Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter Makes Case for First Full Term

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

Dave Coulter, who is running as the incumbent in the Oakland County Executive primary race, says he is proud to be “leading this county on some issues that are long overdue.”

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After the death of longtime County Executive L. Brooks Patterson last year, Oakland County is at a political crossroads in 2020. Democrats have gained control of most of the county government. Now there are primary battles for many of those positions.

Interview: Dave Coulter 

Incumbent Oakland County Executive running against challenger County Treasurer Andy Meisner, who will  join Henderson for an interview on Wednesday, July 22 at 9:00 a.m.

Judge me by my record. I have an 18-year record of service, it’s a record of results,” — Dave Coulter, Oakland County Executive

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Candidate Brief

Key experience: Coulter was appointed to the role of Oakland County Executive last year after L. Brooks Patterson’s death. Prior to his appointment, Coulter served as Mayor of Ferndale since 2011 and was on the Oakland County Commission from 2002 to 2010. 

Major endorsements: Former Congressman Sander Levin, Oakland County Democratic Black Caucus, Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus, UAW Region 1

Issues:

  • COVID-19 and Public Health: Coulter says with four epidemiologists on staff, he has relied on the advice of scientists in navigating the high volume of coronavirus cases in Oakland County. “We’ve really learned in on the science. We brought a very high curve in Oakland County down and I’m very proud of how we’ve done that,” says Coulter. 
  • Transit: Coulter says public mass transit is the issue where he and his opponent, Andy Meisner, are most divided. On last year’s transit push, Coulter says he worked hard to reach a plan from the start, meetings with leaders in Lansing to attempt to get the legislation changed. He says that Meisner didn’t share his urgent commitment to getting a transit deal done. “He wasn’t there. He wasn’t in that fight. And I don’t understand why,” says Coulter of Meisner’s approach to the issue. 
  • Police Reform: Coulter says the country is just at the start of the Black Lives Matter movement and that equity needs to be paramount in decisions going forward. He points to his appointment of the first Chief Diversity/Racial Equity Officer in Oakland County history as a start.

    As the Mayor of Ferndale, Coulter faced a report released by the ACLU of Michigan finding substantial disparities in ticketing of white and Black motorists. Coulter said he responded by implementing reforms in line with recommendations from former President Barack Obama’s President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. “We implemented some of the most progressive police reforms in Oakland County. There’s a perception that not everyone is treated fairly in Ferndale and we worked hard to address that,” says Coulter. 

Detroit Today student producer Clare Brennan wrote this article.


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