Former deputy mayor Anthony Adams makes bid for Detroit mayor official

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

Detroit — Anthony Adams, who served as deputy mayor in former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's administration, is joining the 2021 race for the city's top office. 

Adams officially announced his bid for Detroit mayor on Tuesday, saying the city can no longer afford Mayor Mike Duggan's "benign neglect." 

During a live-streamed event, the Cincinnati-born politician called on Detroiters for their vote in the Aug. 3 primary election. The top two vote-getters face off in the November election in the nonpartisan race.

Former deputy mayor, Anthony Adams, announced his campaign for mayor of Detroit Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.

"Detroiters also need to know that there is a clear option, that they don't have to settle for what they're getting," Adams said. "Throughout my life, I've had successes and failures. I am not a perfect man. I don't profess to be a messiah, but because of my life experiences I believe I can be a good mayor."

Adams, an attorney, formed a campaign committee early last year and has stressed there is a "dramatic need" for a new mayor. 

Adams' campaign is focused on reducing crime, reforming police practices, addressing the over-taxation of homeowners, structural racism, hunger and water shutoffs. 

One of the first things Adams said he would do if elected is drop the city's lawsuit against members of the activist group Detroit Will Breathe. The city argued in a November countersuit that the protests amounted to a conspiracy and that demonstrators should be forced to pay any damages.

Adams also said he would implement a "Get your s--- together day" so residents with any legal troubles or violations can get help on fixing their records. 

"We must provide people with the tools necessary to uplift and restore pride in this city," Adams said. "Folks in this town don't need to be managed and loitered over, they need to be empowered (and) economically developed."

Adams said his association with Kilpatrick won't hinder his campaign because it is focused on moving Detroit forward.

His announcement comes almost a week after President Donald Trump in his last day in office commuted Kilpatrick's 28-year prison sentence. Kilpatrick, 50, was convicted of orchestrating a racketeering and bribery scheme while in public office and still had 16 years remaining on his sentence, the longest prison term issued in a federal corruption case in U.S. history. 

Adams told The Detroit News after Kilpatrick's release that he wished the former mayor well. Duggan also has been supportive of Kilpatrick's release, calling it a decision that "Trump got right."

"I am my own man and I'm running on my own record," Adams said when asked about his connection to Kilpatrick. "And I am committed to moving forward with a robust campaign because I believe that I have the agendas and I can speak to the issues that people are concerned about."

The former Detroit school board president is the first prominent challenger for Duggan, who announced last month his bid for a third term.

A former executive assistant to the late former Mayor Coleman A. Young, Adams also has held roles with Detroit's public school system, including as the district's corporation counsel. 

Adams is a principal at Marine Adams Law, P.C. in Detroit and said he's been attending virtual community meetings during the pandemic to hear from residents and neighborhood organizations. 

Besides Adams, former Detroit mayoral candidate Myya Jones and northwest Detroit resident Cheryl Webb have candidate committees for the August primary, Wayne County elections records show. 

Jones ran for mayor in 2017 and, later, for state representative in Michigan's 4th District. Webb, a home health care worker, said she also has been a grassroots advocate for seniors and at-risk youth. She wants to improve neighborhoods and encourage more voter participation in the city.

Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, a term-limited state representative elected in November to Detroit's school board, considered a run for the city's top office.

On Monday, she said she's focused on the district's 50,000 school children, "unless there is a massive cry for me to reconsider."

ataylor@detroitnews.com