Our fight for voting rights was supposed to have ended decades ago. Yet, right here in Detroit in 2012, it’s a fight that still continues. If the city of Detroit is taken over by a state emergency manager as part of an agreement to restore the city’s finances, our people will lose a fundamental and hard-won right: to choose their own leaders.
Let’s keep control of our city.
Last week, I presented a plan called The Detroit Growth and Stability Act in the U.S. Congress that would enable us to do just that. It would provide up to $500 million in federal loans for Detroit to overcome the current crisis and get back on solid financial footing. This bill would ensure that all of our rights are preserved. It would ensure that our elected leaders are able carry out our will.
Just as importantly, it would help Detroit ensure real recovery by investing in our people. I reject the idea put forward by politicians in Washington and Lansing that the only way out of the crisis is by slashing budgets for essential programs and services. If the city is forced to address the crisis by cutting police officers and funding for roads and buildings, crime will rise and businesses will flee. If the city guts basic services and breaks union contracts, we’ll lose more of our population. All this would make our city’s financial situation worse.
I’m calling for investment rather than abandonment. The plan I’ve proposed is a proven solution. Back in the 1970s, a similar plan for New York City (which was then a city facing troubles much like our own) proved successful. With stable city finances and a stronger economy — led by the rebirth of manufacturing — we can rise to any challenge.
I believe in the people of Detroit. I am asking the nation to believe in us as well.
Hansen Clarke, Democrat, is a U.S. representative for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District.