Felicia Brabec and Yousef Rabhi want to flip the state house.
From the August, 2020 issue
Two political veterans could probably ignore their neophyte opponents and still win Ann Arbor's state house primaries. So why are Felicia Brabec and Yousef Rabhi raising so much money?
In District 55, which covers north Ann Arbor plus Pittsfield, York and Augusta townships and part of Ann Arbor Township, Stephen Kurant says he's serious about his run to replace term-limited Rebekah Warren. But he faces Brabec, who has name recognition after eight years on the county board. And because Kurant is self-funding, he expects to spend "less than 1 percent" of what Brabec does--she's aiming to raise $138,000.
In south Ann Arbor's District 53, first-time candidate Sam Larson is challenging Rabhi, a two-term incumbent and House Democratic floor leader. Larson hopes to raise $10,000--but Rabhi expects to bring in more than twice that.
Rabhi and Brabec don't plan to spend all that money on themselves. "A significant amount of the money that I've raised, I've contributed back to the House Democratic caucus to help us flip seats," Rabhi says--more than $60,000 since 2018. Brabec says she, too, plans to write the Democratic caucus "a pretty big check."
"It's hard to get progressive legislation moved through when you don't have the gavel," Rabhi explains. He cites as an example his current bills to protect workers under mandatory quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic from being fired or having their pay or benefits reduced.
It didn't get any traction with the Republican majority. "It's like the pandemic never happened," says Rabhi. "Once we have a Democratic majority, we will get hearings on the bills."
[Originally published in August, 2020.]
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