Print Friendly and PDF

Designing Detroit’s Future: Duggan Administration Energized as it Eyes Third Term

By Karen Dybis

As Detroit’s mayor, Mike Duggan keeps his core values front and center: He wants Detroiters to have access to jobs, affordable housing, health care and, over the last 18 months, a sense that a pandemic-besieged city can come out on the other side.

Mayor Duggan, who is seeking his third term this November, is a favorite speaker at Mackinac Policy Conference. In a question-and-answer interview, he talks about getting back to in-person meetings, boosting jobs and job skills for Detroiters, and how he hopes to create equity across all parts of the city.

Is there a renewed energy among your team to get work done in Detroit? 

There’s no doubt about it. We have $826 million in the American Rescue Plan where we had to make decisions and get (proposed spending) approved by City Council. We held 60 community meetings in basically 30 days. Everybody was energized. Everyone was hosting meetings, half in person, half on Zoom. We successfully got the plan through City Council in June. It wasn’t just people came back to work to come back to work. They came back to work with the opportunity to design the city’s future.

The past year has had many challenges, including issues related to equity and inclusion. How have you handled that?  

There were more than 200,000 who left Detroit in the decade before I got elected. The folks who stayed wanted to make sure that they benefitted from staying, and I think we’ve seen it. Property values have gone up. The unemployment rate is way down. We’ve done things like the Chrysler Jeep plant, where the first 3,000 people they hired were all Detroiters. It’s core to what we’re doing as an administration – we’re creating a city that benefits the people that stayed.

Karen Dybis is a freelance writer in Metro Detroit.