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Felicia Brabec celebrates win in newly-drawn 33rd House district

Felicia Brabec
Michigan House Democrats
Felicia Brabec


David Fair: This is 89 one WEMU, and I'm David Fair on a post-election Wednesday morning. Redistricting changed the boundaries of how Washtenaw County is represented in Lansing. Up until this election cycle, there were four state representative districts entirely contained within the county borders. Now there are seven, some of which extend beyond Washtenaw County. Felicia Brabec is a Pittsfield Township Democrat currently representing the 15th State House District. She's won a race over Republican Robert Borer III and, come January, will represent the new 33rd state House district. Thank you for joining us after a long campaign and a long night.

Felicia Brabec:Good morning, David. How are you?

David Fair: I am well and happy to talk with you. I am curious, though. I was not along with you as you went out and made the campaign rounds knocking on doors. I'm curious as to what you may have learned about those you represent by campaigning in a district that has some different borders than what you currently represent.

Felicia Brabec: Right. So, I think the opportunities for the new 33rd are really exciting, like being able to meet new folks, meet new residents, be able to engage with new communities. And the opportunities are just really endless. And so, continuing to hear about mental health, education, economic development, and those things, in addition to some of the bigger national issues--women's reproductive rights--continue to come up for us with those new residents.

David Fair: So will the lessons learned, will the feedback that you have received from those you engaged with throughout the campaign, will that change in any way the manner in which you advocate for or represent the 33rd District?

Felicia Brabec: I mean, I think, for me, the really important things, David, are continuing to understand what communities need, continuing to understand what's on the residents' minds, continuing to be able to work in all the ways necessary to be able to get results for residents. And those things won't change.

David Fair: Many contend democracy itself is in an existential crisis. And this election cycle and then the 2024 presidential election cycle may determine its fate. How do you see it?

Felicia Brabec: I mean, one of the things that I think is just so clear is, you know, trusting in our democratic system and trusting in the voters who study the issues, who study the candidates, who, you know, take that time to really learn about and invest in our democracy and then trusting those results, you know, trusting that fair and impartial elections. And, you know, I think that, you know, what we have seen is that happened, again, another election where that has happened. And I think that that will continue to happen.

David Fair: This is 89 one WEMU. We're talking with the winner of the 33rd District State House race. Democrat Felicia Brabec ran as an incumbent, though, redistricting moves her from the 55th to the 33rd state House district. Now, you've touched on it, but there were three questions put before Michigan voters in a statewide manner yesterday. Proposal one modifying implementation of legislative term limits and requiring certain financial disclosures for state elective offices. Proposal two adding several voting and elections provisions to the Constitution. And Proposal three establishing that explicit right to reproductive freedom. I know you supported all three of these measures. Do you anticipate legal challenges to any or all of them?

Felicia Brabec: I do think that that will happen. But what I also know is that the people of our state have spoken overwhelmingly. And so, I do anticipate that that will happen. But, I think the will of the people has been spoken loudly and clearly. And so, I hope that that will also be ceded.

David Fair: Election integrity. It's words we shouldn't take lightly, but it's repeatedly been called into question. At the national and perhaps state level, too, there will likely be challenges to the validity of outcomes or candidate races. Do you see a path back to the place where the voting public accepts election outcomes?

Felicia Brabec: Well, I guess that's always the point. I know for my colleagues and I, as Democrats, you know, we have continued to assert that our elections are fair, that our the clerks who are diligently running those elections, you know, are doing what they need to do to ensure that those elections run smoothly, run fairly, run securely. And my hope is that as folks continue to hear that message and know that that is the truth, that will become, again, the norm. You know, that used to be the norm. And, you know, we even had, during the last presidential election, you know, our Republican Senate affirmed that, here in Michigan, that there was no fraud in the election in terms of the validity of it, and that the results should be certified. That's important. That is important. And I think that our clerks work very hard to ensure that that continues to be the case.

David Fair: We're talking with 33rd district state House district winner Felicia Brabec on 89 one WEMU. The incumbent Democrat defeated Republican Robert Borer III of Saline and will serve another two year term in Lansing. Well, as you now begin the preparations for those next two years....

Felicia Brabec: Mm hmm.

David Fair: Are you going to define your priorities as you have leading up to this point?

Felicia Brabec: Mm hmm. Yeah. I think one of the most amazing things, David, is, you know, one of the most remarkable things is the Democrats are now in the majority. And that means that the playing field is very different. That means that the the issues that are important to us, those democratic values, whether that is addressing climate change, addressing mental health interest in gun safety, continuing to address education, addressing labor, you know, our work with labor partners. Those things all matter. And now there's a clear path to be able to push that sort of a democratic agenda.

David Fair: When we talk about now we're in Democratic control, it kind of still allows for the chasm that exists between the parties. Bipartisanship has become increasingly difficult on the matter of those priorities that you just outlined. Where do you see the best opportunity to achieve a meeting of the political party minds and be inclusive?

Felicia Brabec: Mm hmm. I mean, I think that that has been, for me, one of the things that I have tried to keep in mind that relationships are important. That being able to work together, either when there is party affiliation difference is really important. And we can find those places. Again, this is a representative government that we get to serve in. And so, there are, you know, there are representatives who have different values that they bring to this work. And I think that they need to be valued. And we find the places. And when we look at that Venn diagram and the overlap of where we can work with folks, particularly across aisles, we do that. We lean into that, and we figure out how to make those things work, again, for our residents.

David Fair: We're at 40-year highs when it comes to inflation. The national debt is spiraling out of control. Personal debt is difficult. How do you see best addressing these issues without further impacting future generations with unsustainable debt?

Felicia Brabec: Yeah. So, two of the things right away, David, that I think about that I know that we have tried to push, again, our democratic values are the earned income tax credit and relief from the pension tax that we have--that got put into place. And I think, to me, those are two things. One. That helps working families. And two. That helps us continue to honor the promise that we made when folks retired, that would be the money that they would receive from their pension. And I think that part of what we have done with that pension tax cut, when it was put into place, is, you know, we've taken back a promise. You know, folks counted on that money that they knew that they were going to be making in retirement. And so, I think those are two really tangible things that we would be able to do for folks.

David Fair: Again, congratulations on your win, and thank you for the time today.

Felicia Brabec: Oh, thanks, David. Good morning to everyone again. And it's a good day to be here.

David Fair: [00:09:16] This is 89 one WEMU FM Ypsilanti.

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Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
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