How I Differ From Other Candidates

I am a policy voter.  I want to know where candidates stand on issues.  I believe voters need a clear basis to make comparisons between candidates with respect to their issues positions. News media reports typically talk about candidates’ backgrounds without providing the details that voters may want for making comparisons.

For example, the most recent Detroit Free Press description (picked up and re-published by the Livingston Daily and the Lansing State Journal) of my race provided few details about the candidates’ policy positions:

    “[T]wo Democrats have filed to run: Chris Smith, a pro-labor     professor of public policy and law at Michigan State University’s     School of Criminal Justice, and Elissa Slotkin of Holly, who held     Defense Department appointments and worked in diplomatic and     intelligence agency postings for both Obama and former President     George W. Bush, also doing three tours in Iraq as a CIA analyst.

    Slotkin, in particular, has been generating buzz in Democratic     circles, outraising [incumbent Mike] Bishop in each of the last two     fund-raising quarters, while also saying she won’t take corporate     funding. She also has been attempting to strike a bipartisan balance,     saying at one point that if former U.S. Rep Mike Rogers—a     Republican from Howell who held the seat before Bishop and     chaired the Intelligence Committee—was still in the seat, she likely     wouldn’t have run.”

[Todd Spangler, “Races for Michigan’s 8th and 11th Districts Are Seats to Watch in the Midterm Elections,” Detroit Free Press, February 8, 2018]

I am a progressive Democrat.  There are no current or recent Republicans in Congress, including Mike Rogers, whose voting records are acceptable to me.   Rogers, for example, voted against the Affordable Care Act, against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, against same-sex marriage, and against EPA action to stop global warming—among many other votes against the interests of people in the 8th District.

I strongly encourage voters to look at the issue positions presented on all candidates’ websites.  Bear in mind that there are certain issues for which there is broad agreement among Democratic candidates—such as working to combat discrimination and enhancing fair electoral processes. There are other issues that generate agreement from Democrats AND Republicans (albeit with disagreements about funding): supporting programs and services for veterans; providing education and training for emerging technical jobs; investing in infrastructure; and addressing the abuse of opioid drugs.  

Presumably, choices about candidates will hinge on other issues for which candidates advocate differing positions.  In order to facilitate useful comparisons of differences, please compare my positions on the following issues with those of other candidates.  

Health Care

I advocate Medicare for All.  If we do not make Medicare for All our goal, we will not work toward this important objective. It is not adequate to simply revise the Affordable Care Act. We know from sad experience that the Republicans picked apart the ACA with lawsuits, governors prevented the expansion of Medicaid in several states, and the law always left several million Americans unprotected.  We need comprehensive, universal, single-payer health care that includes prescription coverage.

Net Neutrality and Internet Privacy

Congress must use every power that it has to reverse the Trump administration's elimination of net neutrality and internet privacy.


I advocate reversing the recent tax law in order to increase taxes on corporations and the wealthy.  Our country has serious needs—infrastructure, health care, environmental protection, education—that require an increase in revenue. At a moment of significant needs, it makes no sense to give a gigantic, deficit-expanding gift to corporations and the wealthy at the very moment when they are already being enriched by the inflated stock market.

Gun Safety

We need specific proposals to reduce the risk of horrifying mass murders in schools and public spaces. We need to: ensure background checks on all private gun sales; end sales to anyone under age 21; impose waiting periods before purchase; restrict sales to those with past violence or certain mental health issues; expand requirements for training, licensing, recordkeeping, and insurance policies—just as we do with automobiles; expand laws that would permit seizure of weapons from those who shows signs that they pose a danger to themselves or others; reduce the number of rounds that can be fired before reloading (limit magazine capacity); subject gun manufacturers and sellers to liability in lawsuits; require new personal identification technology that limits the usability of stolen weapons; limit the kinds of firearms available to the public; etc.  

I have taught classes on the Second Amendment for more than 30 years.  The legal definition of the Second Amendment is narrow. The barrier to creating new laws and regulations that reduce risks and advance safety is not the Second Amendment. It is the lack of will power and courage by current members of Congress.


As guardians of a substantial percentage of the world’s fresh water, we cannot take any chances with our protection of the Great Lakes.  There should be NO energy pipelines under the Great Lakes.  New rules and regulations will not adequately reduce risks. The fundamental lesson here is this: we must accelerate our development of and reliance upon renewable energy so that we can stop placing our water and land at risk with pipelines carrying oil and gas.


Education is the foundation of our national economy as well as individuals’ and families’ financial security. We must invest in education comprehensively, from preschool through higher education. We must also support public school teachers and end the scapegoating of teachers and their unions. They are the frontline public servants who confront the consequences of the country’s social problems—poverty, hunger, family conflicts, and mental illness—day after day with inadequate resources and support. We need to push for: universal pre-school education; free community college including technical training programs—as several states have done; expanded financial aid for low-income AND middle-class students at universities; and opportunities for students to be relieved of student loan debt, whether through public service, income-qualification programs, or bankruptcy.

Justice System Reform

We must intensify our efforts to address specific problems—many of which relate to our failure to eliminate discrimination by wealth status, race, and ethnicity.  No more privatization. Increased investigation and supervision of state and local justice system institutions by the U.S. Department of Justice. Increased funding for research to identify problems and test remedies. Investment in alternatives to incarceration, drug and mental health treatment, and reentry programs.

Legalize Personal Use of Marijuana

We have wasted too many lives and too much money with criminalization and sanctioning of a substance widely-used by Americans for medicinal purposes and the exercise of personal liberty. We certainly need regulations for public health, consumer protection, and public safety.  However, this should primarily be a regulatory matter about public health and removed from the realm of the justice system and criminal or civil sanctions.

     Paid for by Chris Smith for Michigan 

  Chris Smith for Michigan
  P.O. Box 4100 
  East Lansing, MI 48826