5th district Republican challengers weigh in on race - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

5th district Republican challengers weigh in on race

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(07/31/12) - Republicans in 5th Congressional race say voters are looking for a change after decades of Democratic representation.

Tom Wassa of Fairgrove and Jim Slezak of Davison both believe they have what it takes to cross the finish line and win on primary election day.

"We need leaders in Washington," said Jim Slezak.

"When the economy fails, people start looking for alternatives," Tom Wassa said.

Tom Wassa grew up near Lansing and spent 27 years in law enforcement. He retired from the state after working as an environmental investigator. He's currently a trustee in the tiny village of Fairgrove in Tuscola County.

"I'm running for office simply because our economy is failing. We are losing revenues that support our police and fire service and our schools. We need to beef up the economy so we can get those back."

As a former police chief and foster parent, Wassa says he will focus his energy not just on shrinking government, but on creating a pro business climate, which he believes can help stop crime. "If you bring back the economy, bring back jobs, you can employ people in Flint and Saginaw and that's key to eliminating the criminal activity."

Republican rival Jim Slezak is no stranger to politics. He was a member of the Democratic party when he served as a state representative. "It doesn't matter if you have a D or an R by your name, they know I'm going to work for them."

Slezak - a small business owner - said if voters send him to Washington, he'll work to eliminate debt, repeal healthcare and build up Michigan's economy.

"We can bring manufacturing back here. It doesn't have to be an automobile, we can make things here, we can build plants again. We need to take more regulations off business so they can actually start up and do business here in Michigan."

Both 5th district candidates believe now is the time to make a change.

"We have inflation occurring, house values are dropping, people will be looking for an alternative to the policies that have not been working. I'm the alternative," Wassa said.

"I will get along with anybody, and work with anybody to get the best possible solution not just for this area but for Michigan and country," Slezak said.

Polls open at 7 a.m. on Aug. 7.

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