What will State of the City cover? Mike Duggan's office won't say

Posted by Lea Vigi on

This article was originally written by Joe Guillen of the Detroit Free Press

As he heads into the home stretch of his first term and embarks on what could be a contentious re-election campaign, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will deliver his fourth State of the City address tonight on the city's west side.

Duggan's office was tight-lipped Monday about the speech, declining to provide any information about what the mayor will say.

"We aren't offering any commentary or attendance estimates in advance," spokesman John Roach said in an e-mail.

If his re-election announcement this month is any indication, Duggan is likely to tout improvements to city services while conceding much work remains to rebuild Detroit into a desirable city for raising a family.

But Duggan's path to re-election has changed.

State Sen. Coleman Young II, D-Detroit, announced Sunday he will run for mayor this year. His late father, Coleman A. Young, was Detroit's first black mayor and held office from 1974 to 1994, leaving a legacy as one of the city's most influential — and controversial — leaders.

Young's decision to enter the race likely did not surprise Duggan, who had made it clear his re-election campaign would face opposition.

Less clear Monday were the contents of Duggan's speech, which is set to be delivered at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Focus: HOPE, a nonprofit job training and civil rights organization founded in 1968. This is the first time Focus:HOPE has hosted a State of the City address.

Duggan's State of the City addresses have been less scripted than those of his predecessors. The mayor is known to pull data and information from several people within his administration and make his own call about what to include in the final speech.

Expanded bus services, a balanced city budget and the installation of 65,000 new LED street lights throughout the city since he took office are achievements Duggan routinely mentions at public events.

The topic some City Council members said they hoped to hear about was neighborhoods — specifically, the mayor's priorities for including longtime Detroiters in the city's rebound since bankruptcy.

"I would like to hear the mayor address his priorities for neighborhoods and how he plans to be intentional about bringing development and new construction into what some may consider to be less-desirable neighborhoods," Councilwoman Mary Sheffield said in a text message. "Also, I would like to hear a commitment to the inclusion of longterm Detroiters in employment, development and entrepreneurial" opportunities.

Councilman Scott Benson said he also is looking forward to hearing more about neighborhood development that could create jobs. Benson said corporate investments in his district on the city's east side, District 3,  have lead to hundreds of jobs already at companies such as Flex-N-Gate and Linc, a logistics company.

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