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Political Science

Varner Hall, Room 418
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2352

Political Science

Varner Hall, Room 418
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2352

Three female politicians seated on stage in front of a projector. One is speaking into a microphone.

Center for Civic Engagement

Toward A More Perfect Union Event Series:

Defy the Divide: In Search of Community, Civility and the Common Good

A panel discussion featuring members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Problem Solvers Caucus, an evenly divided group of lawmakers who work to create bipartisan solutions to important policy issues.

  • U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell
  • U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin
  • U.S. Representative Fred Upton

Moderated by Stephen Henderson and Nolan Finley, journalists and founders of the Civility Project, a non-partisan initiative to restore civility in politics in southeast Michigan.

Transcript

David Dulio, Oakland University: Good morning, my name is Dave Julio I’m the director of the Center for civic engagement at Oakland university and I’m pleased to welcome you to defy the divide a path to civility.

David Dulio, Oakland University: Thank you again for being here we're also very grateful that our guests have taken time out of their busy schedules, to be part of this important discussion.

David Dulio, Oakland University: This event would not be possible without the help of a number of people.

David Dulio, Oakland University: Thanks to those who helped make it happen at the top of this list is oh you, President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz the Center for civic engagement has no bigger supporter on campus.

David Dulio, Oakland University: In addition, the office of government and community relations university communications and marketing the College of arts and sciences and event support services were great partners in planning this event.

David Dulio, Oakland University: Few other times in our nation's history has there been as pressing a need for public discussion about civility and respect in our national discourse, as there is today.

David Dulio, Oakland University: Oakland university is poised to be a leader in the effort to bring about a better public dialogue, in fact, the Center for civic engagement was started in part, to address the rancor that permeates today's political and civic life.

David Dulio, Oakland University: To support and foster a more civil and informative public dialogue about some of the fundamental issues dividing Americans.

David Dulio, Oakland University: The Center for civic engagement is launching a series of timely discussions, we are calling toward a more perfect Union.

David Dulio, Oakland University: This is the first session in that series now on to our panel I’ll keep this very brief as our guests are very well known.

David Dulio, Oakland University: we're delighted to welcome three of Michigan’s US representatives Elissa Slotkin who represents a portion of all US campus in addition to communities stretching from Rochester to Lansing.

David Dulio, Oakland University: Debbie Dingell who represents portions of Wayne and Washington, our counties and Fred Upton who represents communities and elegant Berrien cast Kalamazoo St Joseph and Van Buren counties all our Members of the US House is problem solvers Caucus.

David Dulio, Oakland University: The Caucuses website states quote only when we work together as Americans can we successfully break through the gridlock of today's politics.

David Dulio, Oakland University: More about the Caucus will certainly come up in the discussion, but I’ll note that Michigan is fortunate to have five members of this group, more than any other state.

David Dulio, Oakland University: we're pleased that we could get three of these Members schedules to align and for them to be here today.

David Dulio, Oakland University: guiding the conversation over the next hour or so, will be to others who need no introduction as they are two of our state's preeminent journalists Nolan Finley and Stephen Henderson.

David Dulio, Oakland University: We turn to them for moderators for a different reason, however, their work in starting the civility project which I’m sure they'll bring up during the conversation is much needed as part of the effort to bring about a better public dialogue.

David Dulio, Oakland University: As we do at all of our events at the Center for civic engagement I’d like to mention our tenants of civic engagement and productive dialogue.

David Dulio, Oakland University: These are simply guideposts as to how we want conversations to happen when we do have them, we want to engage in respectful dialogue we want to employ honest listening.

David Dulio, Oakland University: model civil behavior and tone support free and open discourse consider viewpoints, other than our own and find opportunities to agree not just agree not just disagree so with that I’ll turn it over to Nolan and Stephen Thank you again for being here and we look forward to the conversation.

Nolan Finley: Well, thank you, David and thanks to Oakland university for hosting us today very important subject and a very.

Nolan Finley: welcome addition this this whole civic engagement project you all have going on there couldn't be a better time for it and we appreciate Oakland university's efforts.

Nolan Finley: In this regard, and thanks to our Congress members for joining us today why don't we start out by talking about the problem solvers Caucus what.

Nolan Finley: What you all hope to accomplish with it, what you have accomplished, and you know what are the prospects that we will, that we will reach a point where we can govern together in Washington.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: you're good at it.

Stephen Henderson: Right well first.

Congressman Fred Upton: pleasure to be here all three of us are happy to be here, that is for sure it's a very important topic comes summers Caucus actually started a couple years ago.

Congressman Fred Upton: Maybe three congress's ago I was not a founding member I’ll confess, but I’ve been very active, the last couple years said last Congress and certainly in this one.

Congressman Fred Upton: couple things we've accomplished right away, first of all, we actually change the rules of the House to create more bipartisanship.

Congressman Fred Upton: And I give the democrats credit this all happened under Nancy Pelosi his watch and it was this Caucus, particularly the democrats in this Caucus who.

Congressman Fred Upton: insisted for their vote for speaker that in fact the rules change, and I will say that had the Republicans won the majority back in 2018.

Congressman Fred Upton: We had a number of us Republicans that would have insisted on the same changes, then with speak that would have been speaker Kevin McCarthy so that was it that was a big change.

Congressman Fred Upton: The other thing a couple things that we've done, we have an absolute civility pledge that all of us take.

Congressman Fred Upton: This is a Caucus with an equal number of Republicans and democrats we actually grew by six or eight Members in this Congress as well.

Congressman Fred Upton: And we've been very active in pursuing a number of what I would call common sense legislative solutions on important national issues.

Congressman Fred Upton: Elissa and I went down to the Texas border two years ago it was it was a crisis, then, as I would converse it's a crisis now.

Congressman Fred Upton: But it was particularly alarming and with all these kids that were coming in and resources that were strapped so that our our law enforcement folks at the border didn't have the means to take care of us.

Congressman Fred Upton: It was our group that forced the legislation through.

Congressman Fred Upton: Immigration is a big issue we passed actually what I would call to pretty big important immigration measure just in the last couple weeks one dealing with agriculture.

Congressman Fred Upton: With more than 300 ad groups supporting it, as well as the dreamers things that got stuck to me this side of me, the low hanging fruit, we need comprehensive immigration reform.

Congressman Fred Upton: But we took these on his issues and last thing because I don't want to dominate the time we meet.

Congressman Fred Upton: Before called it, we met at least once a week for an hour everyone left or labels at the door, there was no leaks, there was absolute.

Congressman Fred Upton: work together, no one really pointed fingers in each other we've taken a pledge now to ever campaign against each other, so you really built that trust, which is important.

Congressman Fred Upton: And now, because it call it really for a year we've been operating out of our homes and debbie's over to my house is my side porch.

Congressman Fred Upton: But we actually are in touch with each other on zoom probably a couple times a week for a couple hours, actually, in fact, already this morning.

Congressman Fred Upton: i've talked to our two leaders josh got married in New Jersey and Tom reed republican lead in New York state or can I couple different issues.

Congressman Fred Upton: And it is you know with divided government, the only way you're going to get things done is to work together to have crushed with each other to have common sense and try to move the ball forward and that's what this clock is dedicated to.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Say and i'd like to build on what Fred said, which is to talk about why personal relationships matter.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: You know it, there was a time when people got to know each other, they work together there's kids what kids went to school together.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: They didn't go home every weekend and, by the way, I think people should be going home every weekend so but that adjustment of you know, is there a plane travel has become easier and regular, although we're all little afraid of it, these days, and coven.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: People would have dinner said, have potluck dinners people get to know each other.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: In everybody knows, I was married to john dingell he played paddleball every week with George Washington Rumsfeld, they were the best of friends for decades.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: And people don't get develop those kind of relationships anymore and relationship building is critical to trust each other it's critical to work now I talked to Fred almost every day and the days that I don't talk to him when I go to bed i'm like I haven't talked to Fred today.

Congressman Fred Upton: i'm already thinking about this.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: morning.

Stephen Henderson: We did talk this morning.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Before nine o'clock we do we're not afraid to I talked to haley it was another Member problem solvers at 6:45am we will call each other early do.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: But I’m very clear every person in the Democratic Party new thread up since my one of my closest friends that I would not campaign against him, nor quite frankly I had known Peter Meyer and.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: paint his father has been my friend, for decades, I serve on the jira for library with him and Gerald Ford school, and I would not campaign against Peter, because in the listen oh so I told people.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: This is a friend, I think that those personal relationships matter and civility matters and you've got to build that trust and that's one of the keys to problem solvers getting to know each other.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And I would just add from a from a perspective of someone who's only in their second term right, you know when I got elected in 2018 from a district that you know voted for Donald trump it is republican.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: You show up at Congress, you know in orientation and you say how do I find my people you know who am I going to connect with to get to know to really invest time in.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And I took it as a mandate from my district and based on my national security background to find the people who really wanted to do that tough.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: kind of network of bipartisanship, and so the problem solvers is literally the first group and frankly really the only group that I found that was a organized.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: equal numbers of democrats and Republicans met every week actually worked on legislation didn't leak on each other and and use somehow the press against each other and, at the end of the day.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: you realize, you know you, you have a cadre of people on both sides of the aisle who know that we don't agree on everything, and certainly we've had tough moments in the past year on, you know.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: How that's strained.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: Any relationship, but because we have worked on things together, you know because we worked on a coven bill in November and December, when we had really tough things happen in January, we could have the tough conversation, and they were tough.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: But still come out of it, as colleagues ready to work together and I just haven't found another group, like that, as a relatively new member of Congress so it's it's been pretty important and pretty formative for me.

Stephen Henderson: So the problem, I think that that each of you faces.

Stephen Henderson: Is within your own party which is kind of different right, I mean normally we talked about politicians having to contend with the their political opposites.

Stephen Henderson: But, for instance Fred RON wiser, who is the the Chair of the gop here in the state of Michigan says, you are the problem in the Republican Party in Michigan and Debbie and Elissa you know the far left.

Stephen Henderson: representatives in Congress in the Democratic Party would say that the kind of compromises you're making.

Stephen Henderson: distract from you know the agenda that the party has and and should have, and so I think when people look at something like a problem solvers Caucus the natural question is well how far can this really go.

Stephen Henderson: How much can you really accomplish because, at some point, your own party.

Stephen Henderson: is going to you know yank your chain and say either you get in line or you know, maybe we primary you or may we.

Stephen Henderson: ostracize you inside Congress, so I wonder if each of you can talk about how those kinds of negotiations take place not among you guys, but between you guys and the extremes of your own parts.

Congressman Fred Upton: Well, let me just say a couple things first of all, no election is easy for anybody unless you're on a polls and that's never happened.

Congressman Fred Upton: So i've been in Congress, the longest and you know i've had seven primaries and we've done pretty well in here we we we want every time you know I the primary.

Congressman Fred Upton: Primary in 20 I ran against state REPS state senators, you know cuz it terminates the things sort of go down a little bit faster than that maybe they would have.

Congressman Fred Upton: But at the end of the day in my districts a swing district very much like Elissa think number i'm a wolverine not a spark, and so I don't go there, all that.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: Often people.

Congressman Fred Upton: Go that clock with that plan.

Congressman Fred Upton: But it's you know those things happen and we've done pretty well, and you know we went by addition by subtraction and if people want to rubber stamp they got the wrong guy right.

Congressman Fred Upton: And you know in my district, quite frankly, with rare exception over the last hundred years it's gone for the winner of the presidential race, the way that it's configured today in virtually every elect Obama won my district, and I wanted to.

Congressman Fred Upton: You know, even though I was a national guy for McCain was one of his national chairs.

Congressman Fred Upton: He.

Congressman Fred Upton: When.

Congressman Fred Upton: RON didn't win you know so those those things happen, and you, but I have found that you know I ran for Congress to make a difference, this was never a lifelong dream that I add.

Congressman Fred Upton: The ladder successes that is for sure people don't boaters don't really care for the most part.

Congressman Fred Upton: If you have an R or D next year name they want the job done they want you to listen, you want you to work with divided government, this is, this is the time and that's what I stand for.

Congressman Fred Upton: And you look just to close this last election chrome narrowly one my district I wanted by 16 points proof is in the pudding.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And I would just add to that as someone you know i'm the only democrat in Congress who represents a district that voted for Romney Ben trump than trump again right so.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: You know I represent a lot of independently minded voters and that's good because i'm independently minded person, and of course there's pressure I you feel it every single day.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: But you just make sure people understand I don't vote because someone tells me to vote a certain way you read the bills you actually learn about what you're voting on.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And you you're accountable to the people that elected you not your national leadership and while i'm respectful to to all of my colleagues and i'm willing to talk to anybody.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: Anybody if they have a good idea um I think if you have your bearings and you understand as Fred said that you're not here to just fill a seat you're here to actually get something done.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And that, if I don't get reelected nobody dies, nobody dies right, I would like to be reelected but it's i'm not going to compromise my integrity, or what I believe just to keep the seat.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: So I think once you get comfortable with that and I certainly got comfortable with that in my in my first term at oakland university, you know, taking a ton of of hits where decisions that I made.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: You know, once you're okay with that, and you realize that your job is responsible to the people who elected you it's a much easier job voting as you see fit.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: So I would tell you that I actually probably have one of the most diverse districts in the state where you can just take a line right through it, I have an arbor.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: In the progressives in have that down rivers which are strong many trump supporters and represent Dearborn which.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: It has i'm very proud to represent the Arab Americans in the Congress to but last year I did have.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: A significant challenge, or in the primary though I took it very seriously and First they were upset with me because I did not come up from teaching immediately because I don't take the cause of the day.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: When you take a position you've got to have the facts and there's got to be.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: A reason, and when you have an election you respect the results of the election and that person is President of all of us whether you think they're doing a good job or not.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: So that and then I did not last time, support the Green New Deal because I’m very worried about jobs.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: And I had for two years, every place I wouldn't I had protesters if I gave the speech, they would go up on.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: stage if I was at the farmers market Fred would hear me call and give them that but I wasn't afraid to talk to a man sitting in my offices, but i've talked to him and I told him how I felt.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: And this year I have been very serious about bringing the two sides together justice in problem solvers.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: How we talk to each other, I have spent the last month for your Labor and the President of every national environmental group together.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: And Labor has been very clear talking about their concerns about their jobs and environmentalist are telling people with facing and i'm trying to find that common ground.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: And that's some I got elected as these two dead and everybody else did to solve problems and i'm trying to solve problems.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Not it, you know you might think of elections a popularity contest, but the fact of the matter is, I think people are tired of purchasing victory.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Although there's more of it than i've certainly seen in my lifetime, they want to see us get things done, and there are a lot of problems in this country, that we need to work together to get soft.

Nolan Finley: Far we'll Congressional leadership let you go on this at what point do they sort of journey back and say you've got to fall in line with the partisan Caucuses and are there any Members of.

Nolan Finley: leadership in the Caucus, are there any committee chairs, as part of your group.

Congressman Fred Upton: Well I’m tell me the pressure from the party leaders Member we're in minority so.

Nolan Finley: If it.

Congressman Fred Upton: Together, it doesn't really matter because they have the votes to get something done but you know hey.

Congressman Fred Upton: I was wants to eat the deputy with a web with other newt Gingrich and.

Congressman Fred Upton: You know I left that in the in the 90s, I got an energy and commerce best committee that there is Debbie would.

Congressman Fred Upton: agree Elissa might have a little concerned but I’m sure we we'd like to have her and she'd like to come over there if she had a choice.

Congressman Fred Upton: But you know when I got an energy and commerce committee and there were some little grumpily maybe I said look my boats night, you know I’m not a rubber stamp.

Congressman Fred Upton: And where I want to be some people are complaining about my votes I don't need to do this I’m going to be energy and commerce, and of course I became Chair of the Committee for six years, we have we have tournaments, but I have to say there's no.

Congressman Fred Upton: is, at least on our team.

Congressman Fred Upton: there's really not necessarily the pressure, nor the word in the minority.

Congressman Fred Upton: there's not any real breaking of arms is some might say.

Congressman Fred Upton: To get votes, especially i'm bored to conscience that we have usually there there's a number of us that are together there's not a lot of boats that are pure party line that's for sure, as it relates to chairman, we have we have people on every committee.

Congressman Fred Upton: And, of course, under the committee rules.

Congressman Fred Upton: Any any amendments at Germain is open.

Congressman Fred Upton: that's the case and energy and commerce committee when I was chairman I changed the rules that it stayed the same now bring along the German we are bipartisan and let's go first they go ahead and the cube over it, to encourage people to work with both sides of the aisle.

Congressman Fred Upton: We have you know we have people in ways and means and appropriations we have senior Members that are either share with Members.

Congressman Fred Upton: subcommittees there it's a very good group of what I would call influence your Members on both sides, and we are different ages different classes different areas of the country we're all represented.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: So I like I’m actually a member of leadership from one of the co chairs of the democratic House in vacations committee and on the team as well.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: And I would tell you that I have a reputation for saying exactly what I think and what they need to hear, not what they want.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: doesn't mean my head's not capitated at least once a week but i'll never not be the I am who I am I say what I think and I think there needs to be more people that tell people what they think.

Congressman Fred Upton: yeah if I reclaim my time just for two seconds, one of the things that our leadership does we're at the table, they have us at the table we're able to weigh in they know where we are, like to say it's no surprises sort of like the old holiday in commercial.

Congressman Fred Upton: there's not a lot of sobriety we let them know where we are, because we feel like if we're part of it take off a part of the way.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And I would just say I mean I you know I.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: have not voted for speaker Pelosi in the last you know the two terms that i've been had that option to vote for her and I.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: will express to you that there's a lot of pressure when that boat comes up and you again, you just have to decide, like how vulnerable are you to that pressure what's going to move you and.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: You know if you stick to your guns and you have a little bit of a spine, then the pressure, you are polite you always engage with people but it doesn't move, you and I think I think that.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: Despite those decisions where i've split from my party i'm still the chairwoman of a subcommittee on Homeland Security, I run a task force.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: On supply chains and has like things that have depended on leadership's approval have come through, for me, so I think.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: The other thing I would just say is let's be honest, the democrats heavy micro thin majority in certainly the Senate, but also the House.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: So if four of us in the House for democrats decide not to vote for something a bill can't pass if it's going to be on a party line boat.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: So I have found actually in the second term compared to the first term that I have a lot more communication with leadership, they are coming to talk to us.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: On, particularly those of us in you know republican leaning districts to say where are you on this, what do you think about this, what do you need in order to get there, and that discussion, I will tell you I feel like is healthy.

Stephen Henderson: So, so I think if you look at a lot of the success you guys have had you know it's on subjects that are.

Stephen Henderson: Somewhat distant from the hottest and most contentious issues in Washington, and so I think there's kind of a natural question which is okay so.

Stephen Henderson: Something like the Great Lakes restoration initiative act is a really great opportunity for people to work across the aisle everybody from you know Great Lakes state should be for that whether you're republican or a democrat.

Stephen Henderson: But, but how do you build from there to be able to say okay well healthcare is also an issue that that Republicans and democrats are to.

Stephen Henderson: see more common ground on immigration is something that Republicans and democrats out of be able to compromise on I mean are we closer to that kind of cooperation on those kinds of issues, because of the work that you're doing.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: i'm just going to push back a little bit on your premise only because I’m.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: The literally the code bill that President trump signed in December, would not have existed, had it not been for the problem solvers Caucus who literally saw our collective leadership.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: So dug in that they couldn't compromise we worked first we tried to do it in August.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: People did zoom calls Fred was a real leader on this zoom calls to try and come up with that compromise package, we got so close to the election that it couldn't work but literally over thanksgiving.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: while people are with their families zoom calls democrats and Republicans coming up with a compromise and Brent really literally forcing it upon.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: Leadership meaning taking it to the White House and saying if we you know if we can agree on this, can you agree on this, can we bring it back and get Congressional leadership so.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: Unemployment checks stimulus checks, help for our businesses would not have happened I call that relevant yeah i'll believe that is relevant.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And then similarly literally some of the only bipartisan legislation on immigration has come out of this Caucus.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: fred's bill on farm workers and it, it may not be solving in a comprehensive way and Lord knows that's the great white whale that we all have to be committed to doing.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: But you know when you can't hit home runs it doesn't mean you can't hit singles.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And we've got a lot of folks in Washington, who think on both sides of the aisle if it's not a home run i'm not touching it and I reject that as someone who believes in getting something done, but I think we have been more relevant than maybe you're giving us credit for yeah.

Stephen Henderson: No that's absolutely fair Debbie.

Congressman Fred Upton: And remember trump almost veto that last cold and bill. I mean this is.

Congressman Fred Upton: so hard, and it was it was the lifeline I mean Michigan or small businesses, I mean we had to have it, you know we started this in March, actually, it was the first bill passed even.

Congressman Fred Upton: Even little little dig here in our former colleague, oh my gosh I think even a my folder for the first few.

Congressman Fred Upton: That thing was for 17 to one I think was Tom Massey that voted against it but.

Congressman Fred Upton: But you know, it was a Herculean effort to get it, and then I can remember, we got the word that trump was thinking about doing it because it wasn't.

Congressman Fred Upton: Perfect well tell me what perfect is, but all we all just about died, we all called the White House ultimately got him to sign the bill, thank goodness.

Congressman Fred Upton: That a guy done but you know Elissa was right um, but there is a lot of issues that we're working on.

Congressman Fred Upton: You know you talk it goes back to maybe what I did Debbie was a part of this Elissa was a period where we got 21st century cures done.

Congressman Fred Upton: We passed that bill 392 to six in the House, this was provided the funding to actually speed up the approval of drugs and devices, we would still have a vaccine approved today.

Congressman Fred Upton: Without that bill that Obama signed into law by Hayden was a big help on that are already working on a 2.0 bill.

Congressman Fred Upton: And again, building on those relationships to try to get something done and varied it through the all the hoops and and wickets between the House in the Senate as well.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Here, when you out but I work with Fred analysts have but Fred and I just we're on the same committee so but water as a human right, addressing the lead issue.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: In flint so Fred was critical to getting when it was a republican.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Congressman republican speaker to getting the eight different keys now working with Rashid in I on water is a you know, right now, making sure water is not shut out.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: He and I had this morning, where he called me several weeks ago about the Asian American hatred that was out there and what could we do about it as a Congress and.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: He told me I needed to suggest something to Christ man, and I said, will you co sponsor it and he said yes, so I called grace and we worked on that this morning we were talking about election.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: laws were we deal with the auto issues which, quite frankly, to this state is one of the most critical issues, there are, and these are the hardest and toughest in the ugliest and I bruises on my body now Fred and.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Talk about him every single day right now i'm the one in the ring that's got the bruises but he also his wisdom gives me, you know it's a lot of.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: So I actually think all three of us are working to get infrastructure.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: You know i'm on the problem solvers infrastructure Task Force broadband credits to coach The co lead with Jim Cliburn on broadband for both urban and rural areas, those are all really important issues Steve, so I would say to you you're not, there are a lot of things.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: we're all trying to find that common ground unity.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: One of the fact that keeps always.

Nolan Finley: You know the, the object of the civility project which Steve and I are involved in and started is to get people to talk across their differences in a productive manner to.

Nolan Finley: get them to stop shouting at each other, and we have a question from our from a Member of our audience who wanted to know what role you all, can play beyond Congress in.

Nolan Finley: getting people to work together and talk together and stop hating one another, so much, I mean we assume most of America lives in the middle politically.

Nolan Finley: And yet we are, we have the fringes of these two parties and the extremes of these two parties.

Nolan Finley: you're pulling the country back and forth and screaming at each other, how can you take this beyond the halls of Congress and and get the American people as a whole to tone down a little bit to cool down a little.

Congressman Fred Upton: But we have to go on the road and I gotta tell you, you know you know gabby and I wrote economic club together a year and a half ago.

Congressman Fred Upton: We get the deal for policy school and then arbor together she came over to my district and actually when not only to my district, but Peter Myers and grand rapids they hosted a wonderful forum there.

Congressman Fred Upton: Last year i've been on i'm scheduled to do one with Diana to get was my partner on 21st century cures and Denver with another great university like Michael Cohen there this next month.

Congressman Fred Upton: You know, listen I we've done a number of these things, and you know, frankly, we, we have to rely on the media goal and that's you to that other half that you were.

Congressman Fred Upton: And I gotta say that is I look at a lot of our Michigan province on media look at Michael Patrick shields I look at you look at others.

Congressman Fred Upton: This is something that people are yearning for, and they need to see us do it, in reality, I mean.

Congressman Fred Upton: The awful thing that happened in Oakland county a couple of to come away, two weeks ago now, seemed like a lot, the goal.

Congressman Fred Upton: You know, with the Oakland county Republican Party I mean they got shut down pretty fast and run wiser and I know more than she ran.

Congressman Fred Upton: In terms of what what he said that they obviously the Center that came from the regions, on Friday, so we need to move on and we need to to to focus on.

Congressman Fred Upton: folks that really want to work together, which is something that on certain all three of us, but really the problem solvers copy that's an underlying theme of who we are.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: And I really go ahead, listen.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: I would just add that I think, in addition to actually providing examples of how democrats and Republicans can and should talk to each other right in forums like this and all those that Fred mentioned.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: I actually think that in 2021 given the state of the country it's our responsibilities to be leaders within our own districts, to bring together groups that wouldn't otherwise be in the same room.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: This to me was really brought home, frankly, after the murder of George Floyd where we had I had different groups talking to me, but they weren't talking to each other.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And so we literally because zoom makes it a whole lot easier, we started bringing those communities together i've done actual training, training.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: On you know, conflict resolution, because there are such disparate voices.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: In my district, and I think by coven has actually given certainly me an opportunity to really get to know a bunch of local leaders across the political spectrum.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: So that we've built up some trust, so that they're they're willing to come together and have some tough conversations.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: That is an absolute requirement for certainly in my district in the middle of the state here in mid Michigan because people are starting to lose their empathy for other people.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: Right there's not enough connective tissue and they don't feel empathy for others who have different views and that goes nowhere good.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: So in addition to serving as an example, I think, literally facilitating and using your convening power as an elected official to bring together different groups.

Congressman Fred Upton: And so, go ahead, I got one thing to add.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: You can add.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: I’m respectful.

Congressman Fred Upton: So take the issue of the day, right now, what's on CNN right now the trial in Minneapolis.

Congressman Fred Upton: Our Caucus a number of us outside of the presses I, I would say, in the last three weeks there's been about a dozen of us that have spent at least 10 to 12 hours.

Congressman Fred Upton: Listening to experts around the country trying to find the right spot so that we really get police reform in a place that most of America will accept.

Congressman Fred Upton: they've all been behind the scenes, not a thing is leaked, it was like a leak now.

Congressman Fred Upton: But we're working with a Congressional black Caucus we're working with the senators we're working with the White House, working with Republicans and democrats.

Congressman Fred Upton: and, hopefully, in the next week or two we're going to have something that's that's ready to go that moves the ball forward that really has bipartisan support.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Annette Well, first of all I want to say God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason, we need to listen more and talk to us, we do lead by leaving often.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Much important Elissa has said i've been doing my whole life, quite frankly, upbringing I’m.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Desperate groups together, but as Fred talks about this, we have to be willing to have uncomfortable conversations, because the fact of the matter is, we saw another law enforcement officer died last Friday at capital, the capital of police on at the interaction.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: On the six kept us safe, but there are, law enforcement, that I do think, I mean we also all saw George Floyd on that video and what happened to him there's court trial so.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: I will give an opinion here right now, but we really need to have some uncomfortable conversations and there are some real issues and we got to find a way to have those conversations.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: In civil respectful ways I talked about it on my Facebook page almost every day it's somehow is ready doing it David Bohm and so to tread.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: it's been since the pandemic game today was day 395 so it's been a lot of writing, but we need to like bring people eager to talk it you gotta walk the talk and we got to not be afraid to have uncomfortable conversations and we all are, and you all have the ability to do that.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: But we all need to respect each other more I use the word empathy compassion kindness they matter in this day and.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Then I think coven brings us to as shine the light on that.

Nolan Finley: You know, Congress is as.

Stephen Henderson: evenly divided as.

Nolan Finley: we've seen in a long, long time the democratic majorities are very, very narrow and reflects the division in the country, which is you know about half of the people on one side of the aisle half the people on the other, wouldn't that be a.

Nolan Finley: very powerful argument for bipartisan governing and for not shoving things through on narrow partisan boats.

Congressman Fred Upton: Well that's why we changed the rules of the House we actually now encouraged more bipartisanship but now that we've.

Congressman Fred Upton: we've actually passed this April 1 deadline, so what was important about that well.

Congressman Fred Upton: In the rules package again, this is a little bit inside baseball and moves back to the past that first day that Pelosi was reelected and speaker in January.

Congressman Fred Upton: She passed rules baggage that allowed her to bring up every bill that passed in the last Congress, without going through Community.

Congressman Fred Upton: I think about the committee process that's where again any amendments, whether the armed services or energy commerce or appropriation.

Congressman Fred Upton: Every committee can offer amendments to the ratio is generally somewhat pretty reflective of the body, the House.

Congressman Fred Upton: that she was able to bring up builds that pass with her larger majority in the last Congress.

Congressman Fred Upton: and close the door on amendments, so a lot of these bills and we took up No member to allow which was something that our side really rejected to but.

Congressman Fred Upton: She nearly got the votes to get done that's now or there was only effective through April 1.

Congressman Fred Upton: So now, from this point on, maybe there was talking her leadership i'm just so amazing year to to maybe extend that because it worked out so well from their perspective.

Congressman Fred Upton: But again, it was the problem solvers it was the democrats in the problem solvers it said, you know what this isn't fair.

Congressman Fred Upton: It needs to expire, it is not going to get removed so now, when we come in back into session next week, all of these bills and blog committee.

Congressman Fred Upton: they're going to go through the normal what we call regular order and you're not going to be able to bring something up from last coffers immediately to the floor.

Congressman Fred Upton: Without that normal debate and amendments and miss out called sizing the you might get in the ways and means or energy and commerce or.

Congressman Fred Upton: Services tip me to get done so, hopefully now it'll really step, a really rough to get stuff done it'll really reflect I hope a bipartisan consensus of actually trying to improve these bills and get something ultimately to the President that he could sign that are bipartisan.

Nolan Finley: Well, to that same point what would we first talked about.

Nolan Finley: In the Senate about getting rid of the filibuster and going to a a straight majority vote on on bills getting rid of that 60 vote requirement on most measures, what would that do to the tone of Congress and to the cause of bipartisan governing.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Mitch McConnell has already told you what he will do he calls it, the nuclear winter, which by the way, quite frankly, we're I have a problem with this.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Fred knows how he feels that was Elissa we have a couple of republican colleagues who the minute we come in immediately.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: require of vote to adjourn and right now votes in the House or taking 45 minutes to an hour provoked and we're into midnight and people are stressed and grumpy and in bad moods, it is not create an environment.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: That.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: helps people come together or makes people like each other.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: and toxic is a very good word for it and Mitch McConnell's already said what he will do, but the fact of the matter is.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: That we can't get bills through in the Senate either it's a very complicated situation but i'm going to quote John Dingell said we should eliminate the Senate, and I might be at a point I agree with.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Just quality agenda in both.

Congressman Fred Upton: I think you might have six year terms in the House to.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: live for two years.

Nolan Finley: Fred was getting rid of the filibuster due to to the ability of Congress saw to work together, it on any level.

Congressman Fred Upton: Well couple things and I, you know I.

Congressman Fred Upton: i'm not i'm not sure that I have the answer being in the House, I would like to him i'm not sure that it's going to happen because Joe Manchin.

Congressman Fred Upton: One democrat that said he was gonna he would not go to eliminate it, they have the ability to do it, it does change things from what's happened over the last.

Congressman Fred Upton: 50 or 60 years i'd like to think that they are to get the signal that they are to work together.

Congressman Fred Upton: And maybe in I don't know I don't know that I come down on one side or the other, that if.

Congressman Fred Upton: They got rid of it with that then encourage well this bill is going to pass, so therefore let's work together on both sides of the album actually improve it to abrogate you know that's that's one thing that might happen.

Congressman Fred Upton: versus know you know screw you and everyone that looks like you you're you're in the minority we're not gonna allow anything to happen i'd like to think that it would be the first one.

Congressman Fred Upton: That the thought that would actually prevail, to try and get something done, I mean we you know our government is made of checks and balances three branches of government domain.

Congressman Fred Upton: I like to think that you know we put the country first.

Congressman Fred Upton: But I can't if they went through a real scorched earth policy and I gotta tell you, we got some folks in our freedom Caucus who just love it right now boats to adjourn every day.

Congressman Fred Upton: Vote some things they never even heard about back in college polisci previous question votes reconsider it is like a day that we might be done by 430 or five normally is taking this till 910 1111 o'clock at night and I sure hope it better, when we come back next week.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: You know I actually think it's very clear what will happen in the Senate I’m not as optimistic as Fred is, I think.

Congressman Fred Upton: What we are.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: What really depresses me is the number, I have a lot of friends are in the Senate Republicans and democrats.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: We all share them, but a lot of good people who are willing to sit at a table and talk to each other or leafy white blood is leaving the Senate, because he talks about how toxic it's become.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: And how.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: What we're in Rob Portman was the next person both of them, but there are a number of other senators that are willing to sit down and, by the way.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: I can remember when house and Senate talk to each other and they talked about policy issues they had real discussions about how to solve problems.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: It is very rare that the House and Senate even talk to each other at a Member to Member level, we need to find a way to get back to that.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: In I you know I keep trying to do that, but I’m very worried about what's going to happen in 2022 elections, and I would say to the American people, we don't have a senate seat up.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: In Michigan but you need to really be aware of who you are electing in the 2022 election, and if you want to see more unity, if you want to see respectability and empathy for each other, then you need to demand that of the people that you elect to the Congress, no matter what the party.

Stephen Henderson: we've got a couple questions from the audience about.

Stephen Henderson: This information and misinformation, which of course is a big part of political discourse right now I mean there are people who really work very hard at making sure people have the wrong idea in their head and.

Stephen Henderson: I think we saw on January six, for instance, you know the extreme consequence of that kind of that kind of activity.

Stephen Henderson: I do wonder what effect that misinformation that disinformation the manipulation of facts has on the conversations that you have within the problem solvers Caucus I mean being able to settle on truth seems pretty key.

Stephen Henderson: to your work does this this kind of noise from outside, which has such an effect on voters have an effect on your your discussions as well.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: I would say, I mean, I think the majority of our membership are fact based folks who.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: You know, we may have differences major differences of opinions on what to do about those facts, but there is still a conversation based around facts, and we have.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: presentations and really wonderful people who come and present to us, at the same time, so we're all hearing the same information from a company from a nonprofit from a foundation.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: But it certainly I would say, a regular part of my job is having conversations with people who have a completely different fact basis for the topic we're discussing.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: and, obviously, as the Chairwoman on a committee that's looking at domestic terrorism, this is a huge huge issue and we've talked about the Stephen m but.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: I think the thing that I have challenged myself to do is how do you have a conversation with someone when you don't agree on facts without just walking away throwing up your hands and saying that's it.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And this is, this is a it's difficult right because convincing someone that their facts are wrong is one of the hardest things to do in I don't know human interaction.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: But we cannot give up on people, we cannot just say well that's their America, and this is my America we're going to have different facts and that's it.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: The media has certain responsibilities social media has certain responsibilities.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: i'll be honest with you, you know all of us have probably seen intentional disinformation or misinformation come across our Facebook feeds our social media feeds, you know what you know you get a sense of when you see it.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: Has any one of us ever mistakenly seen child pornography as we're scrolling no because it's illegal for the social media companies to allow the spread of child pornography, I think one of the things that.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: I feel strongly about is that social media has come a long way in 20 years and we haven't really done our jobs in Congress to properly oversee and put some rules of the road in place.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: But to me that's some of the hardest work, we have to do, but the most important is talking to people who just have been educated and i'm talking about like my in laws i'm talking about my neighbors right and so i'm getting practiced and having the conversation but it's very difficult.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: They head out hearing Fred and I have the energy and commerce committee just tap Facebook Twitter.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: And Google in front of the committee and I actually will tell you it's the first time I see committee united on both sides in a.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: holding them accountable for the disinformation and the fact of the matter is is that their revenue models is such that the more clicks to get the more money they make, and while they claim.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: That they're cleaning up their act, the fact of the matter is that they're not, I think he will is Elissa said.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: See both energy and commerce in the Judiciary Committee, energy and commerce, should have the lead on this Friday I think you would agree that we will take.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: It will be tough it's you know this is when you get to really sit down and do the nitty gritty and find where we can unite on this, but we have to do something about this, because people are believing what they are reading.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: On the social media platforms Facebook was the most comments platform mentioned after the January six.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: interaction Facebook was where the group that was going to kidnap the governor.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: did most of their communications, all of us here that you're talking to today have had a number of threats and we it's a different day in agent it's not okay so.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: They are contributing to it, it, we have to figure out how we address the problem in unfortunately the genies out of the bottle and a lot of this stuff.

Nolan Finley: Good question.

Nolan Finley: We got a lot of questions from our audience on the idea of franchising the problem solvers coc Caucus to the Senate is there a like minded group in the Senate, or is there a possibility that there will that one will be created.

Congressman Fred Upton: Actually, there is it's called no labels, not in its bicameral so it's not just i'd say there's probably a bunch of Center you know this unit more collegial so they're all they all have their either ways are all you know they have lunch together every day.

Congressman Fred Upton: But there's a bike camera group that's bipartisan we meet actually once a month and it's called no labels.

Congressman Fred Upton: Actually, Governor hogan from Maryland is actually hosting an event on immigration, a little bit later this.

Congressman Fred Upton: This month, they put out an invite to a number of us to join them to say that we don't have boards so and there's so there's a lot of you know, we talked about immigration, we were about ball with them on the carbon package had a number of meetings, together, we really.

Congressman Fred Upton: embraced psychiatrist you gotta remember there's a while, of the senators actually came from the House, so you know Roy Blunt I used to sit next to what is it energy commerce.

Congressman Fred Upton: Know Portland I mean you got a lot of folks that are over there, so it's happening, but our lives are pretty complicated and we wish that there was more time in the day to try and do something.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: And I would also say to you Fred there is a group of Susan Collins Lisa Murkowski a Joe Manchin and then other senators come in and out of the group that do try to find.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: common ground and different those Members are part of the labels as well yeah.

Stephen Henderson: So, so I had a couple questions also about.

Stephen Henderson: President Biden and his agenda, which you know campaign, the on the idea of unity and bringing the country together, but certainly in the early.

Stephen Henderson: In the early going the things that he's sending over to Congress to vote on, are coming out coming back along really bitter partisan.

Stephen Henderson: divides I wonder what the problem solvers Caucus makes of you know, this early this early period and the opportunity to to get more republican support, or at least you know shake the bills, in a way that would get more bipartisan support them, we seen so far.

Congressman Fred Upton: Well, I reminded the White House of that very issue just yesterday. So.

Congressman Fred Upton: read you my email, but I will but.

Congressman Fred Upton: we'll see how it, how it develops, but you know we all want the President to succeed, this is a great country, we have to work together, we got a lot of issues.

Congressman Fred Upton: That we have to really deal with and the best way to deal with them is in a bipartisan basis and.

Congressman Fred Upton: you're right the last call that package, it was a purely partisan boat let's hope that they turn the page on that chapter.

Congressman Fred Upton: And we can really resort to some true bipartisanship from both the House and the Senate infrastructure is a big need certainly for us admission.

Congressman Fred Upton: Number the governor's say fix the damn roads they're not fixed, yet they need to be fixed we got a lot of issues we have to deal with whether it's.

Congressman Fred Upton: The resilience of our grid, so what happened in Texas what always happens in California our lead in our water, the great living there's a lot of different issues, broadband that we can work on together.

Congressman Fred Upton: and frankly would send a pretty good message to the rest of the country if in fact that we get this thing done in a bipartisan way so we'll see where it takes us the White House.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Is that I don't know, maybe a list has been to the White House I haven't been to the White House someday I know has been down there.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: There yeah yeah so they're written I think they're so I don't know that any of the democrats in our delegations, the senators made, but the House been there, but they're reaching out to the Republicans and they're trying the list of me at them.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: yeah I would just say I think my approach on this is get caught trying right do everything you can to make something bipartisan because.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: The country needs to see that because that's what they want from their leaders right, but if you try and you try and you try and you can't compromise Well then, I understand the instinct to go ahead and move out.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And I think that that is, to me, where I probably have a slight difference with the administration on approach is get caught trying let's let's open the door.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And if they don't walk through it Okay, then we move on our own, and I think that.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: It would have been my hope that we would have approached Kobe that way, we said that as a problem solvers Caucus many of us put out.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: clear statements both publicly but also privately to our colleagues in the new White House.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And you know again in the spirit of not just hitting home runs you know it's great if we pass these two massive bills.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And then, what that's the only legislation we're going to actually pass into law in the next two years, I reject that.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: You know, we need to actually be getting to that right now that 60 vote majority in the Senate, we need to be putting up bills that meet that there's a ton of bipartisan bills from the House that are ready to be voted on by the Senate.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: i'll never understand why they just don't do a damn up or down vote and put people on record on these things like let them vote against a veteran's bill right go ahead if you're going to do that, so I think.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: Some of us may have a slightly different approach, get caught trying.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: On bipartisan show I would actually argue that they did try I know they try they talk to Republicans Fred know say talk to Republicans.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: This was one of those times, where and Fred would have voted for some of these bills, except for some provisions in them and communicated it I would actually argue that the White House.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: they're not talking to me or I mean they're talking but they're talking to Republicans, and I know they're talking to Republicans, and they very much are focused on this.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: On the infrastructure bill, whether it works or not, but you have to remember that to pass a bill you got it goes to the House the Senate before it gets to the White House and there's leadership.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: In there along the way, but I know that there's nobody I've known Joe Biden for.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: 40 years and I know he is committed, I know what the staff has done that's how I know that they talked to Fred more than they talked to me.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: They tell me they don't have much they talked alyssa but I know that they are very intentional about trying to get republican votes they're not getting there.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: And we'll see I know that there are people in the White House that suggested that there should be.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: A bill that has bipartisan agreement and the rest of things should be the different bill.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: I hope i'm not making and others in the Congress did not want it to go that way, but there have been various here, I have to feel I do feel like I have to defend this administration that the President himself is trying to work with Republicans.

Nolan Finley: We have time for final remarks from each of you final thoughts on what it's going to take to make consensus governing.

Nolan Finley: The norm in Washington and in places like lansing and perhaps even in our local communities it's going to take to get back to that idea that compromise is a positive thing and not a negative thing.

Congressman Fred Upton: Is we have no choice we have no choice, do you want to get things done yet to work together and that's why i'm absolutely committed that's why debbie and alyssa on the same page Peter Meyer.

Congressman Fred Upton: Work we're all together on this and you know we're not here to to swing it windmills we're here to try and govern and do what's right for the country.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: Congress meeting is it coming together.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell: compromises in a dirty word and we need to try to do that.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And I would just say as a national security person I really feel like.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: You know, unlike the last 20 years where the greatest threat, I really felt to national security was the external threats right the foreign terrorist organizations that were seeking to attack us from abroad.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: I really think that the divisiveness between Americans is the greatest national security threat, certainly, because some people decide to like escalate and become extreme and terrorists.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: But honestly because it creates gridlock in governing and it makes people lose faith in democracy that is a threat to us, and so I guess you know, obviously in our own elected lives.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: We are all responsible for our own actions and our own decisions we've decided to think about what our roles mean for unifying the country, and until elected leaders realize that their job is to unify and not to split us apart we're going to have a real problem.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: And we're committed to working against that.

Nolan Finley: Well, we appreciate you all for, thank you for your time today, thank you for what you're doing in Congress to make this a more functional society more a more pleasant place to live, thank you all.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin: Thank you.

Congressman Fred Upton: Good to be with you.


At Oakland University we train scholars and future professionals. But more importantly, we help build informed and active citizens with an eye toward issues of public concern and importance locally, nationally and globally. Our students are empowered to think about dynamic solutions to tackle real-world problems. We challenge the status quo and train tomorrow’s leaders to collaboratively approach complicated problems and unearth new solutions that will move our communities forward.

The Oakland University Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) takes important issues of public concern and public policy out of the classroom and actively engages many different stakeholders — includes students, faculty, policy makers and community members — in non-partisan, deliberative and productive dialogue. Indeed, democracy is better served through respectful discussions about important issues.

In short, the Center for Civic Engagement acts as a “convener of conversations” on a variety of issues that impact the local, state and federal levels. These types of events are designed to lead to a more informed citizenry in the surrounding communities.

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The CCE translates academic knowledge into experiential learning by sending our students and faculty into the community to build solutions. As a “convener of conversations,” we invite and host policy experts to campus and create opportunities for the community to attend panels and engage with these experts. We provide forums for public dialogue to take place, host elected officials on campus to discuss important issues of the day, and work to take OU faculty into the community to share their expertise on a wide range of topics. Utilizing technology, these conversations are shared with an even larger audience through podcasts and social media channels. Where appropriate, CCE partners with community organizations — civic, nonprofit and other public organizations in southeastern Michigan and across the state — to expand our reach into different communities. We aim to help create a more informed citizenry and build democracy through non-partisan, respectful and deliberative discussions about important issues of public concern and policy.