With announcements by Brenda Lawrence and Mary Waters stating they will seek the Democratic nomination for the new 14th U.S. House District seat, which will represent a portion of West Bloomfield Township and the entirety of Orchard Lake Village, the field of candidates has doubled to four.
U.S. Reps. Gary Peters (D-Orchard Lake, Waterford, West Bloomfield) and Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit) last year made it know that they are seeking the party’s nomination for that district, the boundaries for which have drawn the ire of Democrats as politically gerrymandered after the Republican-controlled state Legislature approved them and Gov. Rick Snyder signed them into law.
The new 14th District starts to the south in Detroit, wraps to the east to include the posh Grosse Pointe suburbs; and snakes to the west, where it then covers Oak Park, Royal Oak Township, and continues west into Southfield and Farmington Hills. It then continues to the north into the southern two-thirds of West Bloomfield Township. It then encompasses the entirety of Orchard Lake, as well as Keego Harbor and Sylvan Lake, and then ends at its northern terminus of Pontiac.
Lawrence, who was trounced in the 2008 general election in her bid to become the next Oakland County Executive by GOP incumbent L. Brooks Patterson, was first elected mayor of Southfield in 2001. She is a graduate of Pershing High School in Detroit and received her bachelor’s degree in public administration from Central Michigan University.
“I looked at this district long and hard,” Lawrence said, adding that her campaign kickoff event will be held today, Wednesday, Feb. 1. “I ran statewide as lieutenant governor (in 2010) and had a great look at the diversity of this district. The city I serve represents the diversity of this district.”
“One of the problems that we have currently is that our current congress-people fight with each other instead of fighting for us,” she said, adding that there is a place for a Democratic, progressive woman’s voice among a Michigan congressional delegation that currently doesn’t have one.
She said the key issues she expects to focus on during the campaign will be education, jobs, national and local security, stemming the foreclosure crisis that has ravaged Michigan and other states, as well as, on the international level, maintaining strong ties with Israel and improving the situation in the Middle East.
Waters, a former state representative, has had her share of troubles in the past, including a guilty plea to filing a false tax return. Although she tried to retract her guilty plea in the case related to bribery involving former Detroit political operative Sam Riddle, her then-boyfriend, she was sentenced to one year of probation for failing to disclose on her taxes a $6,000 Rolex watch she says Riddle gave to her.
“Hard times call for a dedicated, ambitious, and devoted Humanitarian,” Waters states on her Facebook page. “I understand the tough times we face, perseverance has become a way of life for me.”
Peters took the announcement of the two new candidates in stride.
“U.S. Rep. Gary Peters is focused on working with President Obama to implement his blueprint for new manufacturing jobs in the greater Detroit region, but he looks forward to a healthy exchange of ideas with all of the candidates for this open seat once the campaign season gets started,” said Peters Communications Director Jared Smith.
U.S. representatives serve two-year terms and are currently paid $174,000 annually. The filing deadline for candidates is May 15.