Decision 2006: Rogers, Marcinkowski Talk Jobs, Iraq, Healthcare

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

Jobs: It's the number one issue concerning mid-Michigan voters, according to both candidates for the 8th District.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R - Mich.) says he has a plan to help the big three automakers.

"To try to make sure we crack down on China ... [which is] really stealing our jobs by counterfeiting auto parts," Rogers said.

The incumbent Republican says he'd also like to see the federal government support more ethanol production in Michigan.

Democratic challenger Jim Marcinkowski says the problems with Michigan's economy lie with free trade agreements.

"We're just exporting our jobs. We're exporting our standard of living," he said. "We're going to have to make these Free Trade Agreements fair trade agreements."

On the war in Iraq, Marcinkowski, a former CIA agent, advocates setting a date to begin bringing U.S. troops home.

"Unless we set a timetable, unless we set benchmarks, the Iraqi people will not be sent the message that they really have to strive to determine what their future looks like," Marcinkowski said.

Rogers, himself a former FBI agent, says troops should come home only after Iraqi can do the job. He says American generals will likely release a plan to do that next week.

"They're talking about drawdown numbers of the next 12 to 18 months," Rogers said.

The congressman says he hears plenty of problems on the healthcare front, but he says universal health care isn't the solution.

"I think that would be a disaster for efficiency, and access and quality in healthcare," Rogers said.

Instead, the Brighton Republican suggests taking the sickest Americans out of the regular insurance system, potentially keeping costs down for everyone else. Marcinkowski, from Lake Orion, takes the opposite view.

"We need universal healthcare for everyone in the U.S. I think healthcare is a right," he said.

Marcinkowski says he'd like to see a system where the government partners with companies and insurance carriers to provide coverage.

The candidates do share some common ground on immigration. Both told us border security should be the first priority. And both want businesses penalized for hiring illegal workers.

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