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October 10, 1994 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-10

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 10. 1994 - 5

Daily Staff Reporter
Meet Lynn Rivers, the Democratic candi-
date for Michigan's 13th congressional dis-
She was born in Au Gres, a small Michi-
gan town on the north side of Saginaw Bay.
Her parents were restaurateurs and, later, the
owners of The Bessinger Pickle Company.
She received a diploma from Au Gres High
School in 1975 and married Joe Rivers the
day after her graduation. By the age of 21, she
was the mother of two.
Now an Ann Arbor resident, she holds a
B.A. with honors in Biological Anthropology
from the University and a law degree from
Ayne State University. She served eight
ears on the Ann Arbor school board, includ-
ing three as president, and is in her first term
s a state representative.
The Ann Arbor News
ias called her "a tradi-
ional liberal." And her
ro-abortion rights stance,
ro-environmental voting
ecord and advocacy of
ay and lesbian rights sup-
ort that description..
But she also has voted
gainst higher property
axes for Michigan busi-
esses, supports truth-in-
entencing laws and a
three strikes and you're out" philosophy for
iolent criminals. She worries that the burden
f debt is preventing America from investing
n new business and other worthy "initia-
So Rivers takes issue with the label "The
Water Wonderland's High Priestess of Left-
wing Radicalism," a colorful moniker given
her by a conservative publication.
"They're talking about a short, fat mother
f two with three cats, a dog and an autoworker
usband with a pickup truck," she replied.
At 37, Rivers is sneaking up on middle age
t the same time she makes her first bid for the
U.S. Congress. She hopes to fill the seat being
vacated by Democrat Bill Ford, who is retir-
*ng after 30 years in Washington.
Rivers faces tough opposition from Re-
,ublican challenger John Schall, a former
abor Department chief of staff in the Bush
hite House. In an interview with the Daily,
chall called Rivers "ultra-liberal."

13th Congressional District

Here, then, are Rivers' positions on sev-
eral important issues, stated in her own words.
A similar profile of Schall will appear in the
Daily in coming days.
The Clinton Crime Bill:
"The strengths were more cops on the
street and I think the ban on assault weapons
was of great value. I think the coupling of
dollars for preventative activities with clear
punishment and clear protection issues is a
good thing, because that's a recognition that
you can't win that war on one front.
"The weaknesses? I think the police on the
street provision provides some difficulties
because there are some communities that
would like to take advantage of that, who will
not be able to meet the matching (funds)
obligation. In terms of other weaknesses ... I
don't think the Clinton administration did a
very good job of explaining and educating
people. And so in the end when the charges of
"pork, pork, pork" were being leveled, people
really were confused. Overall, I think it was a
good bill, and I would have voted for it. There
would be some things that I wouldn't like, but
they would be a trade-off for something else
I did like."
Other Crime Issues:
"The three strikes and you're out, I sup-
ported. I think I voted against it once, and then
voted for it later once it was limited to violent
crimes. And I voted for truth in sentencing so
that criminals, victims, judges, everyone
knows how long the sentence will be, and how
long the sentence will be, and how long the
perpetrator will be off the street. I voted for
enhanced sentencing for crimes committed
with guns. I voted for community policing -
I think it's a great program - and putting
more state troopers on the streets, and lots of
preventative programs, which I won't go into.
And the reason I stress that is that is also an
area where my opponent will say, 'Oooh,
she's so soft on crime."'
Health Care:
"What started out as a very desirable,
positive thing - which was to bring everyone
into the health care system, to make sure
everybody was getting the coverage they
needed, to bring down costs - got progres-

sively moreand more frightening, until people
are finally saying no more.
"I'm willing to support anything up to and
including some sort of modified Canadian
single-payer system. And when I say modi-
fied, I mean there are a lot of things about a
Canadian system that make a lot of people in
the United States very uncomfortable, and we
would have to change it significantly to work
for us. I think we have to have some sort of
system that would retain financial incentives
for research and development within the phar-
maceutical companies, and I think there are
things that we would have to do significantly
"But the message that I'm really trying to
convey is that I'm interested in seeing some
problem-solving done, and I'm willing to
accept just about anything. (I would like to
see) universal coverage, portability, univer-
sal affordability. I don't really care whether
we finance it through employer mandates, or
individual contributions. If we go to an em-
ployer mandate, we have to be very careful
that we're not pushing people, in an effort to
save people in the area of health care, out of
their jobs.
"What we want is we want to bring worker
production up, we want to have worker absen-
teeism go down.We want to see well-baby care
and preventative medicine in place so that we
don't have people presenting themselves at the
emergency room in a deteriorated state, where
it costs us a lot more to see them."
Higher Education:
"One of the other things Congress does is
fund research dollars, which is what runs this
University. So, having somebody in Wash-
ington who understands the needs of the Uni-
versity, who understands the value of the
research and development that goes on here.
not just in terms of teaching students, but to
industry, to the public at large is important.
"I think we made a tremendous step for-
ward when we went to direct student loans
this year, and U-M is one of the pilot programs
for that. (This will) save a lot of administra-
tive costs and interest ... and will bring down
the cost of getting a degree.
"I think that we need to increase the amount
ofgrant money available, particularly to some
professions. And I'll just pick one at random,
because it's an area I know fairly well: teach-

ing. Teachers are not necessarily well paid,
and for somebody to leave the University with
thousands and thousands of dollars in loans
outstanding, and the thought of trying to pay
it back on a starting salary of $21,000 or
$22,000, does not create a very desirable
Abortion Rights:
"(My position on choice) probably evolved
from having been a teenage mother, and liv-
ing through the difficulties we lived through
because of our decision to have a baby at 18.
And the decision was made after I was preg-
nant, not before. And I look back on that, and
it certainly worked out okay for me, but that is
not the sort of decision and the sort of experi-
ence that I would force on anybody.... I also
feel in general, there are decisions the govern-
ment just needs to stay out of. Choice is one of
them. Assisted suicide is one of them. What
people do in their bedroom is another.
"Policy-wise, I think choice is a real liabil-
ity for (John Schall), the fact that he is anti-
choice, And I think this is a district that values
that right very much."
The Environment:
"We're going to have to take personal
responsibility for the cliche 'Reduce, Reuse,
Recycle.' It's a fairly simple idea, but we
aren't very good at doing it. We produce an
inordinate amount of trash and solid waste. A

further thing we're going to have to do is
convince business, either through research
and development money as a carrot, or sanc-
tions as a stick, that they are going to have to
look at new technology that will illov tIhem to
if not eliminate, certainly lessen the amount
of toxic waste materials that they put into our
waste stream.
"I am extremely supportive of polluter-
pays laws."
The Budget Deficit:
"One of the things that has h appencd over
time is that as the deficit has grow n, a greater
portion of our GNP (Gross National Product)
is being taken up by debt service. And those
dollars, which are paying interest on the deht,
are not available to fund other initiatives within
our society.
"I'm not particularly supportive of the
balanced-budget amendment, because I think
it's very gimmicky. ... The only way it will
work is if we're willing to go in and make cuts
in Medicaid and Social Security ... There are
difficult things that are going to have to be
done, and we're going to have to address them
with or without the balanced-budget amend-
Ed. Note: This is the first in a series of
Daily candidate profiles previewing the 1994
Next in the series is Rivers' opponent,
Republican John Schall, who will be featured
later this week.

olpe call
ontinued from page 1
But Wolpe remained upbeat.
"As people begin to center in on the
ifferences between me and Engler'
q confident we'll see a shift in the
1A and that on election day we'll
me out on top," Wolpe said.
The talk after the debate centered
ound how much ground Wolpe had
make up and how quickly. The
ngler campaign was willing to con-
de Wolpe two points in the polls
sed on his performance.
"I don't think it's going to'be mea-
red in two-point nights, it's going to
edsured in four weeks," said Jim
atgolis, one of Wolpe's aides.
So the candidates prepared for four
ore weeks of sparing by hitting upon
ucation funding and crime, the two
sues that seem to be weighing heavi-
t on the minds of voters.
Wolpe suggested acap on adminis-
ative salaries to help make up the
hool funding shortfall predicted by
nie economists for 1995 based on
oposal A's funding formula.
Engler said Wolpe's premise was
1 wrong.
"Under the constitution, school
ndingis guaranteed. There is nodefi-
t," he said.
Engler advocated charter schools
d schools of choice as ways to im-
ove schools, reasoning that compe-
ion for top students would improve
';ic school teaching.
Wolpe said core curriculum stan-
rds was the way to go.
"In the Wolpe/Stabenow adminis-
ation, a diploma is going to mean
mething. We'll guarantee it by es-
blishing standards. We're not going
keep graduating people who don't
eet those standards," he said.
Debbie Stabenow, Wolpe's run-
ng mate, criticized Engler's idea as
aving the public school system out in
e cold.
"He has been willing to abandon

is education reform 'flawed' in 2d gubernatorial debate

public education. He's left the door
open to religious schools to receive
public dollars. Public funds may not
go to private schools," she said.
Engler agreed but said he would
look at plan submitted by other groups.
"I would not lead such an effort, I
would not be part of an effort," he
said. "It's a children's agenda - to
give children, parents, and teachers
He added similar plans have been
discussed and proposed by the White
House. "This has bipartisan support,"
Engler said. "The only opposition is
from the National Education Asso-
ciation." The NEA is the largest teach-
ers union in the country and its Michi-
gan branch has been one of the
governor's harshest critics.
Engler pointed to his record of tax
cuts and reforms of the last four years
as being a major force in Michigan's
"We're proud of what we've done
in the past four years. We want to
continue to create more good jobs by
cutting taxes and reforming welfare,"
he said. "In state government, our job
is to get costs under control. We've
done that. We've got a reputation that
our state means business, is a state
where you can do business."

we're on is not because of Engler,
but because of the recovery of the
auto industry and the national re-
covery," Wolpe said, adding that
this could be attributed to the na-
tional policies of President Clinton,
who will be coming to southeast
Michigan tomorrow.
Wolpe said that Proposal A's mix
of taxes to fund public education will
wind up sending an additional $400
million to Washington, because sales
tax is not deductible from federal tax
bills, but state income tax and prop-
erty taxes, which were both cut under
the plan, are not.
"That's money we're not going to
have here," he said.
But Engler noted that Wolpe was
in Congress when those funding for-
mulas were written.
"We've been moving up ever so
slightly" in federal money coming
back to the state, Engler said. "People
aren't going to be fooled. They've got
the money in their pockets."
The candidates also got into heated

exchanges about fighting crime and
the crime package signed into law in
"Laws don't prevent criminal be-
havior and they don't keep weapons
from falling into the wrong hands,"
Engler said. "The assault ban simply
doesn't get the job done."
But Wolpe brought up that Engler
had supported such a ban in previous
state of the State addresses.
"This is a governor downsizing
every juvenile detention center in the
state. He's cut police and attacked the
crime lab.
"I have laid out a 29 point agenda,"
Wolpe said of his crime-fighting plan.
"We have to be tough when locking
up felons. We've got to staff and train
our prison personnel properly and
work with the federal crime laws to

put 3400 cops on the streets."
Wolpe also wants to set up drug
courts for non-violent abusers, who
could either reform and get a job or go
to jail under his plan.
Engler continued to tout his plan
of tougher sentences and truth in sen-
tencing. He also said he would work
to eliminate parole for murderers and
"crackdown on liberal judges" men-
tioning one Lansing judge who has
crossed him numerous times, most
recently following the Ryan prison
break in August.
Judge James Giddings ruled
Engler's plan to put violent criminals
in uniforms would violate prisoners
privacy rights.

But Wolpe thought there were
larger forces at work.
"I think we understand the uptick

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