Michiganís largest county and city send the biggest contingent of lawmakers to Lansing, making the choices of Wayne County and Detroit voters particularly significant in a year when every legislative seat is on the ballot.
Here are our endorsements in the contested races for the Aug. 5 primary:
District 2 (Detroit, Highland Park, Hamtramck, Harper Woods and all five Grosse Pointe Communities): Democrat incumbent Bert Johnson gets our endorsement. Heís served the district well and helped create Detroitís Regional Transit Authority. Johnson is against future tax increases and prioritizes assuring the longevity of Michiganís roads.
District 4 (Detroit): This race features two well-known figures in Detroit politics: Incumbent Virgil Smith and term-limited state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is seeking to move to the Senate.
Smith should be returned to Lansing for a final term. Tlaib should continue her work in the community and take another run in 2018. Both candidates would represent the district well if elected in November.
District 5 (Detroit, Redford Twp., Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Inkster): Democrat and current state Rep. David Knezek gets our support. The first Iraq or Afghanistan War veteran elected to the Michigan Legislature, Knezek wants to decrease state spending on corrections and understands the intricacies of reforming Michiganís drug laws, including medical marijuana.
District 7 (Livonia, Northville, Plymouth, Canton Twp., city of Wayne): Republican incumbent Pat Colbeck gets our endorsement over challenger Matthew Edwards. Colbeck has outlined solutions to lower health care costs, expand Michigan residentsí access to coverage, and improve the quality of care. Heíd also like to decrease state spending and improve the quality of our roads.
District 1 (Detroit, Grosse Pointe Woods, Village of Grosse Pointe Shores, Harper Woods): Rebecca Thompson is our choice to replace Democratic State Rep. Brian Banks. Thompson is senior director of engagement at the United Way of Southeastern Michigan. If elected in November, Thompson would work to lower auto insurance rates for Detroiters. Thompson sees an education as the ďpassport out of povertyĒ and would work to see that Michigan schools are properly funded.
(Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park): Incumbent Alberta Tinsley-Talabi should be renominated.
District 3 (Detroit): The race features two candidates who both want to give back to their hometown: Carron Pickins, an attorney, and Clarence Gayles, former district director for ex-State Sen. Buzz Thomas.
Gayles would fight for increased accountability and transparency from charter school authorizers and operators. On roads, he sees toll roads, a small increase in the gas tax, and higher fees for heavy trucks all as possible solutions. Pickins, who lost a Detroit City Council race to council president pro tem George Cushingberry Jr. last year, is also a good candidate, but Gayles gets our endorsement for his experience handling constituent concerns in Lansing.
District 5 (Detroit): Not only does Fred Durhal III come to the race with name recognition ó his father is retiring State Rep. Fred Durhal Jr. ó he comes with a plan. To fix Michiganís roads, Durhal would like to see toll roads implemented. To keep cities financially solvent, Durhal supports the return of revenue sharing, and credits its disappearance with at least part of the blame for Detroitís crisis.
District 6 (Detroit, Ecorse, River Rouge):
Stephanie Chang is our choice to fill the seat vacated by State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is being term-limited out of office. Chang is an experienced community organizer who would represent one of Michiganís most diverse legislative districts.
District 8 (Detroit): This race features two education reform-minded candidates in Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, an education consultant, and Stacy Pugh,who gets our nod.
Pugh, a Cass Tech alum, wants to reverse Michiganís brain drain. Pugh sees many forces at work pushing Michiganians of all stripes out of the state.
(Detroit, Dearborn): This is a tough race between incumbent Harvey Santana, seeking his third term, and Dearborn school board president Hussein Berry, a rematch of the 2012 primary, which Santana won. We favor Santana.
In his second term, Santana made a concerted effort to become more diplomatic and statesmanlike with Republicans.
District 10 (Detroit, Redford Twp.): Roy McAlister Jr. was endorsed by The News in his 2013 run for the City Council, and should be given the opportunity to serve in Lansing. McAlister, a former homicide commander in the Detroit Police Department, is passionate about collaborating at the local, state and federal level to make Michiganís biggest city safer.
Leslie Love and Jay Johnson would also represent the district well, but McAlisterís diverse experiences and his work in some of the hardest-hit communities will help him serve Detroit well in Lansing.
(Livonia, Dearborn Heights, Westland, Garden City, Inkster): With the districtís current Rep. Knezek running for state Senate, Dearborn Heights Councilman Ned Apigian is the best choice for the Democratic ticket. Heís a self-employed architect and urban planner, and will prioritize bringing high-skilled jobs to Michigan.
We endorse neither Republican candidate in the districtís race.
District 13 (Allen Park, Dearborn Heights, Southgate): Deli and bakery owner Frank Liberati is the leading candidate for Democrats in this district. Heís worked in a variety of industries, and served as Allen Park school board president for seven years.
District 19 (Livonia): Wayne County Commissioner Laura Cox gets our endorsement for the Republican race. Sheís been a strong commissioner with an eye toward fiscal responsibility and accountability for the county, and will represent Livonia well in Lansing. The winner will face Democratic candidate Stacey Dogonski, who is unopposed.
District 21 (Belleville, Canton Twp., Van Buren Twp.):
Kristy Pagan, the associate director of development at Wayne State University Law School, is the best choice for this districtís Democratic ticket. Pagan personally understands the struggle many young people face finding quality work in the state, but wants that to change.
District 23 (Trenton, Woodhaven, Gibraltar):
Andy Linko, Brownstown Township supervisor, is the best choice for the districtís Democratic ticket. Linko places a priority on building a rainy day fund.