Rudy Hobbs on Detroit, Bankruptcy and Michigan Democrats | The Candidate #MI14
Every year, scores of congressional candidates visit the CQ Roll Call offices to meet with reporters and Contributing Editor Stuart Rothenberg. This feature, “The Candidate,” will ask these congressional hopefuls five questions about their campaigns. Responses and questions have been edited and condensed.
The candidate: Michigan House Democratic Floor Leader Rudy Hobbs
The member: Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, who is running for Senate
The district: This is a heavily Democratic district that includes both suburban and urban Detroit. The August 2014 Democratic primary will most likely determine Peters’ successor. In 2012, the 14th was the site of a heated member-versus-member race between Peters and Democrat Hansen Clarke.
The candidate’s team: Michigan-based operatives Diana McBroom, Jamaine Dickens and Kristen Caswell. He is still assembling the rest of his team.
1. Have you talked to Hansen Clarke and do you have any insight into whether he’s running?
I have not touched base with Hansen Clarke and I have very little insight into whether he is running.
2. Have you asked for Gary Peters’ endorsement?
During the conversation where I shared with Congressman Peters that I wanted to run for the seat, I did ask for his endorsement at that time and understand that he’s in a very sensitive situation right now with him running for U.S. Senate. So, I do understand that but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to at least let him know that I would be very grateful to have his endorsement.
3. If you are elected to Congress, how would you use that office to help Detroit’s bankruptcy?
I’d really focus on: What does Detroit need? What does the region need? When we think about things like that, we are talking about jobs. And a lot of the conversation in Detroit has been around transportation, having a regional transportation system. So really kind of helping moving the ball forward in terms of making investments and getting resources from D.C. to implement a regional transit authority. A transportation system is something that I’d be interested in.
Pre-K is another. Having a solid preschool system. A program for every kid in this city and this district is something that I think is really important, too.
4. How long does it take to drive from one end of the district to another?
Probably 45 minutes to an hour. It’s a very large district, but in some instances from one side of the district to the other it’s literally 15 minutes. It really depends on where you are at in the district, right?
5. Your state party recently changed leadership for the first time in years. What are your thoughts on the new Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson?
I think Lon Johnson is great! I am a huge fan. I think sometimes you have organizations that are in need of some change, a different direction, a different approach. Lon has really brought a lot of energy to that position. He has been amazing at outreach. I know that there were certain segments of the party that felt they weren’t engaged enough and Lon has really addressed that issue and has been absolutely spot on in terms of plugging and pulling everyone into what’s going on so we can be successful in 2014 for Peters and (Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate) Mark Schauer.