The stark contrast between Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her opponent, Betsy DeVos-funded Tudor Dixon, took center stage at their final debate this week when Dixon pushed harder on banning books than weapons in schools.
“Do you really think books are more dangerous than guns?” Whitmer retorted when Dixon tried to claim – in direct opposition to volumes of polling on the issue – that most parents favor censorship in school libraries. “Like do you really think books pose a greater danger to our kids than gun violence does? Mrs. Dixon is trying to distract us.”
The governor reiterated her support for hugely popular proposals to address gun violence, such as requiring background checks and passing secure storage laws and “red flag” laws to keep weapons out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others.
“Ask yourself, who is going to keep your kids safe: The former prosecutor with plans, or a candidate with thoughts and prayers?” Whitmer said.
Dixon said she wants to require a single entry point for school buildings and armed security guards at schools. “I don’t want our kids in a ‘sitting duck zone’ where the only person that has a weapon is the shooter who is going in to take their lives,” Dixon said.
Whitmer responded, “There was a school shooting in Missouri yesterday in a district that had exactly what she just described: one point of entry, armed guards in the school, and people are dead.”
The two also sparred over recently released standardized test score data that show Michigan – like most states – experienced a decline in student performance amid the pandemic. Dixon called Michigan a “bottom 10 state.”
Whitmer added, “The problem is, if Mrs. Dixon is elected, she and her biggest funder, Betsy DeVos, will be writing the education budget. And their plan is to take half a billion dollars out of our public school system. If you want to get kids to Top 10 in literacy, draining the school aid fund is not going to get us there.”
Campaign records released this week show a super-PAC backed by the DeVos family has pumped $6.3 million into the Dixon campaign.