Detroit Regional Chamber > Mackinac Policy Conference > Michigan GOP Candidates Discuss Abortion Rights, Bipartisanship at Mackinac

Michigan GOP Candidates Discuss Abortion Rights, Bipartisanship at Mackinac

June 2, 2022
On the last day of the 2022 Mackinac Policy Conference, the Detroit Regional Chamber hosted a Gubernatorial Debate featuring Michigan Republican candidates Tudor Dixon, Ralph Rebandt, Kevin Rinke, and Garrett Soldano.

Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Sandy K. Baruah opened the debate with a call for


civility in line with the Conference’s theme, sharing, “civility still lives here and lives with all of us who attend this event on an annual basis, regardless to who’s on stage and what their views are.”

The debate, moderated by WOOD-TV 8 Political Reporter Rick Albin and Michigan Public Radio Network Senior Capitol Correspondent Rick Pluta, focused on abortion rights, election integrity, state budget, bipartisanship, school safety, and gun control, mental health, and roads and infrastructure.  Here are a couple of highlights. View the video above to watch the entire debate.

On Abortion Rights

Tudor Dixon: “I am unapologetically pro-life. I believe that we have to protect our babies and that we have to come around to the people of the state of Michigan to make sure that we support mothers. We have to make sure that families are supported in this state. We need to look at the policies of this state to make sure that this state is family friendly.”

Ralph Rebandt: “What I would, first of all, do is ask does the judge who ruled [Roe v. Wade] – I would find out if that was even legitimate. When I talk about being pro-life, I’m not just throwing out a term. I’m talking about the fact that I’m convinced that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. I’m here to protect our kids and those who are in the womb.”

Kevin Rinke: “I am pro-life. I have the same position as Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump. What we’re width= seeing from the Democrats and proposals across other states – and what I fear for Michigan – is abortions up to 28 days after the birth of the child. Two states have recently proposed that – unlimited abortions. It’s wrong.”

Garrett Soldano: “I’m 100% unapologetically pro-life. A lot of our money shouldn’t be going to Planned Parenthood. It should be going to these pregnancy crisis centers. It should be going to these adoption care centers and these foster care centers.”


Tudor Dixon: “It’s time for us to sit down together and talk about what makes a family-friendly Michigan. We need to make sure that we can bring a million more people into the state of Michigan, but education and public safety are key. We also need to make sure that this state is affordable and desirable for our middle class to come here because our businesses right now could be thriving, but they don’t have the workforce. These are all things that we can come together on, sit down and listen to, and work out a plan to make sure that Michigan is number one for families.”

Ralph Rebandt: “My entire experience as a pastor for 35 years has put me in front of people – husbands and wives, families, and even businesses that children inherit – who have been at each other’s throats, ready to kill each other. I have been successful in counseling those families. As I look at the slate of candidates, I ask myself who else has the experience to bring people together that are at odds with one another?”

Kevin Rinke: “I have led my companies, and the companies that I’ve worked for, for over 35 years by creating an environment for the people that I lead to be successful in. If we take Democrats and Republicans and we give them a survey for what they expect from government, interestingly enough, they agree on about 90%. We’re going to have a contract with Michigan that’s common sense that both sides of the aisle can see that moves the state forward. We’re going to disagree and fight like hell on the 10% that we don’t agree on. And that’s part of the process and that’s part of what makes us great. But bringing people together is what executives do.”

Garrett Soldano: “When I started that movement, which 300,000 people joined in three days over two years ago, that’s what I always preached, in the beginning, was unity. As a society right now, we’re sick and tired of the fringe left and the fringe right. If you want to take down a country, you don’t need boots on the ground, you don’t need aircraft carriers in the military. How do you destroy a powerful country? You do it from within. You do with infighting… It’s time for unity now. United we stand, divided we fall.”


Thank you to DTE Energy for sponsoring the debate.