OU hosts Andy Levin, Haley Stevens for primary debate


Chris Estrada

Ahead of the primary election on August 7, representatives Stevens (left) and Levin (right) took to OU’s campus for a debate.

On Tuesday, May 24, Oakland University hosted a primary debate between Andy Levin and Haley Stevens, the incumbent democratic representatives for the 10th and 11th Districts, respectively.

The race between the pair has been controversial from the beginning, with Levin opting out of running for reelection in the 10th District to directly challenge Stevens in the 11th District. 

“I’m running [in the 11th District] because it’s my home,” Levin said. “It’s where my politics have always been based, and I’m super excited about it.”

The fierce debate covered a variety of topics important to Michigan voters – the representatives’ stances on each major issue are as follows. 

Gun Control

Stevens: “I’m in big favor of the background check bill. That is a great place to start, because it does prevent those who seek to do evil with weapons –– it does prevent them from getting access to weapons. I also think that red flag laws are a great place to start.”

Levin: “I support universal background checks. I support closing the Charleston Loophole. When we passed the bill to close the Charleston Loophole, it included my amendment to study the effect of that, because the people opposed to gun legislation have always been opposed to research to see what’s effective, so it was very important to me to have a research piece of that.

I support Emergency Risk Protection Orders –– or red flag laws. I support banning assault weapons. I support banning huge magazines.”

Student Loan Debt

Stevens: “I think we’ve got to expand financial aid. We could expand Pell, and not by [a] measly 1% or 2% amount. I think we’ve got to really look at a multitude range of coverage for Pell, and I’m on legislation to do that.

I also think we really need to attempt –– and I wanna do this on the Educational Labor Committee [and have] been talking with the chair about this –– we have got to do a deep dive over who is actually getting any financial aid. What I am witnessing as a representative is that not enough people are qualifying for it, and if you’re middle class, you’re just left out.”

Levin: “On a current basis of debt, I’m for forgiving $50,000 of student loan debt for every person who has it. I’m also very active in making college more affordable. I’m the author of the America’s College Promise Act that would provide two years of free Community College and a federal state partnership to every state that would pay a quarter of it, and also two years virtually free study at historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions. I’m also more broadly for lowering the cost of attending state universities like Oakland, too.”


Stevens: “You’ve seen me as a pro-choice democratic woman in a traditionally republican seat hold the line for all of us. I’m going to continue to do that. I am the candidate in this race to stand up for women’s rights, for pro-choice values and to make sure that we do not go backwards.

When my mother was a student at [OU] –– Roe was not enacted. Roe was not the law of the land. She does not want to see this go back. We do not want to see this go back, and we won’t.”

Levin: “I’ve been a backer of the Reproductive Rights for All petition drives since before it was launched. I’m very deeply involved in Michigan voices. I really applaud the Planned Parenthood of Michigan [lawsuit] which has – temporarily at least – blocked the implementation of our 1931 law that would criminalize abortion in this state.

I applaud the governor for leading on this, so we really have to take every approach to this. We’ve got to end the filibuster and keep fighting in Congress to make Roe V. Wade the statutory basis of rights in our country.” 

Eliminating the Filibuster 

Stevens: “It is time to eliminate the filibuster and make sure that we can get voting rights done so we can protect a woman’s right to choose and so we can pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act. I am sick of broken government institutions. One of the reasons why I want to get back to Congress so badly is I want to usher in reforms.” 

Levin: “In the 20th century we had contentious debate about so many things –– Medicare, Medicaid, The National Labor Relations Act, The Fair Labor Standards Act, all the architecture that we Democrats passed that the Republicans opposed –– not one of those things was ever filibustered.

Don’t tell me we need the filibuster. It wasn’t in the founding fathers’ original vision of the country. They specifically, in multiple federalist papers, talked about that it’s bad to have the idea of minority control of the Senate [and] Minority control over voting. The filibuster was always a bad idea and right now it’s a pants on fire crisis for our democracy. We’ve got to get rid of it.”

Expanding the Supreme Court 

Stevens: “I am all for reimagining the functionality of our institutions. […] If we can get to a place where we could see a more modern Supreme Court, I will review that legislation as I do all bills and sign on.”

Levin: “We should absolutely reform the Supreme Court. We should expand it. I think there are a lot of great ideas –– like what if each four-year term of president they got to select one member of the Supreme Court? That would take a lot of the vituperation out of it. It would become a standard practice.

Our justices are appointed for a lifetime, but that doesn’t mean they have to stay on the Supreme Court. They could rotate off and become [an] appellate judge or district judge.

We need to reform our Supreme Court. We should expand it, we should reform it in other ways, and I think we should have 18-year term limits. I think we could absolutely improve the Supreme Court.”


Stevens: “I proudly supported the Build Back Better legislation – which I’m still pushing for – that includes the prescription drug bill that I co-sponsored in the last Congress, and along with this, Congress, we need to get that done.

We certainly need to do what is achieved in Build Back Better, which is index the cost of daycare so that no middle class family is paying more than 7% of their income for daycare costs. We need to hold the rich and profiting corporations who are price gouging Americans accountable.”

Levin: In Congress, there are parts of Build Back Better that would really help with cutting costs for people, like no family paying more than 7% of their income for child care, universal pre-K [and] cutting [the cost of] prescription drugs.

We really have to go after lowering prices across the board. I have a specific bill that has really taken off that I’m very excited about to deal with supply chain issues called the GOT Truckers Act –– guaranteed overtime for truckers.” 


Stevens: “There are people here in Michigan who lose their job and can’t get access to coverage. There are people who are paying too much for healthcare, and it’s wrong. We need to get the public option.

We tried to get that done with the Affordable Care Act [ACA]. That very principle allows everyone to access Medicare, but doesn’t take away private insurance. […] I believe that if we get the public option, that will get more people access to healthcare, and that’s what I am pushing for.” 

Levin: “Yes, I favor a universal healthcare system, and at the same time I’m pragmatic progressive, so I write bills like the Stop Games Act and also fought very hard to expand Medicare coverage in Build Back Better, which we were able to do because of the progressive caucus, of which I’m the deputy whip, held out for it and demanded it.

We were able to expand ACA coverage also in the American Rescue Plan. We gotta do what we can for now, but if we don’t send someone to Washington with the vision of universal health care, we’ll never get it.” 

As the race heats up for the primary election on August 7, Levin and Stevens want to ensure that voters understand their deep commitment to their communities and objectives to move America’s progress forward. 

“It’s not a mystery why I’ve continued to beat the odds,” Stevens said. “I got to congress and I stayed because I listened –– and that is my commitment to you. I will always listen to you. My door will always be open to you, and I promise that I will continue to get things done for this country.”

Levin echoed similar sentiments in his closing statement. 

“Democracy is not about voting every two years,” he said. “If you let me, I’ll be coming to look for you to work month in and month out to make the fundamental changes this country needs to be the beautiful country and to create the beautiful, safe, clean, green [and] cool world that we need to leave our kids.”