Whitmer, Hertel hit abortion as campaign issue at Lansing event

Governor kicks off canvassing launch for 7th Congressional District candidate


WEDNESDAY, June 12 — Congressional candidate Curtis Hertel Jr., who is trying to make it to one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, got a boost today from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who many think has an eye on a job at the other end.

Whitmer helped kick off a canvassing campaign for Hertel, the presumed Democratic candidate for the 7th U.S. House district seat being vacated by Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly. The district includes Ingham County.

Whitmer, meanwhile, is in the top tier of potential Democratic presidential candidates for 2028.

At a voter mobilization  event for Hertel’s campaign at the Lansing Shuffle this morning, Whitmer touted his accomplishments at the state level as proof of his ability to do the same on the national stage. Hertel, a former state senator, was Whitmer’s top lobbyist for a year and a half until he announced his congressional candidacy last July.

In a five-minute address, Whitmer said Hertel would “add a voice of sanity” in Washington, citing his work to preserve abortion access, lower taxes and prescription drug costs and curb gun violence as key issues that separate him from his opponent, former Republican state Sen. Tom Barrett.

With Slotkin running to succeed U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow this November, Whitmer said it was crucial that Michigan voters replace her in the U.S. House with someone who will continue to fight for abortion access nationwide.

“We know the high stakes of this moment, and a national abortion ban would undo everything that we were able to accomplish,” Whitmer said. “We’re fortunate that there is someone who is willing to put themselves out there and take all the heat that comes with taking office in this time.”

She called the district a “microcosm within a microcosm.” Besides Ingham, the district includes all of Clinton, Shiawassee and Livingston counties and portions of portions of Eaton and Oakland.

“We know that what happens here is going to set the tone for the nation, and we have the whole world watching us,” she said.

Hertel thanked Whitmer, then said, “When I look right now at our country, we have many, many problems. We have a Congress that, last year, only passed 27 bills, and many politicians have gotten to the point where they think of themselves as minor celebrities. There’s a lot of sound and fury, but it all leads to just about nothing for the American people.”

Hertel added that he can’t help being an optimist as a father of four.

“The idea that the problems of this country have become too big to solve — we have proven that wrong in Michigan over and over. I think Washington can learn a little bit about what we’ve done here in Michigan, and we need a little more Michigan grit in Washington,” he said.

If elected, Hertel said he would work to lower taxes and prescription drugs for working people, bring back jobs that were previously outsourced overseas and fight to preserve civil rights and abortion access for all Americans.

He contrasted his goals with his opponent’s.

“Tom Barrett recently said that he thinks women in Michigan don’t care about abortion anymore. We are going to prove him wrong,” Hertel said to applause. “He voted to protect big pharmaceutical companies when they make dangerous drugs that actually hurt Michiganders. He voted to increase the gas tax by 40% and voted against creating 5,000 good paying union jobs right in our community.”

“He tried to do it in Michigan. We can’t let him get to Washington, D.C,” Hertel added. “All I need is a little bit of your blood, sweat, tears, money and luck.”


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