HOLLAND, Michigan — Republican Tudor Dixon made a campaign stop in Holland on Wednesday, talking small business support at a restaurant that made headlines during the pandemic.

Marlena's Bistro was the latest stop on Dixon's tour around the state. It was so full, she gave two speeches, one indoors and one for the people in the parking lot. 

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Dixon says she isn't concerned about being behind in the polls right now.

"We continue to hear those strong messages of we're going to support you, we've got your back," says Dixon. "And this is not at Republican events, this is just at the grocery store, this is just at the coffee shop."

Dixon was invited to host her rally at the restaurant by owner Marlena Pavlos-Hackney. She was arrested in 2021 for defying state COVID-19 orders and keeping her restaurant open.

"I'm so proud because she is going to make Michigan great again and she's going to make our state the strongest in the whole U.S.," says Pavlos-Hackney.

Marlena's arrest was a talking point for Dixon, saying she'll be a stronger proponent for small businesses than Governor Whitmer.

"We go beyond just COVID and we talk about what the Governor is doing with her agencies to continue to go after small business instead of helping them expand, helping them grow," says Dixon.

She also corrected a TV ad run by the Whitmer campaign, which states Dixon is against all exceptions when it comes to abortion.

"It certainly will continue to be my personal stance for my family to be pro-life with exceptions for the life of the mother," says Dixon.

Winston White was one of the many people in the crowd outside the restaurant.

He came to the event from Kalamazoo and says Dixon has his vote because of her small business plan.

"I want the ability someday to be an entrepreneur and I would feel scared to start a business in Kalamazoo," says White.

    

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