Redistricting in Macomb and Wayne counties produced a competitive Democratic primary in the new 11th House District seat, which includes parts of northeast Detroit, Harper Woods and St. Clair Shores.
Nine Democrats are running in Tuesday’s primary: Patrick Biange of St. Clair Shores, Marvin Cotton Jr. of Harper Woods, Paul Robert Francis of St. Clair Shores, Alex Manwell of Detroit, David Maynard of St. Clair Shores, Veronica Paiz of Harper Woods, Athena Lynn Thornton of Detroit, Ricardo White of Detroit and Regina Williams of Harper Woods.
Adrian Hemond, a Lansing-based Democratic political consultant, said such a large number of candidates in a primary race is the result of a recent redistricting in Michigan.
“There’s a lot of what’s going on in southeast Michigan and a lot of it is based on the redistricting commission and how they’ve done their job to maximize the districts,” said Hemond. “It creates opportunities for people to show up in these new neighborhoods where before maybe they didn’t have a chance depending on where they lived or where the neighborhood was drawn.”
The field is full of newcomers to politics and has a few candidates with experience as local elected officials.
Biange, 55, an education consultant says he is running to create, implement and oversee three state legislative goals for Michigan: human welfare, improved public safety and stability economic.
“I am working on educational legislation to drastically reduce ‘mass violence against people’. We will address many factors in my programs and break the cycle of violent psychology that plagues our sub-population,” Biange said.
Cotton, 42, was wrongfully imprisoned for almost two decades and is now defending others who have been through the same thing. He started Better Not Broken, an organization that works for the exempt, and is a motivational speaker and community organizer.
Voting rights are his biggest problem.
“I was released through the efforts of the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office Sentencing Integrity Unit. I live, I breathe the proof that the system can be wrong. put the right systems in place,” Cotton said. “My lived experience has prepared me to carry the 90,000 voices of this neighborhood in a fair and equitable way.”
Francis, 51, an Occupy sales manager who started an alternative green firewood business, says he’s running for office to break the ‘stranglehold’ of special interest groups on the state legislature so that the government works for the people.
Overall, personal freedoms are his biggest problem.
“Freedom of choice for a woman to see her doctor whether or not she needs an abortion. Freedom from armed violence. There should be no constant fear of being shot and killed for children and adults “, Francis said.
Manwell, 33, a civil engineer and financial consultant, is running for office because he believes Michigan has become notorious for infrastructure crises such as flooding, lead pipes, collapsing dams, a poor power grid and roads full of potholes.
“And yet, of the 110 elected members of the Michigan House of Representatives, there is not a single person with a civil engineering background. I find that alarming,” Manwell said.
He wants to focus on funding infrastructure improvements and providing financial relief to residents by getting money back from Michigan utility companies.
Maynard, 57, is a union mason and veteran US Army combat engineer.
“I’m running in the House to support blue collar workers. The main issue I’m running on is to support blue collar workers, but I would also like to support Great Lakes care and health,” Maynard said.
Paiz, who declined to give her age, is a member of the Harper Woods City Council and a precinct delegate. She is a member of the Michigan Municipal League Legislative Committees for Elections and Municipal Services, the Southeast Michigan Council of Government, and a member of the Executive Council of the Hispanic Latino Caucus of Michigan Democratic Party.
Addressing the diversity of concerns specific to the 11th District is his goal in the election.
“I believe I’m the most knowledgeable candidate about what needs to be addressed in state legislation that can also best benefit the people of the 11th District,” Paiz said. “I have learned from experience, including on city council, how legislation directly impacts the ability of municipalities to meet the best interests of residents – from first responders to housing to public health and more. .”
Thornton, 52, is a legal secretary in the state attorney general’s office and worked for the Wayne County 3rd Circuit Court for 30 years. She is a member of the union and was a member of the executive board of AFSCME Local 1659.
She says the human condition is the reason she is running for office.
“I see a need not only to improve the current infrastructure of the 11th Ward, which includes good drinking water and safe roads and bridges, but also to make mental health facilities more easily accessible, women’s rights to reproductive health, access to good quality education for all children, a reduction in prescription drugs and funding for small businesses are all issues facing not only District 11, but those issues facing faced all Michiganders,” she said.
White, 33, is a senior account manager at a public relations firm. He is a former Michigan House staffer and former public affairs specialist for Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“I strongly believe that government is a service industry and that our state needs experienced leaders who have the knowledge and understanding to solve our problems,” White said. “That’s why I’ve introduced the Main Street Michigan Plan which will invest new and existing dollars in policy solutions to reduce the cost of goods and services for residents, create jobs in our state, and invest in community training. workforce to maintain worker skills ready for the jobs of the future.”
Williams, 57, serves on the Harper Woods City Council and teaches math and science at the Detroit Public Schools Community District. She also served for nearly seven years on the Harper Woods Schools Board of Education.
His campaign priorities are equity in education and security from gun violence.
“My main goals, if elected, are to support equity and funding for education, to protect women’s right to choose and receive medical care, to protect the rights of the elderly and a better system healthcare, and reducing gun violence so we can all have a safer place to live. I am dedicated and passionate about serving the community and making life better for everyone,” she said.
Republicans Mark Foster and Christopher Jeffery, both of St. Clair Shores, are running in the GOP primary on Tuesday.