LANSING, Mich. — U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) held a live streamed tele-town hall last night, Tuesday January 12th to speak directly with constituents about last week’s armed riots at the U.S. Capitol, and communicate with them directly on her support for the impeachment article coming before the House today. You can read the full transcript of the tele-town hall below, or watch it here [iqconnect.house.gov].Despite COVID restrictions on in-person gatherings, Slotkin feels it is critically important to be accessible and accountable to constituents, particularly given the significance of today’s vote. That is why, following her approach in 2019, when impeachment last came before the House, Slotkin invited constituents to participate in a wide-reaching town hall where she shared her position [iqconnect.house.gov] on impeachment, her perspective on the events of last week, and took questions, feedback and concerns.“Even if you disagree vehemently, I appreciate you taking the time to listen, I appreciate you engaging in tough but meaningful, and civil questions,” Slotkin said on the call. “That is what our democracy is about.”“What I know is there is no answer to just go to our separate corners and say, 'to heck with the other side, I'm not going to engage with them, we can't do that,'” Slotkin continued. “I see it as part of my responsibility as an elected official in the era that we live in to help use my convening authority to bring people together.”Transcript of Rep. Slotkin's Tele-Town Hall
Elissa Slotkin: Thank you for joining us for a tele-town hall. I am Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin. I'm actually coming to you from my office in Washington, DC, where I just arrived. And I wanted to have a town hall to talk about the events that have been going on in the past week, the legislation that we're going to be considering here in Washington over the next couple of days, including on impeachment, and talk about where we go from here. Particularly, knowing that in mid Michigan, we've been thinking about these issues for a lot longer than the rest of the country, I wanted to take the opportunity to come together, provide an opportunity for people to ask questions directly of me, and to have a conversation as a community about what's been going on.Unfortunately, because of COVID (I would have much prefered to do another big, large, town hall style type meeting), so people could ask directly, you know, straight to my face. But for tonight, if you press star three, you can use that to ask your questions. Star three is how you ask questions, and we will take those as they come in, in addition to questions that have been taken online. So what I'd like to do is first just review the bidding on what happened last Wednesday, as many of you know, and watched in real time on TV. We had armed individuals come into the US Capitol, get past security, and threaten people inside and I will just tell you, from my perspective, I was here in my office, literally in this room and had decided that I was going to go walk to the House floor. Because that day we were debating and discussing the certification of the November election and the win of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, typically more or less a perfunctory kind of basic thing that we would do. Congress’ role is just kind of to stamp the decision by the states. In this case, we know given that there were some members of Congress and others who were contesting the results of the election, it became a day of debate, a day to defend the vote, and indeed, the Michigan delegation, and myself included, were prepared to discuss and defend and rebut an objection on Michigan's results. So it became an interesting day. And as folks know, the President addressed the crowd of protesters who he had been urging to come to Washington, many Michiganders, many of our neighbors came in for that event. We know that buses left from our district, we know that flights were full or nearly nearly full flying from Detroit to DC. And we've seen lots of folks who have posted online about their participation in the protest. At a certain point, I decided that I was going to go to the floor of the House. So I walked out of my office building, I walked through the tunnel that links this office building to the Capitol, and I was starting to walk up a simple one flight of stairs that would put me right at the floor of the House. I started stepping on the first or second step and immediately heard very unsettling noises coming from that one flight above. I heard screaming and yelling the breaking of glass. I heard what I thought was a flashbang, which is a crowd control technique that I've heard law enforcement use. It may have at that point, given the timing, been a gunshot when a woman unfortunately was killed, but I immediately clicked into a different mode, a mode that I was frankly more used to from serving three tours in Iraq alongside the military. And they always train you, get off the axe, meaning get off of the bullseye, get out of the area. And so I turned around and headed and hightailed it back to my office and locked the doors. Congressman Andy Levin, could not get back to his office, he texted “Are you in your office? Can I come to your office?” And he and his chief of staff came here, and spent the rest of the afternoon -- When we saw that they were using tear gas in the Capitol, which is just still kind of unbelievable to me, we pulled out our black duffel bags that members of Congress are given where we had chemical hoods to protect us. We didn't have to use them, but we were prepared to use them. And then I spent, frankly, the rest of the afternoon on the phone, particularly over at the Pentagon, as someone who had worked at the Pentagon for many years, I still have close relationships with the senior leadership over there and asking them to as soon as possible help get the National Guard here and indeed, the National Guard is now here in force and I will just say, just coming down from the airport, getting on to the Capitol grounds is a completely different experience in that today, there are national guardsmen all over the place, the security is heightened. There are steel barriers, large cages and fences. I mean, it's a completely different picture, and much more security now, in and around Capitol grounds. But I will say that a lot of my peers experienced some really harrowing things inside the floor of the house, particularly people who were up in the gallery in the second floor. And I don't think people should underestimate how much trauma some people went through. And I know from you know, working alongside the military, my whole life, a lot of folks are feeling a lot of stress right now and distress, and it's affecting them. And I just feel for them and have been having a lot of really personal conversations with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Now, I think I just want to be clear about what, how I saw those events because it affects the decisions I'm going to make on legislation, as soon as tonight and tomorrow. I really believe that this meets the definition of a violent insurrection. And unfortunately, as I listened to the President's speech as he addressed people in the protest, and then certainly in the weeks prior, I believe that the President incited this and he encouraged people to come, he said it would be wild. Other speakers talked about it being you know, mortal kombat, that we were going to be trial by combat, a lot of language that was encouraging folks to take matters into their own. Certainly imploring Vice President Pence, who was presiding, he and his family were here in the building and had to be ushered out very quickly to change the results of the election not to certify the election. And as someone who was a former CIA analyst, and a Pentagon official, what I saw, really meets the definition of terrorism, right? I've worked on preventing terrorist attacks from Al Qaeda, and ISIS and my entire adult life because I happened to be in New York City on 911. And the textbook definition of terrorism is the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims. And that is what I believe the folks who came through the doors trying to disrupt the certification the election were attempting to do. And I also believe it meets the definition of an insurrection, which is a violent uprising against government, in this case, against the branch of government that I sit in. And this to me was really beyond the pale: it resulted in five deaths, including the very violent death of a Capitol Police officer, who was bludgeoned to death. From what we can tell, we've had another Capitol Police Officer ultimately commit suicide, and others have been turning in their service weapons because they are concerned about self harm. And the attack was not just against us in Congress, but against our Constitution, our constitutional processes, and our democracy itself. And for me, as someone who has taken the oath to protect and defend the Constitution over and over in my life, in the CIA, in my life at the Pentagon, and now in my life as a Congresswoman, this really struck me to my core, and I believe the President has violated that same oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. And I also think we just can't allow politics to be metered out by the violence. That is a dangerous road, right? Whether it's trying to overturn the results of the November election, whether it's attacking the Oakland County Republican headquarters last night, which is what happened in our district in our area last night. We just cannot use vandalism and violence, to have a political conversation that goes nowhere good. And it just starts a process that I believe is truly threatening to our democracy.We're doing a couple of things. legislatively, and they are controversial. That is why I'm doing this call right now, because I know that there are many extremely strong views and there are many people in the Eighth District who don't agree with probably much of what I just said. So this is an opportunity to have this debate and conversation. Tonight we are voting on a piece of legislation that invokes the 25th Amendment, which basically is an amendment to the constitution that allows for the removal of a president if he is unfit or unwell to perform his duty. It is urging the Vice President and the Cabinet to move and to invoke the 25th Amendment to follow that process. And we are voting on that. And I will be voting yes. I think that if the president uses his voice to incite violence against another branch of government, and that means he is not well, and it is certainly not well for the country. So I will be voting yes on that. And we have been asking the vice president to act and we heard through various statements today that it is unlikely the Vice President is going to act. So tomorrow, we do have a very controversial vote. We have a vote planned for tomorrow, I believe, tomorrow afternoon, to impeach the president. Now, we know that this is the strongest measure that the House of Representatives, that the Congress can take. And I really thought about it, because while I'm I believe that you can't let this go unanswered, that you can't just tolerate as Americans, people inciting violence within our own government. And the timing couldn't be worse. We are very close to the inauguration of a new president, January 20. Next week, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be inaugurated and will be sworn in as the President and the Vice President. And it is indeed unprecedented to pursue an impeachment with such a short time left. And it is very true that it is unclear what the Senate will do. It is unclear whether they will convict. It is unclear in what timeline, they would take up the required trial, all of those things are indeed open questions. And I certainly don't deny that. But I could not accept the idea that with such a historic event and the visual of the US Capitol being attacked, you know, I just got so many texts and phone calls from teachers who had to stop in the middle of their lesson, especially with kids at home with the TV going in the other room, and had to try and explain to our children, what was happening, the symbol that every second grader learns about, the Capitol, the people's house being attacked. I do not believe that we can get beyond this point without some accountability. And I personally think that even though the timeline, like I said, couldn't be worse, it is important that the House that was attacked use the strongest measures available to us to say, “No, we don't accept this in our politics.” So there will be a vote tomorrow, I will say it will be a bipartisan vote, we already know as of this hour of two Republicans, very brave, who have come forward and said that they are going to vote in support of impeachment of the President. I've had some really emotional heart to hearts with my Republican colleagues just in the last few hours, who are debating this issue who don't know how they're going to vote tomorrow. And for many of them, the big question is the timing. And I just think that just like when someone does something wrong in normal life, you don't get to choose whether to hold them accountable. Because the timing is bad, you still have to send that signal for history and for our kids. So that's the vote that's going to happen tomorrow. Now, the other thing I've heard, which I certainly understand is this concern that the vote on impeachment will enhance the division between us and that it will create more tension. And I understand that. I certainly know that it's a hot topic among our constituents in the Eighth District.I have to tell you, I really think as a national security professional, that what happened last week on the 6that the Capitol was a generational event. And it really kicked off a very different era in our national security. You know, I believe now, the greatest threat to American national security is the division between us. It's that Americans are so polarized, that we are looking at different media and consuming different culture. That we are dividing into communities that sort of serve as echo chambers that only talk to themselves and that's on both sides. And certainly in the Eighth District. We know we're so politically diverse from Rochester Hills to Holly where I live, to Brighton and Howell and Lansing and East Lansing. We have a very politically diverse community. But we can’t hold back accountability because of fear of the very mob that attacked the Capitol, because of the fear of the very same lawless folks who terrorized people last week. And we have to be stronger than that. Our democracy has to be stronger than that. But we will have quite a bit of work to do to heal and to figure out how we as Americans come together again, how we as neighbors, as families, you know, my family is a politically divided family. And it's tough, it can be very tough. And I think of Michigan's Eighth District as as a place that's been dealing with some of this violence and threat of violence since April and before when our capital in our district was taken over, when the plot to kidnap and assassinate our governor was uncovered by the FBI, in our district, and we've been grappling with this for some time. And what I know is there is no answer to just go to our separate corners and say, to heck with the other side, I'm not going to engage with them, we can't do that.What I think is a positive way forward is something that I experienced today. I had a previously scheduled event in Holly, with the business community in particular, particularly with our restaurant owners who have been put through the wringer this past year with COVID, who have really been where the rubber hits the road on just the changes in policy, due to the public health emergency in the global pandemic. And, as most people know, Holly is not some bastion of liberalism, it's not a Democratic leaning place. And I went there to work on something of common interest, which is saving our local businesses. And we had Republican elected leaders from the Michigan House and Senate who joined me there in the downtown business authority hosted the event. And what gave me real hope, what made me feel very positive and just warmed my heart was that I had a ton of people come up to me and say, you know, I didn't vote for you - but that violence is not okay. I hope you're all right. I'm sorry, you had to go through that. That's not okay. That's not the America that we know. Those were people that I knew, elected officials and, and local officials who I knew, but that's also business owners who I've never had the opportunity to meet. And I will tell you that I've had a pretty heavy heart, meeting with people who are different politically, but who know and appreciate that democracy is fragile, and we can't let it descend into chaos, that gave me more hope than almost anything in the past four or five days. Part of it for me is working on the things that we have in common. It is very hard to have a political conversation right now. Trust me, even with my own beloved, in laws, who I love, it is a hard thing to talk about politics. But you know what we can do, we can build back that trust, put some money in the bank with each other by focusing on issues of common purpose. So maybe that's saving our small businesses, which should be the interest of all of us right now. Maybe that's making sure that people who are out of work have what they need by doing community service, and engaging with people who we might not otherwise engage with. And maybe it's getting more invested in a topic that we're passionate about anyways, right? I did that too. You know, dogs, foster dogs, rescues in the past six months. And it's introduced me to a totally different community of people who passionately care about saving dogs. We don't need to talk about politics, we can talk about that, and build back that trust and connective tissue so that we can get to the point of talking about our disagreements without being angry and disagreeable. That is the Michigan that I knew, that I grew up with. And I refuse to believe that that's over. I refuse to believe it. So, going forward, we have an inauguration next week. And then we need to chart that path forward. I see it as part of my responsibility as an elected official, in the era that we live in, to help use my convening authority to bring people together. If you want to be a part of that, please reach out to our office and my team - we have never shut down our office. We're still working. First of all, we can help you with any problem you're having with the federal government, Social Security, the VA, the IRS, we've helped get back over a million dollars for our constituents in the past two years. Please put us in and let us fight to get you what you deserve. But it's also a place you should reach out to if you want to be a part of figuring out how we chart the path forward as a district in mid Michigan as a state and as a country. Because we know that democracy is fragile. This experiment, the greatest concept ever invented in the history of the world does not survive on its own. It takes all of us to keep it alive. So my team has put the contact information here, but for those on the phone 517-993-0510, please reach out to us or through our website at slotkin.house.gov. So I'm going to take your questions now. I can imagine there's a lot of interesting questions, I welcome that, please press star three to get into line. And, if you'd like to receive our regular newsletter, to find out about these events and other events -- we're having a big webinar on the new PPP loan program for small businesses on Friday. If you want to find out about stuff like that, press star six, and we'll get you on the list. But star three to ask a question, and now I'll turn to my colleague Alexa to tell us who has the first question.Alexa: Hi, everyone. My name is Alexa Stanard and I’m the Congresswoman's district director. So we are going to start with some live questions and people also submitted questions online, which is great. When I call on you, you'll hear a little ding on your phone and then you can go ahead and ask your question. So we will take our first question from Mr. David Arthur Wood from Rochester Hills, Mr. Wood, go ahead.Wood: I was just wondering why we're not spending more time getting COVID vaccinations for Oakland County and putting the 10 days that the President has left behind, learn from the lesson and move on because too many people, as a firefighter, I know they're suffering with COVID. And they can't live without it. And Oakland County does not have the COVID vaccinations for enough people.Elissa Slotkin: Certainly, the only other thing that I'm focusing on right now is COVID. And before this past week, the number one question just like yours was when can I get the vaccine? Where is the vaccine, what's going on with the vaccine and I was speaking with Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard today about this very thing. He has not been able to vaccinate all of his officers, which of course, we're in category one. And certainly, as a firefighter, you're in category one. The first category to get vaccinated. I'll be honest, we have a couple of different things going on here. Number one, we have a supply problem. Every state in the country is clamoring to get their hands on more vaccines. I don't know one member of Congress who isn't just flooded with work with requests because people are desperate because this is our light at the end of the tunnel. Right? This is how we get out of this thing. So there's a supply issue. And then there's a distribution issue. And the truth is, for folks on this call from Oakland County, it has been in particular, really difficult, and a really, disproportionately small supply of the vaccine. I think in Livingston County, and in Ingham County, there's now a process by which you go to your Public Health website for your county, you can now register, but in Oakland County, you can't. And this is the exact issue I was talking about. What we need is to turn the tap on on the supply. And then frankly, we need a commitment from the state from everybody involved. Just like other states, I've seen that there is a short amount of time between when you receive that supply and when you turn around and use it and we are putting out fires on this issue everywhere. And I assure you that in addition to what's going on right now with Washington, the only other thing we are working on is figuring out how to get and keep the vaccine. And I'll be honest, it hasn't been a smooth road. I'm certainly aware of that and engaging both our state leadership and federal leadership to speed up the process.Alexa: Great. So next we will go to Bonnie from Rochester Hills who has a question about impeachment. Let me go ahead.Bonnie: Hi, it's not really about impeachment. I voted for you Elissa, and, honestly I wish I hadn't but I hope that you will be willing to, you know hear my voice because I am one that is interested in unity moving forward. And I think the only way that we're going to achieve that is if we're honest with each other, and use the same standard for everybody, which is the fairness test, which is the shoe on the other foot test. You know, so if you didn't see the riots and this summer all over this country that burned down our cities, then, you know, are you surprised that it's at your front door? And with 170 investigations going on right now, you know, I think that this is a rush to judgment to say who's responsible for this? So you know, with the digital iron curtain that this just fell over the weekend, you know, I want to know, what is it that you're really willing to do? Because people just want to be heard. That's the bottom line. People just want to be heard. And on my last question, okay, Congresswoman.Elissa Slotkin: Not sure if she was cut off. I'm sorry. So listen, it is clear that our country is going through something. And the violence that we saw last summer is unacceptable. Whether it's in Portland or Seattle, all of these places where people were using vandalism and violence and threats of violence. That is not okay either. It is not okay whether it's something local, like attacking a local political office in Oakland County. It's not okay if it's in someone else's city. It's not okay certainly, if it's the House of Representatives, right, and the US Senate. I will try and endeavor to be even-handed when it comes to violence, because as someone who's a national security professional, who literally has been working my whole life to prevent violent attacks on the United States, I can't stand violence. And it's illegal, it should be prosecuted. But when we're talking about accountability, there needs to be accountability. If people have threatened and used violence in Portland, Oregon, they should be arrested and held accountable. If they entered into the US Capitol, threatening violence with zip ties to kidnap, they should be held accountable. And that's what's going on today. So I will endeavor always to take an even hand on that. I have tried, every time there's been instances of violence, to call it out and to condemn it. And all I can do is say to you that I reject, no matter what everyone has the right to free speech, no one has the right to use violence to make their political point. It doesn't matter if you're protesting the murder of George Floyd. And that doesn't matter if you're protesting what you believe the results of the election are period, period. And I hope you give me the opportunity to show and demonstrate that in my actions, but also by reaching out to us. I mean, I'm a cheap date people. I will meet with people who reach out to us and ask for a meeting and especially now with COVID. It's so easy if people have Zoom or FaceTime. So please reach out to us. I'm willing to have a conversation with literally anybody.Alexa: Okay, next about a Thad from Rochester Hills. Thad go ahead.Thad: Hello, Congresswoman. Before I could ask you my question, I just want to say that my wife and I also rescued two dogs last spring. So it's really cool to hear that you did the same. What I wanted to ask about was you've spoken about unity, and you did mention that there has to be accountability. But what I want to know is how is that achieved without any accountability for your colleagues, some of whom continue to behave in the most irresponsible fashion, whether it's not even wearing a mask to help prevent COVID or continuing to egg on these lost causers that attacked the Capitol last week? And two, how do you have the discussion with people who call everything Democrats do socialism and make pedophilia accusations and everything else? How do you have unity when one side doesn't exist on the same factual plane as everyone else?Elissa Slotkin - Well, and frankly, I certainly know that, that people feel that way on both sides. I've heard that strong feeling from people on both sides. Let me just say a couple of things. First of all, for my peers, because there are members of Congress who addressed the crowd, who encouraged them to march on the Capitol, who encouraged them to use any means necessary to make sure we overturned the results of the election. I have said publicly, but I will restate here that, for my peers who may have done the same type of incitement, they should also be held accountable, either through censure, which is something that can be done here in Congress, or through an ethics review. I agree with you, watching 200 of my peers have to be herded into a room, a tight space for security reasons. And watching some of my peers refuse to wear a mask was really painful, because you can make that choice for yourself. But there were many members of Congress who were there, who, you know, for instance, a woman representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, has now tested positive, and she just got over cancer, I mean, just 18 months ago. And when my peers were asked, they refused to put on a mask, they were given a mask, and they refused to put it on that it was hard to watch, in retrospect. And especially with so many folks getting COVID. But certainly, anyone who meets the definition of incitement should be held accountable, no matter who they are, and at what level. In terms of how you have the conversation, this is tough, right? Right now everybody feels very firmly that their side is right. They feel very firmly that their side is doing their patriotic duty. And neither side is really willing to give an inch on what's okay. And in those moments, what I do is go back to principles. And the principles, frankly, of the founding of this country, the principles that are in our Constitution. We don't threaten violence, if your side is threatening violence, you need to rethink your choices. You need to have an honest conversation with yourself. If you're believing something and spreading something that you can't actually verify, again, on all sides, we all just need to be much, much less trigger happy on the posting and reposting and the sharing of information because things are not always what they seem. But then as I said, if the conversation is so difficult to have, then maybe right now is not the exact moment to try and do it. Maybe what we should be talking about, again, in our communities, is rescuing puppies, is saving our small businesses, is something that allows us to build back some of that trust, because only when you have those trusting relationships, can you get past what we're going through right now. It's not a refusal to face it. It's acknowledging that while we deal with our principles and fight for our principles, we also have to remember to build back that connective tissue within our communities. And it's difficult, but it is our responsibility because we all care about our communities. That is something we have in common. We care about our country and we care about our communities, and we have to start there.Alexa: Okay, as a reminder, if you would like to ask a question, just hit star three on your phone. And if you would like to get our E-newsletter sent to you in the future, just hit star six. Let's go now to Beth, who has a question about security. Beth, go ahead.Beth: Good evening Congresswoman Slotkin, thank you so much for representing us in a thoughtful and well reasoned manner. My question is, I'm glad that you're alright. My question is related to ongoing security of members of Congress and the administration moving forward from now and post election. Are you safe?Elissa Slotkin: Thank you Beth. And thank you for your concern. I am indeed safe, as I said, the security posture out and around the Capitol is totally different. And the, frankly, because we're so close to the inauguration, which is a big sort of historical national security event, we have just extended some of the authorities and protections that would normally just come kind of the last day before the inauguration and Inauguration Day, those have been extended and have already begun. So the security here, I think, is strong. I obviously am doing lots of things to make sure that I am protected at home, as are many members of Congress, local law enforcement have been wonderful about being helpful. But I will tell you that, certainly, because I've spent years of my life serving in Iraq, I have adjusted to this heightened, stressful environment in a different way than many of my peers. And many of my peers, both from Michigan and beyond, who were here are really frightened. And not all of them are, are flying back in and voting in person, they're going to vote by proxy, they're going to not attend the inauguration, there is definitely fear. And that's a sad statement. And I am deeply saddened that they fear for their lives. And so I think I acknowledge that in them. I feel safe, law enforcement has been great. I talked to the head of the FBI in Michigan, the Special Agent in Charge, about a whole range of what we're seeing in Michigan. And certainly, I think we'll hear about more arrests of folks from Michigan who came into town and were part of the group that came in violently into the Capitol so, I believe law enforcement is taking this very seriously. And in terms of the Capitol Police, there'll be plenty of time for a true after action review on what happened that day. I personally saw amazing acts of heroism, I'm talking about the Capitol Police who were the only ones putting their full weight against a door, people smashing the glass into the you know, punching it through. And this officer just risking his life, as we know so many did, to try and protect this institution and the people in it. But I thank you for your concern. And I'm just, I'm sad for the country and for my peers, where we are right now.Alexa: So next, we're gonna go to Mike from Rose Township who has a question about getting the vaccine for older people. Go ahead Mike.Mike: Well, thank you for taking my call. What about older people getting around? And where’s it going to be available?Elissa Slotkin: Sorry, say that last part again, Mike?Alexa: Oh, sorry. He just was asking where he can get it and when it'll be available.Elissa Slotkin: Okay. So what we've had go on with the vaccine is the governor has opened it up to people who qualify in what's called category 1A, which tends to be healthcare workers, frontline health care workers, police, firemen, first responders, people who are really engaging with the public, you know, providing CPR, helping people get through their day with a medical emergency. And then the governor extended it to category 1B which includes older people over the age of 65. It includes K through 12 teachers, anyone who's in direct childcare work, and a bunch of other folks. The best place to get all the information and to ultimately register yourself for the vaccine is at the Oakland County, in your case, Oakland County Health Department website. Or if you're in Ingham County, go to the Ingham County Health Department website and Livingston, the Livingston County Health Department, and there you can register for your vaccine. Now, as I mentioned to a previous caller, Oakland County, it’s not the county, they are struggling with supply, they do not have the supply right now. So you can go there but you cannot get registered for an appointment to get your vaccine. I would still go to the website, familiarize yourself with it. And my hope and my expectation is that in the coming days and weeks, those appointments will open up and you will be able to successfully register. And I know that everybody is worried about this and interested, please go to the website. You can also go to your county website, please. You can also go to.gov/COVIDvaccine. But my hope is in the next days and weeks you, Mike in Rose Township, and anybody else over 65 will at least be able to register for your appointment.Alexa: Okay, great. So next we're going to go to Alex from Lake Orion who has a question about the timeline for impeachment, go ahead.Alex: Hi, thank you for taking my call. First and foremost, I just want to say that I was relieved to hear that you were able to get through that violence at the Capitol safe and sound. So I just wanted to say that first. With my question, I could not begin to agree with you more on your analysis of defining what we saw as sedition and as an act of terrorism. So with that being said, what is the virtue of voting on a resolution calling on Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, compared to beginning the argument for impeachment on Tuesday today, rather than tomorrow?Elissa Slotkin: Yeah. So, I think a lot of this has to do with the pretty extraordinary circumstance of going through these events in the last 10 days of President Trump's presidency. And the fastest and most efficient way to remove a president from day to day authority, is to invoke the 25th amendment. So it was our hope, our request that Vice President Pence and the cabinet, take that initiative. We've been talking about that and asking for that just verbally since last week. And this is a way to formalize that request, and it still would be the fastest and most efficient way. But we make the fair assumption that that's unlikely to happen. And so we are moving to impeachment 24 hours later. And, of course, if something changes, I think we would, you know, potentially take the impeachment off the table. Certainly I would advocate for that. And, frankly, if the President had departed for Mar-a-Lago and given day to day responsibility to Vice President Pence, in these last few days, that would have been an important step and measure for me to consider. But that is the origin and why we have the sequence the way we do. It's all sort of a bit odd because of this very short timeline with which the President is still the president of the United States.Alexa: So, some people have submitted some questions online. So I'm going to shift gears to one of those questions. An individual named Carvin Lee asked why engage in impeachment when we're going to have a new president sworn in next week?Elissa Slotkin: Yeah, so this is what I was trying to address earlier in my comments. We couldn't have sort of worse timing in terms of taking, frankly, accountability measures for what we saw last Wednesday. And certainly, I understand how the short timeline makes it easy for people to say, “Let's just sweep it aside. He's almost out. We'll have a new president, a new vice president. Let's move on with our lives.” And I can see why for some people that would feel very comforting. But I think what we saw on Wednesday was a generational event. I mean, it was the kind of thing for a lot of people like 9/11, you turn on the TV, and you sort of stop in place. And you remember where you were and who you were with when you saw the Capitol being attacked. It just, in the scope of history, I think it will be a very big deal. Nothing like this has happened since the War of 1812. We haven't had people come inside the Capitol and violently attack. So I don't think it's correct or principled, to let it go unanswered. And while I absolutely can see why that accountability is made more confusing with the short timeline that the President has, I don't think it stops us from having responsibility to respond. I think that's important as the body that was attacked, the US Congress, but I think it's also important for history. For our kids, when they read about this, for our grandkids, when they read about this, and they say a mob went into our Capitol and tried to stop the democratic process, whether you like that democratic process or not, it was proceeding and it was the vice president who really was the convener of this moment and kept it going when we came back into session. So I just, I understand why it makes it much more complex. I understand the instinct to say let's just forget that and move on. But I think for history sake, for our grandkids sake, for sending the signal that violence can't be the way that we figure out our problems politically, I think it's important to send a strong message. And this is the strongest message this body has available to it.Alexa: So we're going to take one last question. As a reminder, if you'd like to get our E-newsletter, please just hit star six. And we will get your email address, we send emails with lots of good resources, especially during this pandemic, ways to get help and ways to connect with different agencies and government that can help you. So star six to give us your email address to get our E-newsletter. Our last question for tonight is from, also submitted online from James Kotsky, who's asking what are the top actions that you want to recommend that could lead us to reduce the divide in this country, top actions to reduce the divide in this country?Elissa Slotkin: Great question James. This is going to be something that we do together, as an Eighth District, as mid Michigan, as the state of Michigan, I think that we can be real leaders in this place in this space. Because we are a swing state, we are a politically mixed state, we've got every different view under the sun, right in our one state. That's why people come to us and, you know, do articles about us and care about our vote during the election. So I think that we can be real leaders on this. So I think number one, we need to turn the temperature down. We all need to check ourselves, no matter what you believe and who you are, we all need to check ourselves and say, I'm not going to be a part of spinning this up, of making this more intense. I'm not going to allow and accept myself to sort of add to the extreme tension that's going on. And I'd ask everyone to take some personal responsibility there. And that includes me. Certainly, I was emotional, the day that I could not get a hold of some of my peers when they were sort of on their stomachs getting out of the Capitol, but you got to know yourself and bring the temperature down. That's number one. Number two, like I said, we got to figure out how we connect with our community, not on politics, but on something else that we all care about. If you're into community service, choose to do more community service. If you care about anything, if you care about bringing more performances to your community, if you care about enhancing the farmers market, if you care about making a greater Christmas parade, something that invests and reinvests you in your community, to be working with people who may have very different political views. And I'm not asking you to get into a political fight, I don't want us to do that. I want us to build back some of that connective tissue. So decide if, you know, we're pretty close to New Year's and make a New Year's resolution that you're going to reinvest in some way in your community. And getting outside your bubble, whatever side of it you're on, getting outside your bubble a little bit and reconnecting with your community. And number three, I think just get real clear with your own principles and red lines. And I hope and I believe that most Michiganders abhor violence, the use of violence. Take some principles into whatever discussion you go into and if someone is choosing violence around you, you need to call that out for what it is, which is breaking faith with the community, breaking faith with how we conduct ourselves in our democracy. And I think those are the things I would recommend. On a bigger level, I got to tell you, I'm a big believer in a service, a program of national service for young people, 18 months of community service after you graduate high school and helps you pay for college. You get to meet Americans of all stripes from different parts of the country so that we can remember what makes us American and connect with each other again. But the more we separate into silos, that ends nowhere good. We cannot live separately. We are one country with one destiny. And we all need to live that in how we conduct ourselves in our lives. So that's my best advice to a very, very important question.Alexa: Thank you. I will give it to the Congresswoman for closing remarks in one moment here but just as a reminder to please hit star six if you'd like to get our E-newsletter, and Congresswoman if you'd like to close this out for the night.Elissa Slotkin: Sure. Thank you for participating. Thank you for listening. I know that this is extremely hard stuff, I know that we are in a very tense moment in our history. And frankly, when we had this discussion about whether to have a town hall, there are plenty of people who said, just let's just keep it quiet, let's just, you know, not engage with people who think differently. And that just, that isn't an answer for me. So even if you disagree vehemently, and I know many of you do, and I appreciate you taking the time to listen, I appreciate you engaging in tough but meaningful, and civil questions. That is what our democracy is about. And I'm proud every single day to represent this district because I know that even if we have different views, the majority of us would never wish each other harm. So I thank you for your leadership in the coming weeks, we're going to need it. It's not just our senior leaders, our senior most leaders who can provide leadership, you can provide leadership in your own community, in your own household, in your own lives. And I thank you for that, on top of everything that's going on with COVID and the fallout from that. Please contact our office, even if you're a little skeptical, reach out to us and give us a chance to work and fight on your behalf with the federal government and whoever else. So thanks so much, and have a great night, everybody.
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