Detroit Primary Election Results: Mayor Duggan Wins Decisively, Proposal P is Defeated

Mayor Duggan at DPC 2021Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s bid for a third term began with a convincing primary win, as he gained 72.5%  of the vote over former Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams (10% of the vote) and eight other challengers. Perhaps even more importantly for the Mayor and the future of the City of Detroit was the defeat of Proposal P, which would have radically changed the City Charter. Proposal P was defeated, with 67% voting against it and 33% supporting it.

At a victory party at the east-side restaurant Good Times Lounge, Mayor Duggan said, “It looks like we carried every precinct in this city. To the people in the city of Detroit who have just been behind me for eight straight years, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs, they’ve never wavered, and I’m just deeply appreciative.”

Chamber Perspective

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) was the first major organization to support Mayor Duggan’s bid for reelection with an early endorsement in January.

“Mayor Duggan is one of the finest mayors in the nation, and Detroit continues to benefit from his bold leadership,” said Brad Williams, vice president of Government Relations for the Chamber. “In 2020, we saw how much Mayor Duggan’s leadership mattered in guiding the city amid national crises in pursuit of racial justice and navigating the COVID-19 pandemic that cost too many lives. That is continuing with the city’s vaccination rollout.”

Detroiters reject Proposal P

Proposal P would have replaced Detroit’s current city charter with a 145-page revised charter written by the Detroit Charter Revision Commission. Since Detroit has home rule, its municipal government has more independence from the Michigan state government and thus the authority to adopt a full city charter. The proposed changes would have put unfunded mandates into the charter, dramatically expanded the cities bureaucracy, and hampered Detroit’s ability to balance the budget. The wide margin of defeat reflects a broad understanding from voters that Proposal P was a flawed mechanism for reform and would not have put the city on a path to long-term growth and recovery.

“It shows that Detroiters who were participating in this election were paying attention to the arguments being made for and against Proposal P and decisively rejected the approach that Proposal P was offering,” said Sheila Cockrel, a former Detroit city councilmember who was part of the anti-Proposal P Coalition to Protect Detroit’s Future campaign. “There may some ideas that are worth exploring as long as you can pay for them. But the people who voted in this primary were very clear on whatever the issues are.”

Chamber Perspective

Before the defeat of Proposal P, Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Sandy Baruah said, “After the hard-fought achievements of the Grand Bargain, we should not throw away that financial discipline only to replace it with a $2 billion hole in the city’s budget. The financial imbalance the charter revisions generate will harm the city’s ability to deliver needed services to its residents and sends a message of financial instability to current and potential businesses while risking another painful trip through bankruptcy.”

Detroit City Council Races

  • Councilmember Janeé Ayers won the highest number of votes, closely followed by Coleman Young II for the two at-large council seats. In addition to Young and Ayers, Mary Waters and Nicole Small be on the November ballot.
  • Incumbent Councilmember James Tate Jr. topped the race for District 1 with 72.08% of the vote. Krystal Larsosa follows his lead with 12.22% of the vote and will join him on the November ballot.
  • District 2 incumbent Councilmember Roy McCalister Jr. and Angela Calloway will face off the general.
  • District 3 Councilmember Scott Benson will move on without a challenger.
  • In District 4, here are the top two: Latisha Johnson secured 31.8% of the vote while M.L. Elrick followed with 24.39% in the race for Councilmember Andre Spivey’s seat.
  • District 5 Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield will move on without a challenger.
  • District 6 candidates Hector Santiago and Gabriela Santiago-Romero will face off in the general election.
  • In District 7, the top two were Frederick Durhal with 29.9% and Regina Ross with 24.22%.

Chamber Perspective

At the end of July, the Chamber PAC endorsed nine candidates for Detroit City Council. Eight of those nine successfully moved on to the general election in November, which along with the successful support of the mayor, and opposition to Proposal P demonstrates the strength of a Chamber PAC endorsement.

Dearborn Youth Theater presents The Addams Family

Performances:
Friday, August 6 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, August 7 at 2 and 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 8 at 2 p.m.

Director – Rashid Baydoun
Musical Director – Vanessa El-Zein

Dearborn Youth Theater’s production of The Addams Family features an original story and every father’s nightmare. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family — a man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he has never done before — keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents.

Tickets are available through dearborntheater.com and at the theater box office. Call (313) 943-2354 for further information, or visit http://www.dearborntheater.com/events/10004442-the-addams-family

Experienced Diversity Champion Joins OCC

Kristina M. Marshall, a champion of diversity and inclusion initiatives, has been hired as Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) at Oakland Community College (OCC). She brings a wealth of experience in DEIJ and higher education to the newly created position.

Marshall currently serves in a variety of national diversity leadership roles including current Co-chair of the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education. She is also the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including Crain’s 2021 Notable Executives in DEI, Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame Judge, and Instructor of the Year at Baker College.

She most recently served as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer as well as the Director of the Human Services Program for Baker College, the state’s largest independent, not-for-profit college. Among her most recent accomplishments, she was instrumental in launching Baker’s DEI foundational training series for faculty and staff and developed vital discussion panels for employees and students to dispel misunderstandings and stereotypes, with a focus on current events through the lens of systemic problems in society.

“Kristina brings tremendous experience, understanding and enthusiasm to this position,” said OCC Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Andre’ L. Poplar. “I am excited to have her join our team and look forward to working with her in implementing transformative change at OCC.”

According to OCC Chancellor Peter Provenzano, the recent appointments of both Marshall and Poplar, who joined the College in February, 2021, will further support the College’s commitment to fostering a culture of understanding and appreciation of diversity, equity and inclusion. He stated, “This work is foundational to our personal and professional relationships and our efforts to positively impact our community and prepare our students for opportunities in a vibrant, global-based economy.”

Marshall says she is enthusiastic about joining the diverse, multi-campus community college.

“I chose OCC because they are committed to fostering an environment where students, faculty and staff feel a sense of belonging and value. They understand that people are our most valuable assets,” she said. “I look forward to improving OCC’s culture of inclusive excellence even further, where students, faculty and staff are offered the opportunity to thrive and bring value to the community.”

In addition to her background in DEI and human services, Marshall has extensive college teaching experience at both Baker College and Lansing Community College. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University.

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About OCC
Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and No. 1 transfer institution in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

Guide to Primary Elections 2021: Key Races, Poll Times, More

Detroit Free Press
Aug. 2, 2021
Minnah Arshad

Primary Day is right around the corner in Michigan, coming Tuesday, Aug. 3. Here’s what to know about voting, registration, and key races and proposals to watch.

What to know about voting

When and where

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Anyone can still vote absentee but since it’s within 15 days of Election Day, requesting to vote through mail might mean voters won’t get their ballots in time. Absentee ballots can be cast at clerks’ offices or drop boxes.

Go to the Michigan Voter Information Center website to find your polling place and drop box locations.

What to bring

Voters will be asked to present a photo ID such as a Michigan driver’s license, state identification card, U.S. passport, or military, student, or tribal ID card. The card does not need to include the voter’s mailing address.

Those without an acceptable ID can still vote by signing an affidavit.

Voters are not required to bring their voter registration cards and should be on a list, if registered, as long as they go to the correct polling place.

Masks are required for poll workers, but they are not required for voters. Sanitizing stations will be available at polling places.

Voter registration

Eligible citizens may register to vote as late as Election Day.

Since the election is less than 14 days away, you must register to vote in person at your city or township clerk’s office. If you register to vote online within 14 days of the election, you will not be able to vote Tuesday.

To be eligible to register to vote you must be:

  • A Michigan resident at the time you register
  • A resident of your city or township for at least 30 days when you vote
  • A United States citizen
  • At least 18 years of age when you vote
  • Not currently serving a sentence in jail or prison

For proof of residency, bring one of these documents when registering to vote:

  • Michigan driver’s license or state ID
  • Current utility bill
  • Bank statement
  • Paycheck or government check
  • Other government document

To update voter registration information, you must go in person to your clerk’s office since it’s less than 14 days to the primary. If you update information online, you will not be able to vote in this election.

Key races and proposals this primary

State races

Primaries for two Senate seats are slated for Aug. 3. Both special legislative elections come after the spots were vacated by Republicans who won local elections. The GOP is expected to retain both seats, given the political breakdown and trends in the districts.

8th Senate District 

Two sitting lawmakers and a former candidate for sheriff highlight the Republican field in this race to replace current Macomb County Prosecutor Pete Lucido.

Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Township, is a former schoolteacher first elected to the state House in 2016. She leads the House Education Committee and worked with Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, earlier this year on an ethics reform package. She has raised more than $77,000 and has endorsements from the Detroit Regional Chamber, state Rep. Diana Farrington, Chesterfield Township Supervisor Danny Acciavatti and others.

Doug Wozniak, R-Shelby Township, is a lawyer and small business owner first elected to the state House in 2018. He has received perhaps the most attention for his public skepticism of the 2020 general election results, as one of a small cohort of Michigan lawmakers who tried to join efforts to overturn the state’s election results based on false and misleading allegations of fraud. He has raised more than $47,000 and has endorsements from Macomb County Commissioner Don Brown, Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis, Washington Township Supervisor Sebastian Previti, and others.

Terence Mekoski unsuccessfully ran for Macomb County sheriff in 2020 after serving decades in law enforcement. He has raised more than $38,000 and is endorsed by the Southeast Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and Pat Colbeck, a former Michigan state lawmaker who now spreads conspiracies and misinformation about the 2020 election.

Other Republican candidates are Mary Berlingieri, Bill Carver, Kristi Dean, and Grant Golasa. The Democratic candidates are John Bill and Martin Robert Genter.

28th District 

Two sitting lawmakers and a former state representative are vying for the GOP nomination to replace current Kent County Treasurer Peter MacGregor.

Tommy Brann, R-Wyoming, owns a steakhouse and has served in the state House since 2016. He has advocated for stronger protections for business owners trying to operate during the pandemic and was one of the only Republicans to support a law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Brann’s raised more than $97,000.

Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, was a longtime consultant and the mayor of Walker before being elected to the state House in 2018. He spearheaded legislation to create clawback provisions for certain state contracts, establishing guidelines some contractors need to meet in order to retain their agreements and penalties if they do not. He has raised more than $171,000.

Kevin Green is a former state representative and current Algoma Township supervisor. Election reform and “dysfunction in Lansing” are among his top priorities. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to an impaired driving charge; on his campaign website, he said his arrest came around the anniversary of his daughter’s stillbirth and after he had a few drinks following campaign efforts for other House Republicans. He has raised more than $67,000.

The Democratic candidates are Keith Courtade and Gidget Groendyk.

Detroit

Proposal P

Proposal P, which has been a controversial ballot question in the upcoming election, would revise the city charter. Proposed changes in the new policy include revisions in police practices, water and sewer fee changes, assistance with overassessed property taxes and free, public broadband internet.

Supporters of the proposal include councilmember Raquel Castañeda-López, Detroit Charter revision commissioner JoAnna Underwood and city clerk candidate Denzel McCampbell. Prop P has been opposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, AG Dana Nessel, Mayor Mike Duggan and others, arguing that the revised city charter’s costly agenda would unbalance the budget and is legally lacking.

The full proposal is available online. 

Proposal P: Michigan Supreme Court order will allow Detroit voters to weigh in on charter revisions

Detroit Voter Guide 2021:See candidates for Detroit mayor, city council, city clerk

Mayor

Ten candidates are running for two spots for the November runoff this Tuesday, including incumbent Mike Duggan. If elected, this would be Duggan’s third term.

His opponents include Anthony Adams, deputy mayor to former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Tom Barrow, a certified public accountant, Myya Jones, a digital strategy lead at Google, Kiawana Brown, a pastor of 12 years, Jasahn Larsosa, a founding director at a Detroit nonprofit for youth and senior development, Art Tyus, a former information technology specialist who ran for a state House seat in Michigan’s 3rd District last August, and D. Etta Wilcoxon, who worked in Mayor Coleman Young’s legal department and ran for city clerk in 2013 and 2017, and for mayor in 2009.

City clerk

Three candidates are running against 16-year city clerk incumbent Janice Winfrey.

Denzel McCampbell is the communications director for the office of congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and for the U.S. House of Representatives, and a Detroit Charter revision commissioner.

Beverly Kindle-Walker is a legislative assistant for Wayne County and previously worked in Detroit Public Schools.

Michael Ri’chard is Wayne County’s legislative aide and a DPS teacher. He was also a Detroit city administrator for 31 years.

On The Line: Trump, a clerk’s race and a national spotlight on Detroit

Council at-large

The Detroit City Council is made up of nine members. Seven are elected to represent districts, and two are elected at large.

Incumbent Janeé Ayers, Nicole Small, Coleman Young II, Mary Waters, and Jermain Jones are vying for the two at-large seats. Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones is not seeking reelection this year.

Dearborn

Mayor

In Dearborn, there are heated nonpartisan races for mayor and city council seats. For the first time in about 35 years, the incumbent mayor will not be on the ballot as Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. announced in January that he is stepping down after leading the city since 2007.

The race has already seen huge amounts of campaign spending, with the total amount of contributions in the race, including transfers of funds, almost $670,000.

The recent floods and the high rate of COVID-19 transmission in Dearborn are two big issues that residents have expressed concern about. The apparent cognitive problems of O’Reilly — and whether the city council covered it up — is also being debated.

The seven candidates for mayor, in alphabetical order, are: Hussein Berry, a Dearborn school board member; Susan Dabaja, the Dearborn City Council President, state Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn; Jim Parrelly, a financial planner, Thomas Tafelski, former City Council President, Kalette Shari Willis, and Gary Woronchak, former Wayne County Commissioner and former state representative.

The top two finishers will advance to the general election in November.

City council

There are also 18 candidates to fill seven city council seats in Dearborn. Incumbents David Bazzy and Brian O’Donnell are not running for reelection and Dabaja is running for mayor. The top 14 vote-getters will advance to the November election for the seven seats.

There are also two ballot proposals. One, called Proposal A, would create a Charter Commission to review and revise the City Charter. The commission would be elected in November.

The other is to renew the city’s library millage for six years. The one mil generates $3.7 million each year.

Dearborn residents: How long did council know about mayor’s cognitive issues?

This election: Dearborn mayoral candidates raise more than half a million dollars in ‘a race to watch’

Hamtramck

Mayor

In Hamtramck, four candidates are running for mayor, including incumbent Mayor Karen Majewski, who has led the city since 2006 and is seeking a fifth term.

The other candidates are Hamtramck City Councilman Saad Almasmari, Asm Rahman, board president of Detroit charter school Frontier International Academy, and Amer Ghalib, a health care worker.

The top two finishers will advance to the November general election.

The city has always had a mayor of Polish descent since it first started electing mayors about 100 years ago.  Known historically as a Polish enclave, the city today is 25% Arab American, most of them Yemeni, and 26% Asian American, most of them Bangladeshi, according to 2019 Census data. In the last two elections, Majewski defeated challengers from the Bangladeshi and Yemeni immigrant communities.

Hamtramck, which has the highest percentage of immigrants among cities in Michigan, faces challenges with poverty and development. People of color make up a majority of the city, but often feel left out of City Hall. Some minority and immigrant residents say they are paying too much in taxes to fund a city workforce that is largely white.

Ballot proposal

A ballot proposal would increase Hamtramck’s millage levy from .50 mils to up to 10.5 mils for up to 20 years in order to fund the retirement system for police and firefighters.

City council

There are also three seats on the Hamtramck city council up for grabs. Eight candidates are running, with the top six vote-getters advancing to the November general election.

Sterling Heights

City council:

All six incumbents, Liz Sierawski, Deanna Koski, Michael Radtke Jr., Maria Schmidt, Henry Yanez, and Barbara Ziarko, are running for reelection. They are up against nine additional candidates. Of them, two are Chaldeans: Paul Manni, a small business owner, and Steven Bahoura, a realtor and stock market investor.

If elected, they would be the first Chaldean city councilmen in Sterling Heights, which has a big Chaldean community.

2021 Detroit Voter Guide

Welcome to the Detroit Free Press/BridgeDetroit 2021 Detroit Voter Guide, which offers information about the Aug. 3 Detroit primary election. We sent questionnaires to candidates in every primary race.  Candidate responses have not been edited for grammar, spelling, or accuracy. Detroit voters, enter your address to learn about the candidates that will be on your ballot.

View the original article.


Related:

Detroit Regional Chamber Political Action Committee Announces Endorsements for Detroit City Council Primaries

 

New and Improved Ways to do Business with the Secretary of State

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson recently shared updates on services:

  • Offering more convenient and efficient service than ever before in department history.
    • Office visits now take on average just 20 minutes. Residents can schedule ahead at Michigan.gov/SOS, by calling 888-SOS-MICH, or by stopping by a branch office to be seen immediately if there is availability or assisted with scheduling a return visit, often for the same day or next day.
    • Nearly every vehicle and license can now be renewed from home, and a full list of our expanded online services can be found on our website.
    • We have also expanded the transactions offered at self-service stations to include driver’s license and state ID renewals and other options. Follow the link for more info and a searchable list of all self-service stations across our state.
  • The Public Engagement team will be hosting virtual town halls this summer to ensure our partners and communities across the state are aware of all the new and improved ways to do business with the Secretary of State. These town halls will provide opportunities for participants to ask questions and submit their feedback on behalf of their communities. We will provide a complete list of dates in the very near future. Meanwhile, if you’d like to request a presentation for your organization or business, please do so by completing this form.
  • To ensure you are receiving important updates from the Public Engagement team, we are asking that you update your information with us (it should take only a few minutes).

July 30 | This Week in Government: CDC Revises Mask Guidance; Push Continues for Hands-Free Driving Legislation

Each week, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Government Relations team, in partnership with Gongwer, will provide members with a collection of timely updates from both local and state governments. Stay in the know on the latest legislation, policy priorities, and more.

  1. Gov: No Pandemic Orders Coming as CDC Revises Guidance on Masking
  2. Carl Levin, Intellectual Giant of Michigan Politics, Has Died
  3. Coalition Continues to Push for Hands-Free Law
  4. Supreme Court: Detroit Charter Prop Can Reach Ballot Without Gov OK
  5. Recalls Enable Massive Windfall to Whitmer Campaign Committee

Gov: No Pandemic Orders Coming as CDC Revises Guidance on Masking

Even with changing guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding who should be using masks, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Tuesday said she did not anticipate any new pandemic orders coming out “in the near future.”

The comment came at a press conference in Detroit regarding affordable housing, held inside a manufacturing warehouse. There, Gov. Whitmer stood masked for much of the event next to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who was not masked.

Gov. Whitmer later addressed her mask-wearing by saying Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Department of Health and Human Services’ chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health, had encouraged her to do so.

“As some of you might be wondering, what’s with the mask, right? We thought that we didn’t have to wear masks anymore. Dr. J has encouraged me to wear masks when I’m indoors and among groups,” said Gov. Whitmer, who is fully vaccinated. “The CDC is issuing additional guidance. … I wear it not because I’m worried about me, but because I’m worried about those who aren’t vaccinated. So, if you’re not vaccinated yet, please get vaccinated. It’s the best way to stay safe.”

The CDC Tuesday, after two months ago saying individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer had to wear masks when indoors, is now urging vaccinated individuals to wear masks in public indoor spaces in parts of the country experiencing virus surges.

That change is largely correlated to the rise of cases attributed to the Delta variant of COVID-19. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told the Associated Press Tuesday that data gathered from the past 100 days “is concerning enough that we felt like we have to act” to get COVID-19 under control in the U.S. once again.

Walensky also later noted in a phone call with reporters that COVID-19 could be “a few mutations away” from potentially being able to evade vaccines. She also noted that K-12 schools should require masks indoors for everyone, no matter a person’s vaccination status.

Still, Gov. Whitmer on Tuesday was firm there would be no coming pandemic orders.

“I do not anticipate another pandemic order,” she said. “Not in the near future, and maybe not ever.”

The CDC COVID-19 tracker shows most of Michigan has moderate to low transmission rates currently. The new recommendation is for vaccinated individuals in areas experiencing high or substantial spread.


Carl Levin, Intellectual Giant of Michigan Politics, Has Died

Carl Levin, whose intelligence, trustworthiness, ferocious investigative skills, elite constituent service, and common touch earned him a Michigan-record 36 years as U.S. senator, died Thursday. He was 87 and undergoing treatment for lung cancer.

He was a giant in Michigan politics, virtually untouchable, a liberal Jew from Detroit who would regularly crush Republicans in deeply Republican areas of the state to roll up big wins. He was a force in Congress who never lost his connection to his constituents, thanks to his unassuming manner, relatability, accessibility, and a constituent service operation that was the stuff of legend. Residents of the state knew that if they had a problem that involved the government, they could call Levin’s office and his team would fix it.

So feared and talented was he as an investigator that The New York Times headline on his obituary published Thursday night memorialized him as the “scourge of corporate America.”

It is impossible to overstate Levin’s status in the state’s Jewish community. The first Jew to win a U.S. Senate seat and perhaps the first Jew to win a major Michigan statewide election when he won his first of six terms in 1978, Levin helped pave the way for a generation of Jews, Democratic and Republican, to win office.

Levin’s look became legendary, punctuated by his ever-present combover and penchant for wearing his eyeglasses on the bottom of his nose so that he could peer over them.

Born in Detroit on June 28, 1934, Levin graduated from Detroit Central High School in 1952 and graduated with a bachelor’s in political science from Swarthmore College in 1956. Following that, he attended Harvard Law School and earned a juris doctor in 1959 where, shortly after, he was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan.

Levin would go on to use his knowledge of the law to serve as general counsel for the state’s Civil Rights Commission from 1964 to 1967, using that role to help form the Detroit Public Defender’s Office – now known as the State Appellate Defender’s Office. Eventually, he would serve as special assistant attorney general, as well as chief appellate defender for Detroit, shortly after his tenure with the commission.

It would still be some time yet before Levin would enter the career that would garner him the title longest-serving U.S. senator in Michigan’s history, holding that position for 36 years. After his time with the commission and Department of Attorney General, Levin would turn his sights to the Detroit City Council, where he was elected to the body in 1969.

Serving two four-year terms, which concluded in 1977, Levin was a formidable force for the council. As president – a title he held during his last four years in office – he would go on to be dubbed then-Mayor Coleman Young’s (the city’s first Black mayor) right hand man by Forbes magazine, due to their close relationship.

His 1978 U.S. Senate victory was remarkable.

As the former president of the Detroit City Council, it seemed improbable that he could topple U.S. Sen. Robert Griffin, appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1966 after the death of U.S. Sen. Patrick McNamara. Griffin then won two terms, beating a pair of Democratic legends, former Gov. G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams in 1966 and then-Attorney General Frank Kelley in 1972.

While the Levin name had become a presence on the statewide scene thanks to cousin Charles Levin, a Michigan Supreme Court justice, and brother Sander, a two-time Democratic nominee for governor in 1970 and 1974, Carl Levin did not seem to pose a major threat at first, particularly considering the unpopularity of Democratic President Jimmy Carter. He also had to get through a crowded Democratic primary that included three state legislators, a former member of Congress, and newspaper publisher Phil Power.

He won that primary decisively and then took on Griffin, who had made himself vulnerable in 1977 when he declared he would not seek reelection. He had just lost his position as Senate minority whip. He would eventually change his mind and decide to run.

Levin would put together a winning coalition that geographically looks utterly bizarre compared to the state’s current political map. Unsurprisingly, he ran up a huge margin in Wayne County. He also carried union-heavy working-class counties like Macomb, Monroe, Genesee, and Bay as well as the northeast Lower Peninsula and most of the Upper Peninsula. He won 52.1% to 47.9%.

Levin pushed for new blood in Congress (Griffin had served since 1950, including his time in the U.S. House) though he would eventually set the longevity record in passing Arthur Vandenberg as the state’s longest-serving senator. Levin had been prompted to run after his anger at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development while he was a member of the city council and HUD would not demolish blighted homes in the city they controlled.

His second-term victory in 1984 would be his last close race. He faced astronaut Jack Lousma and an impending Republican landslide led by President Ronald Reagan, who would carry the state with 59.2% of the vote. Levin, however, hung on, winning 51 to 47%.

From there, Levin would win increasingly easy victories. He won comfortably over then-U.S. Rep. Bill Schuette in 1990, Ronna Romney in 1996, state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski in 2002, and state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk in 2008. It was not until 1996 that Levin finally got the benefit of a Democratic wave at the top of the ticket. In 1978, 1984, and 1990, the Republican at the top of the ticket (Bill Milliken, Reagan, and John Engler) all won.

In his 2008 victory, when he finally had a major national Democratic wave at his back, Levin won 63% of the vote and an astonishing 77 counties.

Levin managed to thread the difficult needle of retaining deep roots in his state and becoming a powerhouse in Washington. He spent many years as the Senate Armed Services Committee chair. It was there he brought to bear his investigative skills and brought heavy focus on the Department of Defense’s purchase of routine items like a hammer for exorbitant prices. He was the sponsor of the Competition in Contracting Act to reduce federal procurement costs.

During his time in Congress, Levin would serve on a number of committees including the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Committee on Small Business Entrepreneurship, and chairing the Committee on Armed Services. Yet, even though he twice chaired Armed Services, Levin had never served – a fact that he admitted, telling CQ Roll Call that he joined the committee as he was interested in learning more and felt it was his own way of “providing service.”

With that said, Levin would go on to become one of the most powerful members of the Armed Services Committee, pushing for more transparency in government especially in regard to the Iraq War and on the subject of al-Qaeda. Levin opposed then-President George W. Bush’s push into Iraq post-9/11, and later said the administration handled the situation poorly.

Levin would eventually lead the Senate into probing the conditions of prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, which eventually resulted in the Detainee Treatment Act that prohibited the use of torture on U.S.-captured detainees.

He would become instrumental, too, in weakening laws which prevented LGBT Americans from serving in the military, passing the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act which would ensure an end to the legislation which propagated the U.S. Army’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Armed services, however, was not the only topic Mr. Levin was well-versed in (or became well-versed in) during his more than three decades in the Senate. He was a strong supporter of the U.S. Department of Education (and its creation), was responsible for promoting energy policies that were beneficial for the environment, and pushed for the first effective disclosure requirements for federal lobbyists.

Fitting with his efforts on ethics, he authored the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Ethics Reform Act of 1989.

Beyond the Armed Services Committee, Levin was a feared investigator. He became chair of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, digging into the 2008 financial crisis and much more.

Politically, Levin was a champion of ending Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s status as the first presidential caucus and first presidential primary. He never could succeed in dislodging them from their perches.

There were disappointments, of course. In his memoir, Levin noted he sought to be named the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan while he was on the city council. He did not receive the appointment.

And while Levin persuaded a lot of Republicans to vote for him, he could definitely get under the GOP’s skin. Some would mock him as the “self-proclaimed conscience of the Senate.”

He did all of this while looking as, inevitably, what would become his near-trademarked style: perpetually frumpy. So known for this look he was that comedian Jon Stewart occasionally referred to him as Grandpa Munster.

Brother Sander joined Levin in Congress in 1983 after winning a U.S. House seat in 1982, and they would serve together, perhaps Michigan’s most famous family political dynasty, for 32 years.

During Levin’s early years as senator, Michigan regularly voted Republican for president. But his accessibility and constituent operation meant voters trusted him and he became unbeatable.

In a 2013 interview with Gongwer News Service, Levin said the key to having a strong constituent service operation is “you really have to care about your constituents. It’s got to be kind of a genuine caring of people dealing with their problems in the federal bureaucracy.” Members of Congress cannot be cowed or intimidated by a federal department or agency, he said.

Levin’s nephew, Andy, is now a U.S. House member. In a statement on his uncle’s death, he summed up well the appeal he held with voters everywhere.

“Throughout my adult life, wherever I went in Michigan, from Copper Harbor to Monroe, I would run into people who would say, ‘I don’t always agree with Sen. Levin, but I support him anyway because he is so genuine, he tells it straight and he follows through,'” he said.

Near the end of his Senate career, Levin took a swing at loopholes in federal campaign finance laws, or what he called the “failure of the IRS to enforce our tax laws and stem the flood of hundreds of millions of secret dollars flowing into our elections, eroding public confidence in our democracy.”

In 2013, at the age of 80, Levin decided not to seek a seventh term. He felt well then but worried about his fitness when his term would be over. And in fact, in 2017, he would be diagnosed with lung cancer. He also wanted to spend more time with his wife, Barbara, back in Michigan.

In his post-Senate years, Levin went on to join the Detroit-based law firm Honigman LLP and found the Levin Center at Wayne State University’s Law School. While working at the firm, Levin would also chair the WSU center and co-teach courses. His goal was to pass on what he had learned about how government bodies can investigate. He also helped mediate the Flint water lawsuits.

In an interview with Gongwer, Levin said the retirement decision was maybe hardest on his older brother, Sander.

“It’s very hard on my brother,” he said. “It’s maybe harder on him because we’re very close. Kind of life-long best buddies. We were together in law school. We were together as kids. Slept in the same room. We’ve played probably 15,000 games of squash together in Washington.”

Andy Levin recalled the connection between his father, Sander, and uncle, Carl.

“From my earliest memory to this moment, perhaps above all, he has defined with my dad how close two brothers, two siblings, two people can be. In the end, these two Jewish boys from Detroit, these grandsons of immigrants each served 36 years in Congress, 32 of them together, becoming by far the longest co-serving siblings in the 232-year history of this place,” he said. “As heartbroken as we are in this moment, I feel so grateful to have experienced this love and legacy.”

In the 2013 interview, Levin was asked where he and his wife, Barbara, would live. He had lived in Detroit virtually his entire life other than when he attended Swarthmore for his undergraduate education and Harvard for law school.

“It won’t be Washington,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine I’ll live anywhere other than Michigan. … We’re very rooted in Michigan, very rooted in Detroit.”

Related: Detroit Regional Chamber Statement on the Passing of Carl Levin, Michigan’s Longest-Serving Senator


Coalition Continues to Push for Hands-Free Law

Advocates including the Detroit Regional Chamber seeking to make stronger the state’s distracted driving law launched the Hands-Free Michigan Coalition as legislation on the issue has failed to make it to the Governor’s desk in previous terms and most recently has stalled in the House.

The issue has been long-simmering with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer even addressing it at her State of the State in 2019.

Still, changes to the state’s laws, which currently only ban texting while driving, have been unsuccessful.

On Wednesday, Steve Kiefer, the founder of The Kiefer Foundation whose son died after being hit by a distracted driver almost five years ago; Bonnie Raffaele, whose daughter died in a car accident in which she was the distracted the driver; and Tammy Huffman, whose brother-in-law died after he was hit by a distracted driver, announced the creation of the Hands-Free Michigan Coalition.

The coalition will work to bring together businesses, industry, safety groups, law enforcement, and the public to implement effective and efficient programs to end the epidemic of distracted driving and make Michigan roads safer.

Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham), Rep. Joe Bellino (R-Monroe), and Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Linden) have introduced HB 4277, HB 4278, and HB 4279 this term to strengthen distracted driving laws. They cleared committee but have stalled on the floor.

Kiefer said a small but vocal minority is holding up the bills in the House.

“Part of our activity right now is really trying to bring some visibility to that issue,” he said, calling some of the reasons for opposition “illogical.”

Kiefer said the reasons for opposition have included the bills go against someone’s personal freedom to do what they want in their car, some related to racial profiling when individuals are pulled over and pointing to other situations, like a person eating or putting makeup on their car.

He said the civil liberties argument is illogical as distracted driving impacts others and can cause death and to the racial profiling argument, Kiefer said it is something the coalition is sensitive to.

To the final argument, Kiefer said it is the one that bothers him the most.

“It’s a bit of a smokescreen to try to muck up the whole discussion so that nothing happens,” he said. “There’s (other forms) of distraction, as well as even hands-free, talking on the phone. We know that there’s a cognitive distraction when you’re talking on the phone. We know people are paying less attention, even when they’re in hands-free mode. But we do know when you look over the last 10 to 15 years, the most significant increase in distraction is the cell phone. This is the thing that we’ve got to get people to put down stop and looking at it, keeping their eyes on the road. And we know it’ll save lives.”

Jennifer Smith, CEO of StopDistractions.org, said the legislation in the state is modeled after similar laws implemented across the country. She said in the nine states they have been adopted, the policy is reducing crashes and savings lives.

“We all do have to keep in mind with any type of law, especially one that’s this important and this life saving, we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” she said. “No, we’re not going to get the perfect law and it’s not going to solve all our problems, but that’s why this coalition can help address those other issues. And where that legislation may have faults or shortfalls, we can work on addressing those through other efforts.”

Related: REGISTER | Town Hall: The Push to End Distracted Driving in Michigan


Supreme Court: Detroit Charter Prop Can Reach Ballot Without Gov OK

Proposed Detroit city charter revisions that were initially blocked from being placed on the ballot due to the lack of approval from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer can indeed be placed before voters without her signature, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in an order issued Thursday.

The ruling in the consolidated cases – Sheffield, et al v. Detroit City Clerk, et al (MSC Docket No. 163084) and Lewis, et al v. Detroit City Clerk, et al (MSC Docket No. 163085) – is significant as the Wayne Circuit Court and the Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision both ruled that the proposed revisions drafted by the Detroit Charter Revision Commission should be blocked from the ballot. Much of that decision hinged on ambiguity in the Home Rule City Act regarding whether the governor must approve of the changes before they are presented to voters.

However, the high court in a 4-3 decision on Thursday noted that the act was silent on the issue and that the Michigan Constitution grants cities with broad powers to shape and reshape their charters and that the electorate is to have the final word on the matter – not the Governor.

“Plaintiffs would have us read the statute’s current silence with regard to charter revisions as vesting the governor with an unfettered and irreversible veto over the work of a charter commission that would deprive the electorate of a city of any opportunity to vote on a revised charter unless and until the Governor gives her approval,” the unsigned order stated. “Reading (the act) in isolation, plaintiffs’ position may not seem unreasonable. But we must read (the act) against the backdrop of Article VII Section 22 and Section 34 of the 1963 Constitution and subsequent developments in our caselaw since their adoption.”

When read together, the order stated, the constitutional provisions led the court’s majority to conclude that, in the face of the statute’s silence as to the legal effect of the Governor’s objection, it could not “interpret such silence as requiring gubernatorial approval before a charter revision is submitted to the electors or as granting the governor a veto power that cannot be overridden.”

“We decline to read into MCL 117.22 a requirement that is not explicitly spelled out, bearing in mind that cities continue to enjoy ‘powers not expressly denied’ (citing previous precedent), and the electorate of a city is entitled to the final word as to whether a revised charter is to be adopted,” the order states. “Because MCL 117.22 does not explicitly provide the governor with an unfettered veto in the charter revision process, we decline to create one from the statute’s silence.”

In addition to reversing the judgement of the Court of Appeals, the high court also placed the case on remand to the circuit court because it did not address other issues raised by the parties in light of its previous grant of mandamus relief.

Justice Elizabeth Welch wrote a concurring opinion joined by Justice Richard Bernstein in which she agreed with the majority’s decision to allow the revisions, known locally as Proposal P, to be presented to the residents of Detroit. Should the proposed revisions be adopted, she continued, any concerns with its substance can be resolved as needed.

Justice David Viviano and Justice Elizabeth Clement wrote separate dissenting opinions, both of which were joined by Justice Brian Zahra.

Viviano wrote that a review of the plain meaning of the Home Rule City Act, its amendment history, and other state home rule statutes led him to conclude that gubernatorial approval is a prerequisite to a proposed charter being submitted to electors. He thus believed that the Court of Appeals did not err and resolved the issue correctly and would have affirmed its judgment.

Clement stated that she agreed with Viviano’s analysis of the statutory text, and on that basis alone, she would conclude that the revisions should not be submitted to voters and that the high court should not “entertain constitutional arguments to the contrary.”

The group opposing Proposal P issued a statement criticizing the decision.

“The only people who will benefit from this decision on Proposal P are the lawyers that will litigate this for years to come,” the Coalition to Protect Detroit’s Future said.


Recalls Enable Massive Windfall to Whitmer Campaign Committee

About 40% of the record-breaking $8.65 million campaign cash haul Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s campaign committee has raised this year resulted from those who gave far more than the limit of $7,150 on individual donors thanks to an exemption for an office-holder facing an active recall campaign.

Campaign finance reports for fundraising and spending between Jan. 1 and July 20 were due by 5 p.m. Monday.

A Gongwer News Service analysis showed 92 individuals exceeded the $7,150 limit on individual donations to a statewide candidate for this election cycle. These 96 donors gave $3.37 million combined to the Gretchen Whitmer for Governor committee. Had they given the $7,150 each, it would have amounted to $715,000 combined, meaning the recall exemption enabled the governor to raise another $2.66 million for her committee.

Technically, these excess funds only can be spent on defending the Governor from recall.

Practically speaking, it is easy to envision how these funds could be spent legally in a way that both defends the Governor against recall and assist her reelection campaign.

The recall provision was pointed out to Gongwer by Whitmer campaign spokesperson Mark Fisk when asked about the number of donors who blew well past the $7,150 limit.

“It can be used to defend the recalls or if the funds are not used they can be transferred legally to another account,” Fisk said when asked about how the funds can be used.

There have been dozens of recall petitions sought against Gov. Whitmer. The Michigan Campaign Finance Act allows officeholders to exceed the normal contribution limit as long as a committee has been organized to gather petition signatures and to promote a particular officeholder’s recall.

The campaign finance act provides for the transfer of leftover funds that exceeded the normal contribution limit for purposes of defending against a recall but there are a number of limits and restrictions.

Among the donors who gave well in excess of $7,150:

  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Ronda Stryker of Richland and founder of the Stryker Foundation, Patricia Stryker of the same Stryker family, attorney Mark Bernstein and Stacy Schusterman of Tulsa, Oklahoma, an energy executive, each giving $250,000 each;
  • Karla Jurvetson of Los Altos, California; James Offield of Harbor Springs; Heidi Stolte of Seattle, Washington; and Stephen Silberstein of Belvedere Tiburon, California, who all gave $100,000 each.
  • Another 11 gave $50,000 each;
  • Another 23 gave $25,000 each.

Gov. Whitmer’s filing also formally disclosed the expense of more than $27,000 for the private flight she took in March to visit her father in Florida.

Michigan Rising Action, a Republican organization, as promised formally filed a campaign finance complaint. The governor’s team has said because she performed work while in Florida, she can use the campaign fund to pay for the flight under the incidental expense provision. Others have said because the trip was clearly personal, it does not qualify.

“Gov. Whitmer has tried to run from her secret flight to Florida for months, and her repeated attempts to cover-up her hypocrisy have only resulted in more scandal and legal trouble,” said Eric Ventimiglia, executive director for Michigan Rising Action, in a statement. “Whitmer’s latest attempt to pass this personal trip off as a campaign expense is a clear violation of Michigan’s campaign finance laws, and she must be held accountable once and for all for her repeated breach of ethics and the law.”

Detroit Regional Chamber Statement on the Passing of Carl Levin, Michigan’s Longest-Serving Senator

Detroit Regional Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Sandy K. Baruah issued the following statement on the passing of Carl Levin, Michigan’s longest-serving Senator.

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MLIVE | Michigan’s Longest-Serving U.S. Senator, Carl Levin, Dies at 87

Senators Stabenow, Peters and Congressmen Gomez, Kildee, Larson Introduce New Bill to Invest in America’s Downtowns

Bill will create tax credit to convert unused office buildings to residential, retail and commercial properties

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI), Gary Peters (MI), and U.S. Representatives Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Dan Kildee (MI-05), and John B. Larson (CT-01) today introduced a new bill to invest in America’s changing downtowns and business districts following the COVID-19 crisis. The Revitalizing Downtowns Act will create the Qualified Office Conversion Tax Credit to convert unused office buildings into residential, commercial and mixed-used properties.

“As our workplaces change because of the COVID-19 crisis, we will see more unused buildings in our downtowns. Converting these buildings to residential and mixed-use properties will benefit families and our cities,” said Senator Stabenow. “Our bill will help with this transition, support the economic growth of our cities, help small businesses and provide people affordable places to live.”

“There’s no doubt this pandemic has made significant and lasting impacts on the way we operate, including on our economy, cities, business districts and workforce,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased to join Senator Stabenow in introducing this forward-thinking, commonsense legislation that would offer incentives for redevelopment in our downtowns, encourage the expansion of affordable housing options and help us build back better.”

“Our country has always used ingenuity and innovation to guide us through our most daunting challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different,” said Congressman Gomez. “As we continue to adapt to this crisis, legislation like the Revitalizing Downtowns Act will help continue that tradition by transforming empty offices into safe, affordable housing for those most in need. I’d like to thank Senators Stabenow and Peters and Representatives Kildee and Larson for joining me in this effort to use the Qualified Office Conversion Tax Credit to combat our nation’s housing crisis and expand our economy for all Americans.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live and work. The Revitalizing Downtowns Act will help breathe life into our cities and towns by repurposing vacant and obsolete office buildings into mixed-use, residential or modern office space—creating opportunities for Michigan’s communities to grow their economy and create jobs. I am pleased that our bill focuses on affordable and quality housing, which is a top priority for Michigan families,” said Congressman Kildee.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way workplaces operate. As more businesses move to hybrid work models, we need to be doing everything we can to help our local communities deal with the loss of office workers and empty buildings. I’m proud to join Senator Stabenow and Reps. Gomez and Kildee to introduce the Qualified Office Conversion Tax Credit to turn these obsolete office spaces into quality housing and retail options. I commend Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and the Greater Hartford Metro Alliance for taking the lead on this effort, because of how vital it would be to the Hartford region,” said Congressman Larson.

“Converting obsolete office buildings into residential or mixed-use developments represents a critical opportunity to bolster the economic promise of American cities while expanding affordable housing opportunities, supporting small businesses, and creating more resilient city centers,” said David Downey, President and CEO of the International Downtown Association and member of the Revitalize Our Cities Coalition. “While the economics of conversions is challenging and requires significant private investment, supportive tax policy can create incentives and make it financially feasible. We encourage Congress to pass this crucial legislation quickly.”

The COVID-19 crisis disrupted the traditional workplace with many offices transitioning to remote work. As the proportion of people working from home significantly changes, buildings become vacant or underutilized. This can have significant, long-term consequences for downtowns and business districts.

The Revitalizing Downtowns Act would create the Qualified Office Conversion Tax Credit. This would create a 20 percent tax credit for expenses to convert office buildings to residential, commercial, or mixed-use properties. Qualifying residential conversion would be required to incorporate affordable housing.

Chamber Presents Poll Findings to Rep. Stevens and Municipal Leaders

Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber, presented findings from the Chamber’s May Michigan Priorities Poll to U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI 11), and municipal leaders from her district, which encompasses parts of Oakland and Wayne Counties.

“As Michigan works to expand vaccination rates across the state and support economic growth, it is important for the Chamber to work with local, state, and federal leaders to help accelerate a post-pandemic recovery, said Williams after the meeting. “Providing data and economic analysis of what is happening on the ground throughout the state will help our leaders make sound public policy decisions.”

Key Points Shared at Municipal Leaders Meeting

Policy Could Make Small Boosts to Vaccination Rates

Our poll indicates that the number of individuals willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine has increased significantly from December of 2020, but only marginally since February 2021. There remains a stubborn 20% of Michiganders who do not want to get the COVID-19 vaccine under any circumstances.  It appears that most existing policy interventions will have a marginal impact without innovative thinking.  We also know that COVID safety was cited as the number one barrier to getting people back into the labor force (22.9%).  Data helped shape the Chamber’s thinking around our creation of the vaccine incentives for 1 million Michiganders to get vaccinated in our 100k by Labor Day Return to Work Plan.

Unemployment Benefits Are a Modest Part of Our Labor Challenge

Michigan’s labor market is tight.  Our unemployment rate outpaces the national average by 1.2% and our Unemployment Insurance system has been stressed to unprecedented levels since the onset of the pandemic.  Getting people from UIA into jobs serves a social good and state budget savings, but our labor market is only going to get healthier when we attract more people into the market.  The poll told us this, 4.2% of people employed before the pandemic left the workforce altogether and skewed towards workers at the end of their careers.  In order to address Michigan’s labor challenge in the short and medium term, policymakers should focus on expanding the labor market.  We suggest incentives like $2,000 Return to Work grants, coupled with $1,000 grants for employers that can be used as either incentive to bring people back into the workforce or retrain them. We acknowledge $400 million this plan would cost is a significant figure and seems counter intuitive to some. However, when you consider that Michigan spent an unprecedented $22 billion on unemployment during only the first 6 months of the pandemic, it is a fiscally responsible one-time investment to grow the workforce.

Voters Want Convenient, Secure Elections

The Chamber has been clear on our principles for any changes to elections laws that:

  • The 2020 election was well executed, fair, and lacked meaningful levels of voter fraud. Therefore, changes to voting rules and processes must be made carefully and not create unreasonable impediments for voters.
  • Improving security coupled with more customer-centric voting processes need not be a partisan issue; as the Democratic governor and Republican legislature of Kentucky recently demonstrated.
  • Some elements of our society face higher hurdles to vote, including restricted personal resources and more difficult polling place access – and these issues must be addressed. Making voting more difficult is contrary to the ethos of both social and technological advancement.
  • Michigan businesses compete nationally and internationally for diverse talent to remain competitive. More restrictive voting rules send an unwelcoming message to prospective talent and hinder our state’s economic competitiveness.

Rep. Stevens and municipal leaders were grateful for the Chamber’s analysis and work.

Aaron Burrell Named a “40 Under 40” Honoree by the National Bar Association

DETROIT, Mich. – Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Aaron Burrell (Member, Detroit) has been named a “40 Under 40” Honoree by the National Bar Association.

National Bar Association’s “40 Under 40” honors the nation’s top lawyers under 40 who exemplify a broad range of high achievement, including in innovation, vision, leadership and legal and community involvement. Honorees represent a cross-section of legal professionals, including big firm, solo and industry practitioners, government lawyers, judges, academicians, corporate counsels, elected officials, and various other lawyers, all of whom are helping to advance the goals and mission of the National Bar Association.

“I’m honored to be a part of the National Bar Association’s exemplary 2021 Class of 40 Under 40,” says Aaron.

Aaron is a Member of Dickinson Wright and serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. He serves on the board of directors of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and Oakland County Bar Association. He has served in leadership positions in numerous organizations including the State Bar of Michigan, the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, and the National Bar Association. Aaron is recognized by numerous publications as a leader in his field including Diversity MBA Magazine, Profiles in Diversity Journal, Crain’s Detroit Business, Michigan Lawyers Weekly and Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 475 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. The firm has 19 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 12 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise, and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification and one of the only firms with ISO/IEC 27701:2019 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management procedures, security controls and privacy processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

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