Thaddeus McCotter and his failed bid for re-election in the 11th Congressional District has overshadowed the battle that has been brewing in the new 13th Congressional District. A crowded field of candidates, including a respected veteran congressman, are vying for the right to be the Democratic nominee in the November general election.
John Conyers, the second-most senior member of the House of Representatives and dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, is making a bid for a 24th term in Congress, moving from the 14th District to the new 13th District that includes part of Detroit and Dearborn Heights, Ecorse, Garden City, Highland Park, Inkster, Melvindale, Redford Township, River Rouge, Romulus, Wayne and Westland.
Also in the running are State Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland; Wayne-Westland school board Vice-President John Goci; State Rep. Shanelle Jackson, D-Detroit, and State Sen. Bert Johnson, D-Highland Park.
By virtue of his years of service and seniority, Conyers would seem to be the logical choice, but in our view, the 13th District needs new and effective representation. The district is as much suburban as it urban. Three of the communities - Detroit, Ecorse and Inkster - are in financial distress. The need is for a representative who will go to Washington, get in the trenches, and fight to bring federal dollars back to Michigan and the 13th District.
Selecting that candidate has not been an easy task. Conyers has a track record of success and serves on influential committees in Congress, but appears to be relying on the past rather than getting out and meeting with people in this district. Name recognition alone isn't grounds for a another term in office.
The four newcomers all believe they can do the job. They all say that they will not be a “seat warmer,” but rather an energetic representative who will work hard for the benefit of the district. They maintain that they can cross over to the other side of the aisle and work with Republicans to get legislation passed that will benefit the district, the state and the country.
In listening and in talking to those four candidates - Conyers did not participate in the Observer interview process (despite repeated attempts to schedule a one-on-one session) - we believe the candidate who can best do those things is Glenn Anderson.
Anderson has extensive legislative experience at the local and state level. He is tenacious and committed. He takes up issues and champions them, working behind the scenes to get support. He proposed anti-bullying legislation as a state representative and continued to press for its passage as a senator. He worked diligently with his colleagues and was successful in retaining enhanced funding for the Garden City and Wayne-Westland School Districts in the State School Aid Act for several years.
He has done a good job representing Westland, Livonia, Garden City and Westland as a state senator. Part of representing people is to be available to them, and Anderson does that. He is involved in his district and provides excellent constituent services.
We also are impressed that, in pursuing the Democratic nomination, Anderson has meet with all of the mayors, except Dave Bing, of communities in the 13th District, to find out the issues they face. He doesn't want to guess, he wants to know what needs to be done.
The August primary will be a partisan election. Voters will need to register their party preference. For those who plan to vote in the Democratic primary, we recommend Glenn Anderson as the candidate who should move on to the November general election. We believe he has the ability to represent both the suburbs and Detroit in Washington equally and effectively and that his legislative experience and ability to connect with constituents will benefit the entire 13th Congressional District.