After spending nearly 40 years as a prosecutor, attorney and judge, Democrat Carl Marlinga is making a run for Congress. He's facing a fellow newcomer who is a familiar face in the Republican party, John James, a businessman and a veteran who has run for the U.S. Senate twice.
The two will face off in Michigan's newly-drawn 10th District, which covers a large portion of Macomb County and some parts of Oakland County including Rochester and Rochester Hills. I met with both candidates ahead of the election to talk about the issues.
Marlinga is a former Macomb County judge, a prosecutor and a U.S. Assistant Attorney. During his career, he said he set up special units for sexual assault victims, elder abuse, and established a mental health court. He has also done work with The Innocence Project.
"I've been have been proud of my work as a judge. I've been very proud of my work as a prosecutor and been very proud of my work as a defense attorney. The whole goal being to maximize justice in the system," he said.
James, his opponent, is an army veteran and West Point grad who now serves as president of his family's logistics company. He's a married father of three who lost two races for U.S. Senate in 2018 and 2020.
"Somebody who understands national security is somebody who can help make our nation safer and somebody who understands supply chain management, especially in this district, which will be the number one manufacturing district in the nation," he said.
When it comes to the economy and inflation, Marlinga said the U.S. needs to become more energy-independent and believes the key is to produce more clean, renewable energy in the U.S. while adding jobs.
"Even moving in that direction is going to have an effect on gas prices, because if the OPEC countries know that there is a serious chance that we can divest ourselves entirely from the need for oil and gas, they will not hold us up as they have in the past," Marlinga said.
James scolded the Biden administration for giving an additional $80 million in funding for the IRS, saying he wants to lower taxes.
We should be allowing more folks to achieve the American dream. And I'm going to be doing everything I can to allow folks to work for themselves, lower taxes, and make sure we can keep our community safer," James said.
Other issues they differed on were abortion. James said he's anti-abortion and against Proposal 3, while Marlinga is for abortion rights and supports Proposal 3.
As for gun control, Marlinga called for red flag laws, raising the age to purchase a gun to 21, and restrictions on high-capacity weapons.
"There is no reason why weapons of war like that should be in the hands of ordinary people," Marlinga said.
"We absolutely have to keep our promise to keep our community safer, to keep our children safe. But also we have to keep our promise to uphold the Bill of Rights in our Constitution," James said.
When it came to police funding, both candidates had a similar answer.
"Well, instead of defunding the police, we have to fund the police. What we have to do is to make sure that our police organizations are fully funded to have their traditional duties, but also to have additional staff to be able to deal with the underlying social causes of crime," Marlinga said.
"We must support our police. We must make sure that communities have the resources they need to stay safe. We must secure our border. We must make sure that we lower crime," James said.
Watch their entire interviews below