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Manoogian: Representing Armenian Americans at Dem convention 'an honor and privilege'

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

For Rep. Mari Manoogian, her Tuesday keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention is about more than the politics of a presidential race, though it will be an important tenet of her comments.

The 27-year-old Birmingham resident also hopes her presence will inspire other Armenian American women and said it will be an "honor and privilege" to represent them on a national scale.

Manoogian hopes her message and those of 16 other "rising stars" with whom she'll be speaking "show that there is diverse, vibrant leadership in this new generation of public servants."

Michigan State Rep. Mari Manoogian, D-Birmingham

"To have this opportunity for my people is very important," the first-term lawmaker said.

Manoogian's comments will touch on "dinner table" issues such as jobs and health care, she said. In particular, Manoogian plans to note Vice President Joe Biden's role in the bailout of Detroit auto companies in 2009. 

She also plans to detail the important role of local businesses during the pandemic, "showing bold leadership in times of crisis."

"Our message is really about being an inclusive party, sort of touching on the issues that are important to all Americans but uplifting this next generation of leadership," Manoogian said. 

She will be joined by other Michigan speakers throughout the week, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday, United Auto Workers local vice president Gerald Lang and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Thursday. 

Manoogian will face off against Republican Kendra Cleary in November in a fight to maintain her seat in the 40th House District. In 2018, she defeated Republican David Wolkinson 56.5% to 43.5% in a traditional GOP district.   

As of July 24, Manoogian had about $108,000 on hand while Cleary had just short of $5,000. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com