State Sen. Ian Conyers picked a cold Friday morning in front of Sampson-Webber Leadership Academy on Detroit's west side to announce that he’s running for the U.S. Congressional 13th District seat where his great uncle John Conyers reigned for decades.
“This is where it started,’’ said Conyers, flanked by his family and supporters. “Having worked in D.C. after graduating and understanding the lay of the land, and having been on Capitol Hill I understand what you need in terms of getting things done. Day 1 I’ll get to work. I won’t be searching for how to. I’ve learned so much from my great uncle and being able to watch him. I got my master’s at Georgetown and worked in the city. I came home, got to work and I’m ready to do it again.’
The Democrat from Detroit, the fourth of eight kids, was elected to the Michigan Senate in 2016. He represents the 4th District, which includes Wayne County and the cities of Allen Park, Detroit, Lincoln Park and Southgate.
“Today I’m stepping forward to run for the 13th District as a congressional Democrat to represent our community from Detroit to Inkster, Westland, Wayne, Garden City, Ecorse, Melvindale and River Rouge in the United States Congress,’’ said the 29-year-old.
Whether he gets support from his great uncle depends on if John Conyers III runs for the same seat.
When John Conyers resigned in December amid sexual harassment allegations, the longtime U.S. tepresentative endorsed his oldest son to succeed him in Congress.
Conyers III has never held an elected office.
The seat is expected to be highly contested.
“There’s no place like Detroit,’’ Conyers said. “Our culture is respect, grit and freedom. The Detroit that my great grandfather, John Conyers Sr., like many families in Detroit migrated from the rural South.
“The family went on to break barriers. One that we are so proud is my great uncle, John Conyers Jr., the first and only African American dean of the United States Congress. If you bought a car in Detroit there’s a chance you bought it from my uncle Nate right over on Conyers off West Grand Boulevard.’’
Asked about when he last spoke to John Conyers Jr., he said: “My (great) uncle has supported me every step of the way. Writing those high school letters, saying I think my nephew is a great guy, to seeing me in Washington, D.C. as a freshman at Georgetown and out on the Hill as an intern. I believe he has spoken in terms of what he believes in his endorsement, but I know he has encouraged every young person to get out there.
“I spoke to him the night of my last kickoff in November. I have not spoken to my uncle since Nov. 30.’’