Voters are heading to the polls for primary races in four states today: Missouri, Kansas, Michigan and Washington state. In Michigan, former Detroit Health Commissioner Abdul El-Sayed is facing off against Gretchen Whitmer for the Democratic nomination for Michigan’s governor. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, New York congressional Democratic nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive leaders have endorsed El-Sayed, who is vying to become the nation’s first Muslim governor. This is Dr. Abdul El-Sayed speaking with The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan about what he would do on his first day of office, if elected.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Number one, I want to shut down Line 5. Our Great Lakes account for 20 percent of the world’s freshwater, 85 percent of the water in North America. And right now we’ve got an oil pipeline that’s 15 years past when it was supposed to shut down, that’s already had several incidents. We’ve got to shut down that Line 5, because we’ve got to protect that water. There are also issues related to water in Flint and Detroit. And in Flint, I want to set up a Flint task force that would work on, within the first year, getting all of the lead piping out of the ground, so that folks can drink easily in the city of Flint. They have suffered too much, and they still don’t have clean water. And then we need to put a moratorium on water shutoffs in the city of Detroit. The city alone, this summer, shut down about 17,000 homes from having basic access to water because they can’t pay. Meanwhile, we’ve got Nestlé bottling our freshwater for $400 a year, and folks have to pay $400 a month in Detroit. I want to put a moratorium on that, as well.”
Abdul El-Sayed is one of a handful of Muslim-American candidates on the ballot today in Michigan. Former state legislator Rashida Tlaib and former Obama administration official Fayrouz Saad are also running for congressional seats. Meanwhile, in Kansas, a crowded congressional race pits progressive labor lawyer Brent Welder against Sharice Davids, a Native American lawyer and former mixed martial arts fighter.
And in Ohio, Republicans are scrambling to avoid an embarrassing defeat in a special congressional election in a district Republicans have held for decades. Republican Troy Balderson is facing Democrat Danny O’Connor. Both Democrats and Republicans have poured millions into the race to replace Ohio Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi.