Duggan endorses Hollier for Congress in 13th District

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is throwing his political heft behind state Sen. Adam Hollier in his race for Congress in the crowded nine-person Democratic field in the new 13th District.  

The mayor's lending his voice and credibility to Hollier's bid could be a significant boost for him as Hollier tries to reach frontrunner status in the Democratic primary for U.S. House. The Detroit Democrat is seeking the open seat in the 13th, which covers the bulk of Detroit, Hamtramck, the Grosse Pointes and Downriver communities. 

State Rep. Adam Hollier announces his run for Congress in the 13th District at Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit on Jan. 25, 2022.

“We need somebody who can represent Detroit and our surrounding communities,” Duggan said Wednesday at an event with Hollier announcing his endorsement at The Corner Ballpark in Corktown. “We have got to have the city and the suburbs working together. Today, Adam Hollier not only represents the city of Detroit but eight surrounding suburbs and he’s doing a great job."

Duggan credits Hollier as a key lawmaker who helped pass sweeping changes to Michigan's no-fault auto insurance law in 2019.

“Anyone that’s paying lower rates, anybody who got a $400 check in the mail, Adam Hollier was the kind of leader who got that done,” Duggan said. “We don’t get very many representatives in Washington. You need someone who is going to fight for you every day and be effective.”

Hollier said he was able to partner with Duggan to make auto insurance more affordable for Michigan drivers.

“As we talk about what we need at the national level, it’s for us to figure out how to make housing affordable, how to make sure you can go out to the grocery store and afford your grocery bill, that you can afford to drive to work," he said.

Hollier, first elected in 2018, is in his first term in the Legislature, where serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee. His entire Senate district lies within the new 13th Congressional Di

Duggan's backing of Hollier is especially notable since he worked with one of Hollier's opponents, attorney Portia Roberson, in three different jobs.

Roberson, currently the CEO of the nonprofit Focus:Hope, worked under Duggan when he was Wayne County prosecutor, followed him to the Detroit Medical Center and later was part of Duggan's mayoral administration as group executive for civil rights, inclusion and opportunity.

A source close to Duggan said the mayor's endorsement of Hollier is not a dig on Roberson but a recognition of Hollier's building momentum in the race, including a lead in fundraising and influential endorsements. Hollier is backed by the Legacy Committee for Unified Leadership, comprised of leaders within the Black community convened by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.

The Detroit Chamber of Commerce this week endorsed both Hollier and Roberson, who also has the backing of retiring U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence of Southfield and former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. 

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is endorsing state Sen. Adam Hollier, D-Detroit, in the crowded nine-candidate Democratic primary in the 13th Congressional District in Wayne County.

Raised in Detroit's Northend, Hollier graduated from Detroit Public Schools and Cornell University, is a paratrooper in the U.S. Army Reserve and previously was a volunteer firefighter while in college. 

Hollier, 36, led fundraising in the 13th District field last quarter, bringing in more than $513,000. He previously was chief of staff for former state Sen. Bert Johnson and served in Bing's administration where he says he helped start the Public Lighting Authority. 

During Wednesday's endorsement announcement, Hollier reflected briefly on his history working in the district.

“From the very moment I started working in Lansing I was working on issues in not just the city of Detroit, but all across this district,” he said. “Working on the Aerotropolis down in the western Wayne (County) community and having the honor and blessings to continue to represent the east side of this district.”

Hollier said that people need less expensive gas and groceries. He said he also plans to address the high cost of childcare.

“Families are hurting,” he said. “I have a young family. Because I’m trying to raise a young family in this district. And it comes down to is our government listening? For too long it hasn’t been. It was making big promises that it never delivered on.”

Other candidates in the 13th include former state Rep. Sherry Gay Dagnogo, former Detroit City Councilwoman Sharon McPhail, attorney and educator Michael Griffie, John Conyers III and state Rep. Shri Thanedar, who has committed $5 million of his fortune to his campaign. 

The seat is open because U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit opted to run next door in the new 12th District after the redistricting process and Lawrence's decision to retire at the end of her term. 

mburke@detroitnews.com