Another state lawmaker running for Conyers’ seat

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo says she’s “exploring a run” for the U.S. House seat vacated by longtime Rep. John Conyers Jr.

Conyers, 88, resigned in early December amid allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with female aides.

Gay-Dagnogo, a Democrat representing Michigan’s 8th House District in northwest Detroit, has pulled candidate nominating petitions, she told a group of friends and supporters gathered for a promised “announcement” at her birthday party this past week at the Detroit Seafood Market.

“I will stand for justice, I will fight on behalf of my people, but it will require more than me. It will be more than a campaign. It will be a movement,” the lawmaker told the group, according to a video of her remarks.

“We have someone in the White House that has shown us that he does not care about our immigrants. He does not care about the Dreamers, he does not care about civil rights. Don’t be fooled. So you can’t send somebody there that does not know how to negotiate on the best interest of our community. I don’t care how long they’ve served or where they’ve been. Debate me for the seat.”

She expressed admiration for Conyers, who served in Congress for nearly 53 years and for whom she volunteered.

“I love and adore Congressman John Conyers,” Gay-Dagnogo said. “When many were running away from him and would not stand up with him, I put my name and face on the line because I knew I was standing up for a man that Dr. King stood up for.”

Gay-Dagnogo, serving her second term in the state House, said in a subsequent email to supporters that she would forgo her last term in the state House to campaign for the congressional seat in the 13th District, which includes parts of Detroit and suburban Wayne County.

The primary race already includes Conyers’ 27-year-old son, John Conyers III, and his great-nephew state Sen. Ian Conyers.

Others in the running include state Sen. Coleman Young III, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and Democratic activist Michael Gilmore. Detroit NAACP executive director Donnell White is also reportedly mulling a run.

Gay-Dagnogo, who lives in North Rosedale Park, is a former science teacher in Detroit public schools and previously served as a Detroit City Council staff member and as a community organizer, according to her state House biography.

She has said she will talk with residents in each municipality of the district before making a final decision.

Jonathan Oosting contributed