Ian Conyers announces U.S. Congress bid

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Detroit – First-term State Senator Ian Conyers, D-Detroit, announced Friday he plans to run for the U.S. Congressional seat vacated by his great-uncle John Conyers Jr.

Ian Conyers, 29, was elected to the Michigan State Senate in a 2016 special election to fill the 4th District seat by the resignation of Virgil Smith Jr., who stepped down amid a domestic violence scandal. The 4th District in Wayne County includes the cities of Allen Park, Lincoln Park and Southgate. Elected at the age of 28, Conyers became the youngest state senator in Michigan history. He assumed office in November 2016.

“My family is from around here,” said Ian Conyers, who made his announcement in front of the Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy on Tireman Avenue. “My great-grandfather settled around here. Some (family) went to school here. As a student teacher, I even taught math here.

“I will go to Washington and work for the people in Detroit,” Conyers said.

Chief among his focus will be issues involving civil rights and economic justice, he continued. “It’s time to put people back to work and I intend to continue my grand-uncle’s political legacy.”

The 13th Congressional district in Wayne County he seeks to represent includes portions of Detroit, some suburbs and was the only congressional district in Michigan to be contained within a a single county in the 2012 redistricting.

John Conyers Jr., the nation’s longest-serving U.S. congressman, resigned last month amidst allegations of sexual harassment of mistreatment by former female aides. The 88-year-old Conyers — who served 52 years as a U.S. Representative — denied allegations of wrongdoing but bowed to pressure from other Democrats to be the first Washington lawmaker to step down.

Conyers has endorsed his son, John Conyers III, a partner in a Detroit minority-run hedge fund, to succeed him. The younger Conyers said he did not seek his father’s endorsement and hasn’t decided whether to run for public office.

While not dismissing a potential Conyers versus Conyers race, Ian Conyers said that doesn’t concern him.

“It’s my understanding he (Conyers III) hasn’t decided if he even wants to run for the seat,” he said. “I am fully committed.”

Conyers noted he attended Georgetown University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in government and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning. He served as a regional field director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and was also Democratic Party Treasurer for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District.

Conyers, who is on the Economic Development & International Investment , Energy & Technology, and Banking & Financial Services Committees in the State Senate, stressed he “knows Capitol Hill” and “am not impressed by Washington.”

“While others (candidates) will have to familiarize themselves with Washington and how it works I already have a good idea,” said Conyers. “I am prepared to begin work from day one that I am elected to office.”

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