debt to finance a tax break for the wealthiest people in this nation.”

VOTING RIGHTS – Strict ID and other rules to combat possible fraud, even if limit access?

James – No position found.

Peters – No. Co-sponsored Senate version of H.R. 1, election reform legislation that prioritized expanding voting access.

Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org offer guides to local races.