Kamala Harris to visit Detroit, Flint on Tuesday

Craig Mauger Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for vice president, will visit Michigan on Tuesday with appearances in Detroit and Flint, the city that has endured a lead-contaminated water crisis.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris

The stops will be the senator's first in the battleground state since she became former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate. They will also occur a day after President Donald Trump holds a rally just outside Michigan at the Toledo airport.

Biden's campaign announced the visit on Sunday, the same day Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams participated in a virtual event aimed at Michigan. No other details were provided for the Harris stop, but Biden and his surrogates have generally held small events that aren't open to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump, the Republican candidate for president, won Michigan by 10,704 votes in 2016, his smallest margin of victory nationally. He became the first Republican presidential nominee to carry the state since 1988.

Biden visited Michigan on Sept. 9, speaking outside a United Auto Workers site in Warren. The following day, Trump held a rally that drew thousands of people to an airport hangar in Freeland, near Saginaw and Midland.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke in Traverse City on Aug. 28.

On Sunday, Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate who was on the shortlist to be Biden’s running mate, participated in a virtual Biden campaign event with the Michigan AFL-CIO. Abrams encouraged Michiganians to get people to the polls to vote for the former vice president.

Americans cannot panic about current events, like the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because panicking leads to mistakes, Abrams said. Also, Americans need to vote early and get others on board with doing so, she said.

“We have to make certain that we meet this moment by being overly prepared,” she said. 

Abrams noted the importance of volunteering during the election.  

“Michigan is looking for poll workers, looking for folks to be pull observers, to support those who are showing up for the first time,” she said. “They need to know that you believe in them the way Joe Biden believes in us, because that's how we fix America.”

The AFL-CIO endorsed Biden in May. Biden picked Harris, a U.S. senator from California, as his running mate on Aug. 11, making her the first Black woman on a major party's presidential ticket. Her first solo event as the Democratic vice presidential nominee was a virtual discussion focused on Detroit and Michigan on Aug. 26.

For about 10 minutes, Harris answered questions posed by U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, to help launch a voter engagement program for Black women.

Asked about choosing Detroit for the focus of the August event, Harris said the city "is a big part of America's history" and is facing "some of the greatest disparities in terms of access to health care, educational opportunities, economic opportunities."

Biden spoke in Flint on March 9, a day before Michigan's presidential primary election. The city suffered lead contamination that first surfaced five years ago, eventually leading to a state emergency and federal aid.

During his March 9 event, the former vice president said Flint “has become shorthand for the incredible division that still exists in this country, based on zip code."

Last month, the state of Michigan announced it would pay $600 million to people harmed in the Flint Water Crisis, with the majority of the settlement going to claims from Flint children.