Mackinac Island — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan discussed side lot sales, connecting residents to the Riverfront, growth and revitalization of the city’s neighborhoods during a keynote speech Tuesday at the Mackinac Policy Conference.
After a 28-month hiatus, the conference resumed this week with a theme of “reimagining a healthy Michigan” at the island’s Grand Hotel with fewer attendees and strict protocols.
Duggan, during an hour-long fireside chat in the hotel’s grand theatre, gave updates on neighborhood development and introduced Antoine Bryant, Detroit’s recently appointed Planning and Development Department director.
Arn Tellem, vice chairman of Pistons Sports, introduced Duggan to the stage as “The best mayor in the United States.”
The conversation was moderated by Lloyd Jackson, senior news analyst with WJR NewsTalk 760 AM, who kicked off talking about rebuilding and rebirth of the city of Detroit.
“I remember when you couldn’t buy anything more than a wig. The city is totally different,” Jackson said.
Running for a third term
The mayor’s conference address before a crowd of political and business leaders comes ahead of the Nov. 2 general election. Duggan is seeking a third, four-year term and the city’s neighborhoods have been a cornerstone of his agenda as mayor.
Duggan is being challenged by Anthony Adams, a former deputy mayor under Kwame Kilpatrick.
Last week, Duggan’s campaign manager Alexis Wiley told The Detroit News that Duggan will not debate Adams ahead of the election, citing his “hateful and divisive rhetoric.”
Adams has built his campaign on Detroit’s crime and poverty rates and launched his candidacy by accusing Duggan of “benign neglect.” He insists there is “a clear need for change” following the city’s over-taxation of residents and infrastructure failures.
Adams, 65, also has attacked Duggan on the volume of foreclosures and water shutoffs the city has endured in recent years, practices in the city’s massive blight elimination effort and what he claims is a lack of investment in Black businesses.
►For subscribers: Adams focusing on these Detroit voting groups in bid to unseat Duggan
Duggan, 63, posted a blowout victory over Adams in the August primary, setting up a fall election that political analysts have said is “his to lose.”
The mayor secured 72% of the vote in the Aug. 3 race over Adams, who got 10%.
Adams has said he’s targeting young voters and absentees in his bid to unseat Duggan. About 68,400 absentee ballots were sent out Detroit voters this past weekend, according to officials with the city’s elections department.
Duggan has touted a continued focus on building “One Detroit for Everyone.”
His strategy includes affordable housing, revival of long-neglected neighborhoods and ensuring every Detroiter — through programs like Detroit at Work — has access to jobs and job training.
As the centerpiece of his reelection announcement, Duggan unveiled an effort to raise $50 million over five years to help fund a series of programs for Detroiters who have felt “left behind or left out.”
The initiative, dubbed the People Plan, encompasses programs to help adults seeking to obtain high school diplomas, skilled trades training and door-to-door support programs.