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Granholm, female leaders talk up Clinton in Detroit

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Detroit — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and other female surrogates stumped for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Friday, saying America has the chance to elect a woman who also happens to be the most qualified candidate for the high office.

Building on Women’s Equality Day and the 1920 certification that gave women the right to vote, Granholm, U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, and Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, and former Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, also took aim at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying he is a man not suited to advance women’s causes while in the White House.

“I think any woman that looks at these two candidates and does not see that Hillary Clinton is their champion and the one who’s going to assure a better life for them and for their families, they are missing what is a glaring neon sign standing in front of them,” said Davis, who ran unsuccessfully for Texas governor in 2014.

“Donald Trump throughout this campaign — and throughout his career — has demeaned women, and has shown that he has little regard or respect and the experiences and the challenges that we face.”

Electing Clinton, the women contended, would not only be a huge milestone for the country but also because the one-time first lady, former senator from New York and secretary of state under President Obama has the chops to be the country’s first female leader.

“I’ve known Hillary Clinton for more than three decades. She has spent her whole life breaking down barriers,” Dingell said. “Not only for women, but for working families. And in too many parts of the world, women are held back by social, economic and legal barriers. That’s why I’m so happy to talk about my friend Hillary Clinton on this day that we celebrate such an important anniversary.”

Granholm, who served two terms as governor in Michigan before Gov. Rick Snyder, acknowledged that although some women across America may not trust Clinton, “unfortunately, not every woman in the country has the privilege of being able to know her personally like many of us.”

“But there’s a reason why so many women who come into contact with her are totally supportive of her,” said Granholm said at a news conference at Erma Henderson Park in Detroit, named after the first African-American woman elected to Detroit’s City Council. “She sees you. She understands and listens and speaks out to women and diverse opinions. She understands what it means to be a working mom.”

All the current or former female officeholders were united in their concerns for a Trump candidacy, arguing that the famous businessman known for cantankerous remarks on the campaign trail on minorities, immigrants and Muslims.

Lawrence said although women have overcome many obstacles in the nation’s history, getting Clinton to the White House is the best decision and would show that despite equality issues being debated, America is moving forward.

“Our job is not done and our rights are not something that you can just put down and say, ‘Now, I have it,’ ” Lawrence said. “We are in Congress constantly debating our right as women to make decisions about our own health care. We’re still debating and talking about why I make less than a man in the workforce.”

Lawrence called Clinton the “best qualified, the most passionate, the one who has demonstrated experience throughout the years” to be president.

“What I feel for me, the icing on the cake, is that the most qualified person is a woman,” she said.

Wayne Bradley, state director of African-American engagement for the Michigan Republican Party, said Democrats have not “given a clear explanation for why Donald Trump is so dangerous for minorities or women.”

“It’s the same old rhetoric,” Bradley said. “At the same time, we have a track record of Hillary Clinton who’s done absolutely nothing for the black community. That is what (Trump’s) challenging her on.”

Bradley also said the “lost decade of Jennifer Granholm destroyed Detroit and destroyed Michigan” by pushing jobs out, and that Clinton has the same problems.

As for Trump, Bradley said: “Trump has never done anything to deserve that kind of criticism” that he’s hostile to women or minorities.

“If you don’t trust Hillary Clinton, look at the alternative, which is Donald Trump,” he said. “Don’t just settle for Hillary Clinton.”

But Trump, Lawrence contended Friday, has made insulting statements about women and minorities, including his recent outreach to black voters by saying: “Why not me?” and that they are being taken for granted by Democrats and get nothing in return.

Lawrence said Trump’s comments were disrespectful to African-Americans because the majority like her are not “broke, not poor, I’m not uneducated, and I am not a position where I am hopeless and lost.”

Granholm said Trump is the one who the voting public should be concerned about, calling his rhetoric “very dangerous for women, people of color, for men, for all of us who care about this nation.”

“The trust issues for me are just not issues because I know her,” she said. “And I can vouch for her, and I know that she is honest, and I know that she is in this for the right reasons.”

lfleming@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2620

Twitter: @leonardnfleming