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Kildee sports a well-known surname in mid-Michigan politics, and he knows that gives him an advantage as he takes over the district his uncle Dale represented for 36 years.
One of his challenges, however, will be making use of that name recognition and carrying on his uncle's reputation for "personal civility and efforts to reach across the aisle," while differentiating himself on the issues he most cares about. For example, the congressman-elect supports abortion rights, while Dale E. Kildee is anti-abortion.
However, Kildee says his first priority is helping to rebuild the nation's cities and manufacturing base. This is a reflection of the 5th District, which includes the industrial cities of Flint, Saginaw and Bay City, and also of his background as a county treasurer and founder of the Center for Community Progress, a non-profit organization focused on redeveloping urban spaces.
"My passion is rebuilding America's old industrial cities and pursuing policies in terms of infrastructure investment, education, transportation the whole range of activities that affect development patterns, and making sure that we're reinvesting and rebuilding the great cities that have been so important to the American economy" he says.
To that end, Kildee is hoping for a spot on the Financial Services Committee, where he would like to focus on housing and urban policy and what he sees as a looming crisis in municipal finance.
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