Conyers’ Resignation Opens Up Possible Free-For-All to Fill Seat

What is the future of that seat now? What does it mean for the future of Detroiters’ representation in Congress?

Jake Neher/WDET

On Tuesday, the storied congressional career of John Conyers came to an end.

Despite Conyers’ accomplishments and legendary status as a civil rights icon, the “dean” of Congress did not ride off into the sunset. Instead, he quietly exited in disgrace.

If accusations of sexual misconduct weren’t enough to force Conyers out, the fact that he cut a side-deal with one of his accusers using taxpayer dollars to pay for a no-show job made it even more inevitable. And the Detroit Free Press argued in an editorial on Tuesday that it made it even more necessary.

In his radio interview on the Mildred Gaddis Show in Detroit during which he announced his plans to resign, Conyers said he supports his son John Conyers III to succeed him in that seat. His great nephew — state Sen. Ian Conyers (D-Detroit) — also plans to jump into that race. And they aren’t the only ones expected to run.

What is the future of that seat now? What does it mean for the future of Detroiters’ representation in Congress going forward?

Sen. Ian Conyers joins the show to talk about his interest in running to succeed his great uncle, as well as the situation surrounding accusations of sexual misconduct against the former Congressman and others.

“It’s one of those moments in our country that we need to start focusing on the culture and starting as early as possible with our young men in teaching them what’s acceptable and what’s not,” says Sen. Conyers.

He says he was “shocked” to find out about the Congressional Office of Compliance, which has quietly paid out settlements with accusers after what many say is a burdensome complaint process.

“I think I’m very glad to see this come to light and to see legislation that’s strong in getting rid of it but still holding a safe space for those who have credible claims to come forward and not feel like they are victims, especially those who are, in fact, survivors,” says Sen. Conyers.

Michigan Public Radio Network State Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta also joins the show to talk about who might be running for that seat, the politics involved, and what happens with victims’ claims now that Congressman Conyers has resigned.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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