Retired South African President Nelson Mandela once said, "A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger."
If these words ring true for one of the world's most respected leaders, surely they can serve as a guiding light for Detroit as it faces what many residents believe is the Motor City's most important mayoral race since Coleman A. Young narrowly defeated Sheriff John F. Nichols in November 1973. That was a historic election as State Senator Young became Detroit's first African American mayor. Now, forty years later, the world once again watches as retired Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon compete to see who will become the next mayor of the largest municipality in U.S. history to seek bankruptcy protection.
Detroiters deserve to see these two very accomplished candidates debate the most pressing issues facing our city. On Tuesday, October 29, beginning at 7:00 pm, they will have that opportunity. WXYZ-TV/Channel 7, in partnership with the Michigan Chronicle, News/Talk 760 WJR, Crain's Detroit Business, the Booker T. Washington Business Association and the Detroit Black Chamber, is proud to host the final Detroit Mayoral Debate where Napoleon and Duggan will face off before a studio audience of about 50 people at Channel 7 Broadcast House and 325 Detroit residents participating in the event from the General Motors auditorium inside Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Respected journalists Bankole Thompson, Carolyn Clifford, Glenda Lewis, Stephen Clark, Mary Kramer, and Lloyd Jackson will also join me in this "live" forum that will be broadcast on television and radio, and streamed on the internet.
My experience is that nothing captures the excitement like a final debate just one week before voters go to the polls to cast their ballots. I saw it 1993 when Channel 7 hosted the final debate between attorneys Dennis Archer and Sharon McPhail. I saw it again in October 2001 when State Representative Kwame Kilpatrick and Detroit City Council President Gil Hill went toe-to-toe in our studios. And the final debates between Kilpatrick and former Detroit Deputy Mayor Freman Hendrix in 2005, and Detroit City Council President Ken Cockrel, Jr. and businessman Dave Bing in 2009 are extremely memorable. All of them gave viewers and voters an opportunity to size up the candidates one last time.
On Tuesday, November 5, the political future of Detroit is at stake like never before! Not only will city residents get to choose their highest elected official but for the first time in nearly 100 years, city council members will be elected from defined neighborhood districts. With so much on the line, the world will be watching who we choose to lead us into the future. It's time to debate and vote! We hope you tune in for THE DEBATE on Tuesday, October 29 at 7:00 pm on WXYZ-TV/Channel 7.