Young unveils campaign ad, plan for Detroit

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Detroit — A crowd chanting “Coleman” packed a viewing party Monday to launch the first major campaign advertisement for Detroit mayoral candidate Coleman Young II, who touted his platform and sought voters to spark a progressive movement aimed at rebuilding the city.

“We are the difference between people staying in their houses and their house being foreclosed on,” the state senator told the audience at Thomas Magee’s Sporting House Whiskey Bar near the Eastern Market. “This is the resistance, this is the movement, this is the revolution and we are going to win.”

The son of Detroit’s first African-American mayor, the late Mayor Coleman A. Young, is among candidates hoping to unseat the incumbent city leader, Mike Duggan. He is also considered the most high-profile challenger to Duggan among seven who are certified to appear on the August ballot.

Since announcing his candidacy in February, Young has criticized Duggan, arguing neighborhoods have been ignored in favor of developing other areas during the mayor’s tenure.

That theme anchored the brief ad that premiered during Monday’s gathering hosted by the newly formed Save Our City Super PAC, which supports progressive causes and candidates.

In the clip that attendees clamored to watch three times, images of a revitalized downtown were juxtaposed with those showing dilapidated structures and languishing streets. “What about our schools?” an announcer asked. “Have we been forgotten?”

Citing a quote from his father about the virtues of “a good-paying job,” Young then appeared on a city street, saying: “I want investment right here in the neighborhood.”

That focus on residents distinguishes Young as a leader to run Detroit, supporter Hilton Napoleon, former Inkster police chief, told guests. “We have the experienced candidate and most of all we have the most concerned candidate for this city. ... We’ve had other mayors come in and say: ‘We’re going to do this for neighborhood.’ And it never got done. But I believe this time is going to be different.”

Introduced to the crowd as “the people’s candidate,” Young vowed to find ways to create jobs, keep schools and recreation centers open, boost skilled trade opportunities, and tackle issues such as high auto insurance rates.

“I think it’s high time that we have a mayor who does stuff for the people, not to the people,” he said to applause.

The message resonated with potential voters such as Eric Porter, who works in the city and plans to relocate there soon.

“I’m really excited. I want to support someone who’s doing positive things and will do something for the neighborhoods,” he said. “That’s what we need: one Detroit, not two Detroits.”

Levi Gourdie, 23, of Detroit said he has been less than impressed with some of Duggan’s efforts and came for up-close interaction with Young. “I wanted to hear what his plans are for the neighborhood as opposed to downtown,” he said.

After speaking, Young said he was optimistic a wide swath of Detroiters would embrace his ideas. “We’re feeding the energy. We’ve got that young momentum.”

The city’s Election Commission last week certified eight mayoral candidates for the Aug. 8 primary ballot.

Only half of the 16 hopefuls who filed for the mayor’s race by the April 25 deadline were approved. The others were disqualified for not meeting residency or signature requirements, according to the official municipal election candidate list.

Besides Duggan and Young, the list includes document specialist Articia Bomer, youth mentor Edward D. Dean, activist Curtis Christopher Greene, Donna Marie Pitts, Angelo Brown and Danetta L. Simpson.

Artist Ingrid LaFleur, who was disqualified from the ballot for not meeting residency requirements, intends to run as a write-in candidate, her campaign confirmed last week.