Groups announce Detroit presidential debate in October

    Cobo Center, Feb. 23, 2019 | Ken Coleman

    Detroit is already getting a two-night presidential debate hosted by the Democratic National Committee and CNN in July, and now a coalition of groups has announced a forum this fall.

    A debate is slated on Oct. 20 at Cobo Hall sponsored by Michigan United, a coalition of faith, labor, community, immigrant and environmental organizations. The forum will be held in conjunction with the National Immigrant Integration Conference.

    Abdul El-Sayed at town hall, March 18, 2019 | Andrew Roth

    A press release said that “to ensure that there is enough time for substantial conversation during the forum, only candidates that have consistently polled above 5% will qualify for the stage.”

    Abdul El-Sayed, who unsuccessfully ran for governor last year and warmed up the crowd at a March Macomb County campaign stop for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he supports the debate.

    “As the presidential race heats up, it’s critical that we don’t lose sight of the real people on the ground who policies will harm or benefit,” said El-Sayed, founder of Southpaw Michigan, a group co-sponsoring the debate which supports progressive candidates.

    The National Steering Committee for the event includes National Partnership for New Americans, People’s Action, and Fair Immigration Reform Movement – Action.

    Co-sponsors are: SEIU Healthcare Michigan,SEIU Local 1 Detroit, Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit & Vicinity, Michigan Muslim Community Council, Indivisible Huron Valley, Michigan Nurses Association, Good Jobs Now, Genesis Church, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Birmingham Temple, Street Democracy, Emgage, MADE Institute, New American Leaders Project, Fems for Change, Restaurant Opportunity Center, ACTION of Greater Lansing, Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrants Rights, Southpaw Michigan, Congress of Communities, Michigan United, We GP, Righteous Sons, Arab American Civil Rights League, Monroe County Opportunity Project, Michigan Alliance of Latinos Moving Towards Advancement (MI ALMA).

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    Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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