MARQUETTE - The middle class is on the ballot, according to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-East Lansing, who made a campaign stop in Marquette Monday night.
"It all adds up to the same thing - are we going to have a middle class?" she asked the crowd gathered inside the Democratic party headquarters on Washington Street. "Are we going to have the ability for people to work hard and get into the middle class, or not? Is our country going to be about a privileged few, or is it going to be about everybody having a fair shot?"
Stabenow stopped by the headquarters after spending time at Peter White Public Library with local veterans who had recorded a radio spot endorsing Stabenow.
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-East Lansing, speaks to a group of supporters Monday in Marquette’s Democratic headquarters. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
Stabenow covered many topics in her roughly 20-minute speech, ranging from Michigan ballot proposals to tax policies to women's rights.
"For the women in the room, I don't know if this is 2012 or 1912," she said. "For every man in the room who loves the women in their lives, this is astounding. I got involved in politics when I was in college in the '70s. I thought we won these things."
Stabenow said women's access to health care, birth control and equal pay for equal work are all pivotal economic issues as more families become dependent on two full-time incomes.
She also spoke about Social Security and Medicare - slamming the Republicans' voucher plan for Medicare - and campaigned for other Democrats running in Michigan races, before speaking one-on-one with the constituents gathered in the room.
Marquette resident Jeanee Garlitz, 23, asked Stabenow to autograph a yard sign for her after she was done speaking, having made plans to attend the event as soon as she heard Stabenow would be in Marquette.
"This election (is) huge on women's rights, and it's nice to see a lady that you can relate to and you can say, 'You know what? She's a woman and she's for other women,' " Garlitz said. "She said everything that I was hoping she possibly could of, everything that needed to be said. ... It's very inspiring, being able to see a lady that you can relate to saying stuff that everyone wants to and needs to hear."
At the end of her speech, Stabenow stressed the importance of getting out the vote as time winds down to election day.
"If I don't sleep for eight days, you don't have to sleep for eight days," she quipped. "Put on the coffee ... we got a lot of work to do."
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.