Annalise Frank, CRAIN’S DETROIT

  • Partner at Marine Adams Law, former Kilpatrick deputy announces election bid
  • Former city official says he’ll speak for residents of Detroit, unlike current mayor
  • Adams says election is about the “soul of Detroit”

Anthony Adams, partner at Marine Adams Law PC and former deputy mayor under Kwame Kilpatrick, made his plans to run to lead the city of Detroit official on Tuesday.

Adams set up a committee last February to run for mayor in the Aug. 3 primary, ahead of the Nov. 2 general election. He is the first to announce a challenge to second-term incumbent Mayor Mike Duggan, who announced his re-election bid on Dec 9. Any additional candidates have until April to file.

The candidate has a long resume in the public and private sectors, from serving as president of the Detroit public school board and interim director of the city’s Department of Water and Sewerage to president of Lakeshore Healthcare Investment Group Inc.

“Everyone knows our city is at a critical crossroad,” Adams said in an announcement video posted on Facebook late Tuesday morning. “I believe that because of Mike Duggan’s benign neglect, lack of leadership, lack of empathy, he is failing the people in this great city, unless, of course, it’s an election year, when there’s a flurry of activities and pronouncements.”

The Cincinnati native targeted Duggan’s administration for its lack of transparency — the mayor and the city last year received a national Investigative Reporters and Editors designation, the Golden Padlock Award, for their secrecy.

“We, Detroit, can no longer be second-class citizens in our own city,” Adams said. “Detroiters clearly deserve more than they’re getting … This election is about the soul of Detroit.”

Adams, who would be running against the white mayor of a nearly 80 percent Black city, laid out policy areas in which he would seek to diverge from Duggan’s governance: Focusing crime efforts on engaging with residents and preventing crimes before they’re committed, protecting senior citizens, community empowerment tools and more “progressive” economic development that doesn’t give subsidies to corporations to “trickle down” to residents.

Activist Akua Budu-Watkins; Frank Hammer, who co-chaired a coalition that opposed the Duggan-backed redevelopment of the former Michigan State Fairgrounds as an Amazon.com Inc. facility; and Maureen Taylor, state chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, made appearances in support of Adams during the announcement.

In the past, Adams also worked as general counsel and chief legal compliance officer for Detroit public schools before joining the administration of Kilpatrick, who then-President Donald Trump recently granted clemency after he served more than seven years in prison for corruption crimes. Adams’ previous work also includes executive assistant to former Mayor Coleman A. Young; managing partner with Segue, Fair, Adams and Pope PLC; and of counsel to Dykema Gossett, according to Marine Adams Law. He has a bachelor’s degree in urban management and planning from the University of Cincinnati and a law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Duggan, who has the backing of the Detroit Regional Chamber for a third election in a row, won his first primary in 2013 as a write-in candidate, then sailed to victory over Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, who died last month. He then overwhelmingly beat Coleman Young II for re-election in 2017, and is running again on a platform of job creation and his administration’s success combating the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Two other people have set up candidate committees so far to run for mayor this year, according to Wayne County election records:

Winnie Atieno Imbuchi, an urban farmer and chef, also registered a committee in November and has a recently active Facebook page, Atieno for Mayor of Detroit, 2021.
Myya Jones also formed a committee in January. Jones ran against Duggan in 2017, saying “Women and Millennials are under represented in our American political system,” according to reporting by the Detroit Metro Times.
Former state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo had been mulling a run to challenge Duggan, saying in December that supporters had been reaching out seeking new leadership. But, she said, “I know in order to really run a competitive race against corporate interests, it will require a lot of money.”

In a follow-up interview Jan. 20, Gay-Dagnogo told Crain’s she’s focused on her new position as a member of the school board and “I haven’t completely closed the door,” but isn’t putting her time and energy into a potential run.

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