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Gun laws, energy discussed during candidate forum

Second Amendment


MIDLAND — Private-public partnerships are one of the recently proposed solutions to address gun violence in the 35th State Senate race. 

Republican candidate Christian Velasquez discussed this issue, among several others, Monday at a primary election forum held by the Midland Area League of Voters. 

“The government can talk about it, but we really need to be focusing on how we get community together to drive these solutions, ” Velasquez said, when replying to a question of what gun laws he’d support or oppose. 

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization, which aims to help facilitate informed voters with active participation in government. On Monday, the League began its effort to host a series of forums, beginning with Republican candidates of the 35th State Senate district. 

However, candidate Tim Kelly on Friday announced in a press release that he rescinded commitments to participate in the forum due to concerns of partisanship.


Despite a call to his running mates to drop out of the forum, Rep. Annette Glenn, Martin Blank and Velasquez were present at the Monday forum. 

About 25 attendees watched the broadcast at the MCTV Studio, which is located in the lower level of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. The event series will be rebroadcast throughout local TV channels and YouTube. Questions to candidates were developed by the League of Women Voters. Participants had two minutes to respond, with one minute later allotted for a reply.

The forum was moderated by President Kim Steinke with the Midland Area organization. In response to Steinke’s question, “in light of the recent Supreme Court decision, what changes to the gun laws in our state, would you support or oppose?” Glenn said it’s aligned with Michigan’s “shall-issue” status, which she supports.

“I grew up in a time period when it was very common for kids to just have their rifles in the back of their pickups and after school, they’d go hunting,” she said. “I know that times have changed … but I am a firm supporter of the Second Amendment.”

Glenn shared that she is endorsed by the National Rifle Association. Velasquez acknowledged his high-level contributions to the association. 

When asked about positions on carbon-neutrality, economy-wide, Blank said he supports proposals to safeguard the environment. Right now, he said, rising fuel prices have taught voters the lessons of a fragile energy system.

“In many ways, we are going to suffer, if we aren’t proactive to ensure that we have dependent fuel sources, including pipelines,” he said. “We have to make sure that we don’t over-do-it with trying restrict the energy sources. We have to make sure that we have a safe future.”

In a short introduction, Blank described himself as a solider, not a politician. Glenn described herself as a representative, who has been blessed to serve. Velasquez described himself as a business- and family-man. 

The newly drawn district represents parts of Midland, Bay and Saginaw Counties. Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, currently represents the district and is term-limited.

Democratic candidate Kristen McDonald Rivet is running unopposed in the 35th State Senate primary election. 

Democrats running in the 39th State House district participated in a forum, following the State Senate forum. The series continues at 7 p.m. on Tuesday with the League hosting Republican candidates for the new 95th District State House seat, followed by Republican candidates for County Commissioner District 5. 

The organization has shared online information on primary election candidates for races at the federal, state and local levels at www.VOTE411.org.



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