Once considered a long shot, mayoral candidate Lisa Howze proves she’s a serious contender

It’s easy to forget the race for Detroit mayor is more than a heavyweight contest between Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan.

Although neither has filed for candidacy yet, they have dominated the headlines.

Now state Rep. Lisa Howze, the first to file for candidacy a year ago, is proving she’s a serious contender. In addition to getting an early start on raising money and shaking thousands of hands, Howze has built a powerful, reputable team that includes former Detroit Police Chief James Barren as senior advisor on crime and law enforcement; retired Deputy Fire Chief Reginald Amos, senior advisor on fire and EMS; and Campaign Director Brandon Jessup, who served as the African-American Vote Outreach Director for Michigan in the Obama for America Campaign.

On Sunday, her campaign made a splash announcement that the first-term legislator has bought space to run a Super Bowl ad on CBS on Feb. 3, six months before the primary election.

Campaign Director Brandon Jessup said “the ad will focus on a brighter future for Detroit and its people. The 30-second ad will air during the Super Bowl in Metro Detroit and run during a week-long media campaign.”

If elected, Howze would become the city’s first female mayor.

An accountant with an extensive background in auditing and other financials work, Howze has focused her campaign around fighting crime and fixing the city’s cash-starved budget.

“It will take teamwork and collaboration of concerned residents, churches, business leaders, unions, city employees and government to bring Detroit back to greatness,” Howze said. “While one person alone cannot turn the city around, I humbly accept the responsibility to lead this team effort and create the vision for a better Detroit.”

Also running for mayor is state Rep. Fred Durhal Jr.

To learn more about Howze, check out her campaign’s website.

Got tips or suggestions? Contact Steve at sneavling@gmail.com

Steve Neavling is an investigative journalist and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Living on the city’s east side, Neavling explores corruption, civil liberties and the underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.    

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • Chris Sharp

    It seems that airing a 30 second Super Bowl ad is not the smartest use of limited campaign funds. Super Bowl ads are very expensive and since she is running a city-wide race, she is going to be reaching a more regional audience. You would think the CPA would have figured this out.

  • Geoffrey L. Garfield

    Bringing back these retreads is not the way to new leadership. Barron has been trying to latch on to get back to head DPD since he was sacked, first with Jerrol Sanders in 2009 now Howze in 2013, see any distinction? Low poll rated female candidate seems to be Barron’s preference. If Howze wants to represent the New, then she needs to get rid of the Old, especially Chiefs who allowed the culture of sex-for-promotion in the DPD!!

  • bebow

    I like what we’ve seen of Lisa Howze but we haven’t seen much. Her skills would be very useful in addressing the tasks at hand, and having her particular background might smooth interactions with the Snyder regime and increase confidence. Lansing rightly fears Detroit’s leaders are incapable of understanding and making the complex financial decisions critical in crisis. I also like Chief James Barren but was very disappointed when he characterized the city’s lawlessness as a parenting issue during a joint interview with Ken Cockrel, who was then running for mayor. Dr. Barren is correct, of course, in the sense that the absence of appropriate, effective parenting nourishes the root of the dysfunction we observe, but a police department’s duty is to enforce the law and restore order. Rolling out the “parenting issue” thing is an excuse used by the City of Detroit and the DPD for catastrophic performance failure and a convenient, false justification for withdrawing police resources from the “unselected” neighborhoods. A massacre is never a “parenting issue.” Never. It’s certainly not a “parenting issue” for the families of the many hundreds massacred yearly or the decent residents living with imminent risk of murder at the hands of the unparented on the unpoliced streets in the neighborhoods.