Detroit Mayor November 2 Election Candidate Guide

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Image credit: Meta Stange/WDET

Incumbent Mike Duggan faces challenger Anthony Adams in the race for Detroit Mayor.

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Voters head to the polls on November 2 to cast their votes for local leaders, ballot proposals and more. 

Get to know the candidates running for local office in your community with 101.9 FM WDET’s Candidate Guides. Surveys were distributed to candidates to complete and you can see the responses for candidates for Detroit Mayor below.

See a full list of races covered here.


Related Race: Detroit City Council, Detroit City Clerk


Anthony Adams

Age: 65

Current Job: Principal at Marine Adams Law PC

Education: Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban Management and Planning from the University of Cincinnati. Juris Doctor Degree from Georgetown University, Law Center in Washington, D.C.

About Anthony Adams: I am the child of a single mother who devoted her life to making me the person I am. I have two adult children and a super supportive wife. I have been a practicing attorney for over 45 years, and I am a public servant and not a politician! I love Detroit and I am committed to making our city benefit all residents. I am a sports enthusiast and I love music and live performances. I am a good chef and pit-master.

I have been an avid reader all of my life and I love to consume information and data. I was a member of Tabernacle Church and over the last decade I have been a member and President of the Social Justice Ministry of Triumph Church. I love gardening, golf, traveling, and community service. My children graduated from DPS, and I was an active parent. This led me to become general counsel for the DPS and I eventually won an election to become a school board member and was elected President. With others, I led the fight against emergency management and to restore control of our school system back to the citizens.

Why are you running for Detroit Mayor? I am running for mayor to restore equity in our city, our neighborhoods and how we spend our tax dollars. We must address the inequity in how the city uses our resources and tax captures to build downtown and provide corporate welfare to wealthy developers while neglecting neighborhood development. I am running to reverse my opponent’s policy of benign neglect to force Black and brown long-term residents out of Detroit by over-taxation, no assistance to homeowners for repairs, wrongful foreclosures which stripped families of their assets, high drainage fees which put homeownership at risk, violent crimes which are hushed up and equity in hiring Black and brown contractors. No longer will there be preferential treatment for people who do not live in Detroit to acquire land and other resources. My opponent is neglecting our library system, water system and transportation systems.

I will reverse the trend under my opponent’s leadership which turned Detroit from a city that had a majority of residents who owned their homes to a majority of renters. My opponent has employed a trickle-down development philosophy that has failed to assist small and medium-sized businesses, which employ Detroiters, to go in on helping corporations expand their footprint. The community benefits my opponent approved have never met the hiring goals, environmental standards and other promises made to affected communities and I will correct that.

What is the most important issue facing Detroit? Inequity in how the city uses its resources and tax captures to focus on downtown at the expense of neighborhood stability, neighborhood improvements, policing our neighborhoods, transportation, small business growth, wraparound services for our youth and training programs to equip our residents for high paying jobs.

How would you address that issue? The mayor sets the priorities for the city’s budget, seeks additional resources from businesses, foundations, and the federal government for priority projects. I will shift our priorities and redirect the focus and use of our dollars towards neighborhood development and stabilizing people in their homes. I will partner with foundations and seek corporate and federal support to fund ongoing services and improve the quality of life for single mothers, children, and out-of-school youth. I will change future community benefit agreements to include formal penalties for non-performance and attempt to increase accountability in current agreements. I will change the nature of policing and employ community intervention specialists and focus on early prevention and intervention.

What actions/decisions by the current mayoral administration or city council have you disagreed with? Sadly, I disagree with a plethora of decisions and actions made by the current mayor. I will list just a few of them.

  • Senior citizens are being neglected and I will implement inter-generational roles to engage them with our youth.
  • The amount of contracts on goods and services from Black and brown vendors is at an all-time low. Less than 5% of an $800 million annual spend goes to minorities of color. I will change that.
  • I vehemently disagree with the community benefit agreements he has committed the city to. We gave up too much and received too little. The hiring goals for Detroiters and other promises were never met.
  • The Detroit Land Bank has been a catastrophe and engaged in illegal activity. I will dismantle the Land Bank and create a homeownership authority.
  • I disagree with the emphasis on supporting big corporate projects and neglecting the 130,000 small and medium-sized businesses that employ Detroiters.
  • I strongly disagree with how he has managed the water department. There have been multiple floods over the last five years because he has neglected maintenance and the agreed-upon improvement plan.
  • I take issue with his service cuts to the transportation department and his inability to create mobility options.
  • I strongly disagree with his insistence on suing peaceful protesters who supported Black Lives Matter.
  • I strongly disagree with his decision to ignore the over-taxation of Detroiters and not address the $600 million and more that was robbed from our citizens.
  • I take serious issue with his refusal to attack structural racism in our city which hampers the quality of life of our citizens.
  • I disagree with his policies that ignore reducing poverty in Detroit.

Mike Duggan

Age: 63

Current job: Mayor of Detroit

Education: University of Michigan Law

About Mike Duggan: I was born in the City of Detroit and I have spent my entire career working in the city. My goals for the city have always remained the same: to improve the quality of life in the City of Detroit and ensure opportunity reaches every neighborhood and every Detroiter. My first job out of school was at a law firm in downtown Detroit. I was later hired to work in the Wayne County law department. Before long, I was tapped to serve as Deputy Wayne County Executive under Ed McNamara from 1987 through 2000. Following my time as deputy county executive, I was elected Wayne County prosecutor.  Before running for Mayor, I was CEO of the Detroit Medical Center. In that role, I partnered with workers and unions to lead the Detroit Medical Center out of near bankruptcy and back to profitability. I’ve served as mayor of the City of Detroit since January 2014.

My administration spent the first term just focusing on delivering the basic services every Detroiter deserves –working streetlights, reliable bus service, prompt EMS response, clean and safe parks. In the second term, Detroit re-emerged as a major competitor for major employers, bringing thousands of good-paying jobs to the City of Detroit. The huge growth in businesses opened by entrepreneurs of color is breathing real vibrancy into our neighborhood corridors. But we have so much more to do to make sure the recovery spreads to every neighborhood and to every Detroiter. Thanks to $400 Million from the American Rescue Plan, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make massive investments in public safety, fighting intergenerational poverty, closing the digital divide, supporting our small businesses and much more. Due to the overwhelming support of Proposal N, we have the funding we need to continue clearing blight from our neighborhoods, preserving the homes that can be saved and demolishing those that can’t. We will continue to preserve and create more affordable housing throughout the City of Detroit.  Every day, we will work to chip away at barriers that have plagued Detroit for far too long and ensure opportunity is within reach for everyone.

My goals for the city have always remained the same: to improve the quality of life in the City of Detroit and ensure opportunity reaches every neighborhood and every Detroiter.” — Mike Duggan

What is the most important issue facing Detroit? I will continue to focus on improving public safety and fighting intergenerational poverty.

How would you address that issue? Thanks to the support of Detroit City Council and the American Rescue Plan, we are investing an additional $50 million into public safety, more than $60 million invested in fighting intergenerational poverty through programs like home repair for seniors, low income residents and those with disabilities, foreclosure prevention and $100 million for employment training and assistance.

What is a recent action/decision by the current city council you have disagreed with, or an action/decision from your own administration that you would have approached differently with hindsight? I believe Detroit City Council is doing a great job and we work together in the interest of our citizens. Our job as leaders is not to criticize each other but to work together in the interest of the people we serve and constantly improve upon our policies and programs.


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