Whitmer and Dixon clash in final gubernatorial debate at OU


Photo courtesy of Robin Buckson- The Detroit News

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican challenger Tudor Dixon shake hands before the final gubernatorial debate at Oakland University.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Republican challenger Tudor Dixon clashed in their final debate before Election Day, covering a variety of topics important to Michigan voters.

The candidates’ stances on each major issue are as follows:

Proposal Three

Whitmer: “Proposal three is absolutely necessary to preserve the rights we’ve had for 49 years under Roe V. Wade. When the Supreme Court decided to upend it and overrule Roe, Michigan was poised to revert back to a 1931 law that makes abortion a felony. No exceptions for rape or incest, throwing doctors and nurses in jail.

“The only reason it’s not in effect right now is because of my lawsuit. We have an opportunity to enshrine Roe into law by supporting ballot initiative three.” 

Dixon:  “There will be no legislating around Proposal 3 because it will be language in the constitution, so we can’t put those protections that we’ve had for all of these years back in place that we’ve had for all of these years. When Governor Whitmer tells you that it’s going to be Roe, it’s not even close to Roe. It’s not codifying Roe in our constitution, but it would be the most radical abortion law in the entire country.”


Whitmer:  “We know that there is global inflation. It is not unique to Michigan, it is not unique to the United States. The governor cannot fix global inflation, but what I can do is put more money in your pockets. And that’s exactly what we’ve done.

“We got working in a bipartisan way with a Republican legislature. We were able to help 150,000 families get free or low cost daycare — money in the pocket. We were able to expand opportunities to have the state pick up a third of the cost of daycare for working families. And we also have put 170,000 Michiganders on the path to tuition-free skills. That’s how we keep money in the pocket.

“I put our fiscal house in order by paying down debt. We’ve got our credit rating upgraded, and that’s how we can eliminate the retirement tax, triple the earned income tax credit and pause the sales tax on gas. All proposals I’ve made that are sitting in front of the legislature.” 

Dixon: “I would put money back in your pockets. I would make sure that we have a child tax credit. I would make sure that we reduce the income tax, and I would make sure that our seniors who are on a fixed income are not receiving more taxes than they should and we can put more money back in their pockets.”

Energy Costs

Whitmer: “Building out energy alternatives is really important to giving you alternatives to help bring down the cost of energy. That’s why we’ve really diversified and are continuing to do work in our portfolio. More wind or solar.

“Right now, Michigan has the number one state for clean energy jobs in the country because we are focused on building out alternatives, ensuring our energy independence, protecting you from spikes and protecting our Great Lakes. It’s not one or the other — we must do all of it.”

Dixon: “I think it’s important to talk about Line 5 because we know that there’s a lawsuit right now that Governor Whitmer would like to shut down Line 5 in the state of Michigan. That would be catastrophic and raise our energy costs. We have people that are having trouble heating their homes and we know that Line 5 provides 65% of the propane in the Upper Peninsula, 55% in the Lower Peninsula and the jet fuel for the Detroit airport.

“It’s very crucial that we do everything we can to lower costs. Another way to lower energy would have been to pass a gas tax holiday so that people don’t have to pay as much on their gas bill when they fill up their car. We need to make sure that we do everything possible in the state of Michigan to lower the cost of energy for our people. 

Retirement Tax

Whitmer: “I am trying to repeal the retirement tax. The thing standing in my way is the Republican legislature in Lansing. I have done a lot of work with them, but they are standing in the way of us repealing this. I want to give tax when you’re on fixed incomes.”

Dixon: “I feel it’s very important that we make sure the money goes back into the pockets of all retirees in the state of Michigan, especially as we head into a recession. We’ve already seeing this massive inflation because of the Biden-Whitmer policies. The recession is right at our doorstep, and I want to make sure that we get as much money back to our retirees as possible.”


Whitmer: “We got the biggest investment in public education in a bipartisan way to support teachers, to bring down class sizes, to wrap our kids with supports like mental health support, tutors and literacy coaches, making class sizes smaller. This is how we improve outcomes.”

Dixon: “Not only do we want to make sure that parents are involved in education, but we want to make sure that our kids are back on track from the pandemic. Most states that has schools out as long as Michigan — which there are very few so close, as long as the state of Michigan had students out of school — have had comprehensive tutoring programs going to their schools.

“The governor has talked about literacy coaches going into our schools. I haven’t found any schools that have literacy coaches yet, but I want to have a comprehensive 25-hour tutoring program for every student across the state to make sure that they get back on track from the years of online learning that they had to endure under this governor’s policies.”

Gun Control

Whitmer: “It’s time to try proven policies. Background checks, secure storage (and) red-flag laws. I’m not talking about hunting — I’m just trying to keep our kids and communities safe. Ask yourself who’s going to keep your kids safe — the former prosecutor with plans, or the candidate with thoughts and prayers?”

Dixon: “Our state police came out with a safe schools plan in 2018 to harden our schools. I would like to have armed security at our schools. I would like to make sure that we have a one entry point. I would also like to implement some of that plan that talks about how to identify a child that struggles with mental health that might considering self-harm, or harming someone else.”

Book Bans

Whitmer: “As a public school parent, I know that we have rights to understand the curriculum (and) the materials to opt children out if we think that it doesn’t keep in line with our desires in terms of what they’re learning. Also, parents can attend parent teacher conferences (and) take part in the debate that is happening. These are happening at the local level, where they should be so the parents can be involved.

“We also have a duty to make sure that all children feel accepted and safe and can learn and play when they are in school. I reject the false choice that it has to be one or the other.”

Dixon: “If you have material in your school that is something that you can’t read to a child at a bus stop because you would be arrested because it is pornographic, then it should not be in our classrooms. What these parents are talking about are not textbooks that help children learn about themselves — these are books that are describing to children how to have sex, and parents are outraged by it across the state. I stand with those parents that want to make sure we go back to the basics of reading, writing and math in our schools.”

Michigan Roads

Whitmer: “Let’s be clear: we are addressing decades of disinvestment. We’ve already rebuilt 13,000 lane miles. 900 bridges. There are orange cones and barrels all over the state because we are fixing the roads. The fact of the matter is, this is a huge issue for our economy, our personal safety.

“It’s so crucial that we continue this work, but it’s all in jeopardy. As we think about ‘what’s Michigan going to look like for 8-12 years down the road?’ — we have to have solid infrastructure.”

Dixon: “We will make sure that there actually is a plan for the roads. [Whitmer] told on the debate stage four years ago and said that she had a plan — but let’s remember that there was no plan. The plan was to raise the gas tax by $0.45 a gallon, and you would be paying $5 a gallon for gas right now. That obviously didn’t work.”

No Fault Auto Insurance 

Whitmer: “Michigan has had historically the highest insurance rates in the country. I worked with the Republicans in the legislature to give Michigan residents some choices, give consumers the ability to pick what level of insurance they want, like happens in other states. Now, people can make that choice and we’ve seen rates come down. We also know that this has helped drivers drive insured where people weren’t buying the insurance previously.

“There also is a group of people who have been injured, especially those pre this law. We need to ensure they get the care they contracted for at the rate so that they can actually get those services.

“There’s been a lawsuit. We know that this case is still in front of the court, but I’ve been trying to reach out to the legislature (to) help make sure that we address those rates and ensure that rates are being paid on time.”

Dixon: “I agree that we had insurance rates that were way too high and that we had people in Detroit that couldn’t even get insurance for their car. They were paying thousands of dollars just to drive every month — that was devastating. Sometimes legislation has unintended consequences. We’ve seen that with this legislation.”


Whitmer: “There’s no question that we have got an opioid crisis in this country. It was a greedy pharmaceutical company that buffaloed the people of this country and has created a lot of addicts. That’s why the resources that we are putting into addiction treatment, the resources that we are putting into ensuring more people have access to health care — it’s so incredibly important. This is a space where we’ve got more good work to do, but we are making progress.”

Dixon: “We‘ve seen a massive increase in overdoses. 2021 was the highest number we’ve ever seen, and we can directly correlate this to the Whiter-Biden policies of having an open border. We know that drugs are pouring across our country every day.

“We’ve seen overdoses rise since this administration took office. It’s been devastating. That’s why I’ve presented my safe state plan to put a billion new dollars into policing to make sure we have enough police on the streets.”

COVID Vaccine Mandates for Children

Whitmer: “No, I do not support requiring the COVID vaccine for children.”

Dixon: “This is a parent’s decision. There will never be a mandate for a COVID-19 vaccine for children to go to school in a Dixon administration.”

The debate was broadcasted by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 from Oakland University, and can be viewed in its entirety here.