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State rep jumps into Detroit mayor's race

Lisa Howze
Lisa Howze

Detroit State Representative Lisa Howze says she wants to be the city’s next Mayor—even if she has to do it alongside a state-appointed emergency manager.

Kicking off her campaign at a senior home in northeast Detroit, Howze, a first-term Democrat, said current Mayor Dave Bing’s biggest problem is a lack of vision.

She thinks that’s what Lansing is really looking for, as Governor Snyder mulls whether to appoint an emergency manager in Detroit.

“I think they’re looking for a leader who will take action, and I am that person,” Howze said.

Howze insisted that despite Detroit’s crippling financial problems, leaders can’t focus on cuts alone. She said even if the city laid off all its workers, that still wouldn’t solve Detroit’s fiscal problems.

“We can’t afford to put all of our energies and efforts into something that will only allow us to survive for today,” Howze said. “We have to think about the future and what the future holds.”

Howze, an accountant, has criticized the Bing administration’shandling of federal money. That’s been a longstanding problem in Detroit. The city has had to return millions in grants because it failed to spend the money within federal guidelines.

Howze said it’s unacceptable for a city as poor as Detroit to be sending any money back Washington, DC. She said if she becomes Mayor, she would institute a single office of grants compliance to make sure the money gets spent properly.

Howze also suggested Detroit’s municipally-owned Coleman Young airport could help generate revenue for the city, rather than being a drain on it. The airport is potentially on the chopping block as the city looks to cut costs.

Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh has said he’s considering a mayoral bid too. Mayor Bing hasn’t officially announced that he intends to seek re-election.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.