Exclusive: 11th Congressional District Debate

As Democratic Congresswoman, Haley Stevens, prepares for the results that will come from this upcoming Election, she was given an opportunity on FOX 2's Let it Rip to debate with her Republican opponent, Eric Esshaki. 

During the exclusive debate with Charlie Langton, each politician presented their political views, with hopes of convincing voters to side with them when it comes to representing Michigan's 11th Congressional District - which includes cities like Troy, Novi, Plymouth and more. 

The first topic dealt with a national headline that promoted Stevens in a light that some may find controversial. Back in March during the House of Representatives' consideration for a  coronavirus stimulus package, the congress woman expressed her opinions on the pandemic in a passionate and loud way. 

"I rise before you, adorning these latex gloves," Stevens said. "Not for personal attention, not for personal attention, but to encourage you to take this disease seriously." 

During the debate, Stevens expressed how the motivation behind that speech came from people, such as teachers, parents and frontline workers, constantly calling her and discussing some of their struggles that stemmed from the pandemic. 

However, Esshaki found that to be no excuse and said her behavior was unnecessary. 

"What she calls a passionate speech, I call a political stunt," he said. "The reality of it is, anybody who works in the real world and in the private sector, they understand that you don't get things done by screaming or yelling. We need people to understand how the real world works and not play political stunts." 

Stevens said she would not have called a passionate speech a "stunt" and she doesn't regret it, even though there were ethical complaints filed against her. 

"You can't apologize for standing up for your folks," she said. "And look, out of the CARES Act, I got $2 million to help small businesses."

Moving forward to coronavirus, both politicians were asked to provide President Trump with a letter grade on how he handled the virus. 
Esshaki answered by explaining how he feels the government, locally and federally, failed on this because he believes a lot of times politicians like to "play politics" instead of actually dealing with the issue. He said if he gets elected, he has specific plans, on the congress level, that he will put in place. 

"Making sure the funding is there for senior citizens, for our assistant living," Esshaki said. "We need to make sure we have logistics in place to make sure these folks can safely stay home. We also need make sure the rest of us are practicing necessary precautions."

While she heard out his plans, Stevens disagreed with Esshaki's statement about local leaders not doing enough during this pandemic. Stevens expressed how since the beginning of the pandemic, she worked to have a bill passed to help with a vaccine and she constantly evaluated the resources that everyone needs to survive. 

The two also talked about Dr. Anthony Fauci and his performance. While Stevens believed he has handled the coronavirus pretty well, Esshaki said he was inconsistent with the data he's made public. 

"Yeah, I think he's one authority, absolutely," Esshaki said, "But, there are many authorities and we had a lot of conflicting data early on, and that's continued throughout this pandemic. We need people to get on the same page, and stop playing politics with this issue."

Speaking of health, Stevens made it clear that the Affordable Care Act has been one of her top priorities while in office. 

"My plan is to protect and improve the ACA," she said. "Lower the cost of prescription drugs, make sure that people aren't surprised with medical bills and get rid of junk insurance plans. I am for my people." 

Esshaki said he has no problem keeping Obamacare, if there is no other insurance plan in place. 

Lastly, while talking about partisan politics, both were asked to present one thing that they disagree with their party on. Esshaki mentioned America's $26 trillion debt and Stevens talked about The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). She wished the Democratic party moved a little faster when dealing the agreement. 

During closing speeches, both politicians encouraged everyone to get out and vote. To find out more information about voting, click here.