Westland mayor announces bid for Conyers’ seat

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Westland Mayor Bill Wild on Tuesday added his name to the growing list of candidates seeking to run for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District seat left vacant after John Conyers stepped down last year.

“I believe my work ethic, energy and proven track record of getting things done are what everyday families in the 13th Congressional District need now,” Wild said in a statement by his campaign.

The Democrat ran unsuccessfully for Wayne County executive in 2013, losing to Warren Evans.

Wild, a native to the district, has led Wayne County’s fourth largest city with about 85,000 residents, since 2007.

He touted initiatives and accomplishments that include launching the “Wild about Youth Works” jobs program; creating an LGBTQ anti-discrimination policy; attracting more than $200 million in investment to the city’s business district; growing Westland’s rainy-day fund to $6 million while raising the city’s bond rating.

Before becoming mayor, Wild served on the Westland Planning Commission from 1999-2001 and was on the City Council from 2001-07, including two years as president, according to his city biography.

He also owned the Wayne-based Scrap Busters U-Pull It Auto & Truck Parts for 28 years, from 1988 to 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“For nearly two decades, I’ve been bridging the gap between the needs of our neighborhoods and federal policies and dollars. We can do better!” Wild said Tuesday.

“We must keep Congress focused squarely on the issues that matter, like rebuilding our infrastructure, access to affordable quality health care, excellent schools for our kids and to good-paying jobs and opportunities.”

Wild is the latest candidate to announce a bid for the 13th District since Conyers, a Democrat, resigned in December amid sexual harassment allegations after nearly 53 years in office.

This month, former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a community organizer and the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature, said she plans to run.

The primary field also includes Conyers’ son, John Conyers III, and his great-nephew, state Sen. Ian Conyers, as well as state Sen. Coleman Young III, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, former state Rep. Shanelle Jackson and Democratic activist Michael Gilmore.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has set the special election to fill Conyers’ seat to coincide with the regularly scheduled 2018 primary and general elections on Aug. 7 and Nov. 6, respectively. The district covers parts of Detroit and Dearborn Heights, as well as several surrounding communities, including Westland and Redford Township.