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President Biden endorses Duggan for third term as Detroit's mayor

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — President Joe Biden has endorsed Mayor Mike Duggan just one month before the November election, as the mayor continues his bid for a third term to lead the city of Detroit.

Then-Vice President Joe Biden, right, and Mike Duggan at Cafe Roma in Detroit in January 2014.

In a statement Wednesday morning, Biden said Duggan is "one of the best mayors in America."

"I know him. I trust him," Biden said. "I’ve watched him help lift Detroit off its back by betting on the American worker. I’ve watched him get folks vaccinated to help beat the pandemic. And he will be a key partner as we help Detroit, the state of Michigan and our nation build back better."

The statement came a day after the first-term president visited an Operating Engineers training facility in Howell as he tried to gain support for his Build Back Better agenda, a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and an additional multitrillion-dollar bill, which he described as focused on "human infrastructure." The larger bill would invest in child care, higher education, pre-kindergarten and combating climate change.

Duggan was not in attendance during the president's trip to Michigan on Tuesday, the fourth in Biden's nearly 10 months in office.

"Mike is the mayor who will deliver because he’s always looking out for the people. We need to re-elect him as mayor once again," Biden concluded.

Duggan was an early supporter and endorsed Biden for president ahead of the 2020 primary in the race against then-President Donald Trump. Duggan last visited the White House in February with governors to discuss the coronavirus relief package.

Duggan said in a statement Wednesday that "he is truly humbled and deeply grateful" for the endorsement.

"Detroit could have no better friend than Joe Biden. President Biden has fought for the City of Detroit every step of the way," he said. "I cannot thank the President enough for his support, leadership and years of friendship. I look forward to working with President Biden as he fights to ensure America’s economic recovery reaches working families across our country and right here in Detroit."

Duggan last met with Biden at an Antrim County cherry farm during Biden's previous visit in July following severe flooding that hit communities across Metro Detroit in June.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., left, Gov. Larry Hogan, R-Md., center and Mayor Mike Duggan, D-Detroit, right, listen as President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with a bipartisan group of mayors and governors to discuss a coronavirus relief package, in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, in Washington.

The mayor said he showed Biden photos of the flooding impact and urged his help in seeking a presidential disaster declaration, which Biden granted.

While in Howell on Tuesday, Biden mentioned the flooding in Metro Detroit as he touted his infrastructure proposal's $50 billion spending to combat the impacts of climate change. He also emphasized that funding in the pending social services and climate legislation would cut child care costs for more than half of most low- and middle-income Michigan residents. Biden said the country needs to prepare for 10 years down the line and the wealthy must pay their "fair share."

Duggan, 63, sailed to a primary victory in August, getting 72% of the vote against challenger Anthony Adams' 10%. But Adams, who built his platform around Duggan's "benign neglect" of Detroit, has said he's still confident he has a shot at taking office in January.

Duggan is touting a continued focus on building “One Detroit for Everyone." It includes affordable housing, the revival of long-neglected neighborhoods and ensuring every Detroiter — through programs like Detroit at Work — has access to jobs and job training. 

Adams, who previously served as deputy mayor for former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and was an executive assistant in Coleman A. Young's mayoral administration, argues Duggan has forgotten "that a debate is a time-honored tradition of democracy."  In September, Duggan said he would not debate Adams ahead of the Nov. 2 election because he didn't want to give Adams a platform for "hate speech."

Adams also has criticized Duggan on the volume of foreclosures and water shutoffs in the city, practices in the city's massive blight elimination effort and what he claims is a lack of investment in Black businesses.

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_