Rep. Lawrence plans to wear black to Trump speech

Detroit News staff

U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence could face a change in plans for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech.

On Tuesday, the Southfield Democrat told The Detroit News she was planning to attend the Jan. 30 address but would be dressed like most of the attendees at the Jan. 7 Golden Globes awards event. A huge majority showed their solidarity with the anti-sexual harassment group Time’s Up by dressing in black.

“Right now, I’m planning on attending,” Lawrence said Tuesday on the floor of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “I will be in all-black in protest, but I will be in attendance.”

But on Wednesday, the Congressional Black Caucus chairman, Democratic Louisiana U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, said on BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM that the caucus is considering boycotting the speech, walking out or holding a separate event at the same time.

Several caucus members including Reps. John Lewis of Georgia and Maxine Waters of California already have said they planned to boycott Trump’s speech. Lawrence is the only African-American member of Michigan’s congressional delegation since former U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, resigned in early December amid a series of sexual harassment allegations by former staffers.

Lawrence said she would like to see Trump not talk about himself, “but talk about the country” and “a plan that’s going to benefit America” in the State of the Union address.

Dems share ‘----hole’ stories

What does a family from a ‘----hole’ country look like?

Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Abdul El-Sayed and Shri Thanedar say they look like them. They highlighted their own personal connections as they blasted President Donald Trump’s reported slur against accepting more immigrants from Haiti and African countries.

Thanedar showed in a Tuesday web video how he came to the United States from India in 1979 and became a citizen in 1988. He noted how he rose from childhood poverty to become a wealthy business owner in Ann Arbor.

El-Sayed shared a photo of him and his wife in a fundraising email to supporters, noting she is the daughter of Indian immigrants and he the son of Egyptian immigrants. Their newborn daughter is “descended from not one but two immigrant families,” El-Sayed said.

“Let’s take the president’s comments and use them to fuel our multiethnic, multifaith, multi-everything campaign. We are stronger. We are better. And together I know that we will defeat the bigoted, racist and xenophobic attacks that come our way.”

Speaker: Speaking tips for gov

What should Gov. Rick Snyder talk about at next week’s State of the State address?

House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-Dewitt, said he’d like to see the Republican governor address issues the speaker has been most focused on, such as driver responsibility fees and mental health policy reform. He said Snyder’s support would ensure “that 300,000 of our citizens can legally get their licenses back.”

But Leonard said he considers it most important for Snyder to credit Republican policies for the state’s economic recovery in the past seven years following the 2008 housing market collapse.

“I would like to see him remind this great state and citizens of our state how far we have come along under Republican control,” he said.

When Snyder took office, Michigan had a 10.7 percent unemployment rate. It also had a $1.5 billion deficit and the onerous Michigan Business Tax, Leonard said.

Now, “the Michigan economy is healthier than it’s been in over 20 years,” he said.

Dem to forgo corporate cash

Democratic congressional hopeful Elissa Slotkin said Wednesday that she plans not to accept corporate donations in her 8th Congressional District campaign.

Slotkin, who moved to Holly in spring 2017 after working in Washington, D.C., said she is refusing such contributions unlike U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, the Rochester Republican who sits on the House Ways & Means Committee.

The former Central Intelligence Agency analyst’s campaign said she raised more than $440,000 in her second quarter of fundraising. Official reports won’t be posted until the end of the month.

Chris Smith of East Lansing is also competing in the August primary to take on Bishop, who hasn’t said how much money he raised in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“Our campaign finance system is broken -- and voters know it in their bones,” Slotkin said in a statement. “...Despite our campaign finance laws it is possible to run a clean, transparent campaign -- and that’s what we intend to do.”

Contributors: Richard Burr, Jonathan Oosting, Michael Gerstein