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Thursday, June 5,2014

Middle of the road

Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing pushes moderate image, explains key positions

by BECKY McKENDRY
File photo.

THURSDAY, June 5 — As he eyes Michigan’s 8th Congressional District seat, Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing maintains that his moderate “country boy, county boy” image will propel him to the finish line.

Asked if he considered himself a “social liberal” he replied: “Absolutely. And a fiscal conservative.”

The candidate in the August primary for the Democratic nomination said today that he believes his mix of liberalism and conservatism can help him capture the seat that Republican Mike Rogers has held since 2001.

Schertzing discussed his image and where he falls on key issues on “City Pulse Newsmakers,” which airs at 9 a.m. Sunday on MY18 TV.

“The work gets done when you have people coming into the middle to seek consensus,” he said. “I’ve got a history of working with both sides and bringing everyone into the equation.”

“County officials bring a lot to the table,” he added. “We’re used to getting things done day in and day out.”

Schertzing deflected the suggestion that he was a liberal, pointing to his “farm boy upbringing” raised by a father who was a WWII medic and a mother who grew up in Chicago during the Great Depression.

“I don’t think this is about labels,” he said. “I grew up in a family farm in Bunker Hill Township down by Stockbridge.”

Schertzing also explained where he stands on several key issues:

Affordable Care Act: “The Affordable Care Act is something that Americans deserve and we can afford in this country. The fact that my daughter, who is going off to college, can be covered under my insurance policy until she turns 26 — I think America embraces that.

We promised people that they could keep their doctors and keep their health plans. To the extent that’s a problem, we should be looking at ways to fix that to keep our word. In county government and as a treasurer, you have to keep your word.

Same-sex marriage: “I don’t think there should be any discrimination based on who you love. We’re moving beyond that.”

What should be on Congress’ to-do list: “Job creation, things like getting the minimum wage up and education, obviously. We’re the home to MSU and a lot of other educational facilities around here. These are things that invest in our future.”

Education: Promotes lowering student loan interest rates to boost economy. “We’ve got young people coming out of college with student debt like a mortgage. That’s part of the reason why homes aren’t selling like we’d like them to. Young people aren’t buying cars because they’ve been saddled with so much college debt.

Abortion: Identifies as “absolutely” pro-choice. “These are difficult decisions, medical decisions between a woman and her doctor. Abortion should be rare and safe and legal.”

Gun control: “Mental health is, I think, the place you start on that. We do not have any effective background checks in this country for people suffering from mental health issues. That’s a chunk of what we’ve seen in the massacres across this country. We absolutely have to come up with something. Our lives are at risk. Our wives’ lives are at risk. Our children’s lives are at risk.”

On Edward Snowden: Asked if he thinks Snowden is a hero or traitor, he said, “I think it’s somewhere in between. Where in between, I don’t know that I have enough information on that. I think liberals and conservatives have concerns about how well the Constitution is being upheld. I don’t think the folks in Washington that want to have all this spending and things in black boxes and cloaked and say ‘trust us’ — I’m not comfortable with that. And I don’t think the American public is comfortable with that.”

On the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl: “A lot more details are going to come out. My gut reaction, thinking about the country’s history, is you want to rescue your own. This is an American citizen, an American soldier. We want to do what we can to bring them home. The details might get a little bit messy, but this was an American soldier and an American citizen. And his health was apparently very compromised.”

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