Ariana Mentzel (34), a Democrat from Beverly Hills, MI, leads college students in conversations about anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the Detroit Center for Civil Discourse. Named one of Detroit Jewish News’ “36 under 36,” she serves as the vice president Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Mentzel also served as former Oakland County Chair of the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus. She runs a preschool Shabbat program at her temple.
We are providing the unfiltered opinions of voters interviewed for this project. Those views are based on their understanding and perception of facts and information from a range of sources. In some cases, that information may be misleading or incorrect.
What do you think about the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic?
Overall, it’s had its pluses and minuses. The President’s remarks have been ridiculous. He has misled the nation from the beginning and is not trying to make up for his ineptitude with near daily briefings sharing more misinformation and frustrating policies while consistently showing empathy for the stock market–but not the American people.
What do you think about the response in your state/community?
At the state level here in Michigan, we are blessed with Governor Gretchen Whitmer taking command and showing leadership, consistently and often.
Has the threat from the virus been overblown?
I sometimes think the virus has been overblown, such as the message on social media and local news about stocking up on food and paper products. But I do think Michigan’s responses have undoubtedly been saving lives, and for that, little is overblown.
Are people taking the threat from the virus seriously enough?
There are people who don’t take the threat seriously; their responses may range from feeling invisible to just not believing in it. In my small community the virus has been taken seriously and the new norm is staying home, working from home, schooling from home and socializing virtually.
What measures have you taken in your own life to protect yourself and others from the virus?
We don’t leave the house other than daily walks in the neighborhood. Grandparents “see” their grandchildren on Facebook. My husband working from home has been an adjustment, with two small children in the home.
During the most recent debate, who do you think was strongest in responding to questions about the pandemic–Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders? Who do you think won the debate?
While Sander’s case for healthcare is timely during this pandemic, Biden’s policies have adapted to the times and his federal/executive level experience is really shining through. Most people think “their” candidate won. Naturally, I think Biden won with some prior Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders influence.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Donald Trump tweeted an insult to Governor Whitmer, a clear sign he is jealous of her ability to govern our state while he is struggling.