George Franklin says a new tone and new direction are needed in Washington, and says he is someone who can make a difference in Congress. Franklin is one of six Democrats running in Southwest Michigan’s 6th Congressional district.
The winner of the August primary will challenge Republican Congressman Fred Upton in the fall. Franklin says people just want a fair shot, and he says he wants to make sure everyone gets that. The former Kellogg executive and one-time Western Michigan University trustee says that inspired him to get in the race. Franklin discussed issues and politics with WMUK’s Gordon Evans.
Franklin says it is “sheer madness” that a “19 year old kid” can buy a semi-automatic weapon. He says someone need to stand up because Republicans are just “lapdogs for the NRA.” Franklin says he favors banning assault weapons, and a “red flag” provision for people who are mentally disturbed and shouldn’t have guns. He also says “domestic abuse loopholes” should be closed. Franklin says definition of who is covered by domestic abuse provisions needs to be modernized.
Investment in infrastructure is part of Franklin’s plan for jobs and the economy. But he says the tax cut signed into law by President Trump will benefit the wealthy while taking away money that could be spent on infrastructure. Franklin says there are other options like public private partnerships, but he says they don’t have a great track record, and are more expensive. He says that leaves reprioritizing spending. Franklin says he would look at defense since the military has already reported on waste in their budget.
Franklin says people in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, should stay here and become citizens with a few conditions. Franklin says it’s almost inhumane to send them back to countries that in some cases they never really lived in. He says while the U.S. needs secure borders, a wall isn’t the answer. Franklin says he won’t vote for any bill that has contains funding for a wall.
Asked about the current campaign finance system, Franklin says it should be scrapped to “start over again.” He says the most recent campaign finance law was passed after Watergate. Franklin says new laws and court decisions have led to a “monstrosity.” He says it’s possible to curtail the influence of interest groups and not violate first amendment.
Franklin is one of two candidates in the 6th Congressional District race to bring in over $300,000 according the latest campaign finance reports. Asked if there is too much money in the race, Franklin says there is too much money in every congressional race. Franklin says he is raising money needed to win, but says it’s not healthy.
As a donor, Franklin has contributed money to many federal and state lawmakers, including Fred Upton the man he would like to defeat in November. Franklin said making a contribution doesn’t mean you agree with everything a lawmaker does. He says those donations were made as an advocate for different groups that he represented in Washington.
Franklin doesn’t run from the label of lobbyist, and says he’s proud of the work he did for Kellogg and other clients. He says that includes saving jobs, and securing money for cancer centers, and treating mental illness. Franklin says it’s important for Democrats to flip enough seats to get a majority in the House. Bur Franklin says Democrats need to give people a candidate they can go to. He says the 6th district still leans Republican so the Democratic candidate will have to be someone moderate Republicans and Independents are comfortable with.
Discussion of other issues can be heard in the web version of the interview.
Franklin says he is for universal health care coverage. He says the quickest way is to begin by improving Obamacare. Franklin says that includes reinstating the individual mandate. For the long-term Franklin says he is open to a single payer system or a public option.
Franklin says farmers are hurting. He says he would work to bolster exports. Franklin says that includes getting tariffs reduced and expanding foreign markets, while keeping safeguards for farmers.
Franklin calls for attacking climate change at its root. He says the country needs to move away from fossil fuels to alternative energy as fast as possible. Franklin says pro-environmental law is also pro-business.