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Our endorsements for August primary

Voters in Birmingham, Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills will be determining the fate of primary candidates in the Tuesday, August 2, election, either at the polls or through absentee ballots which are now being mailed out by municipal clerks. Reflected on voters’ ballots this year will be the new districts for the county commission, state Senate and House, and Congress.

A new public safety millage will face Bloomfield Township voters, and voters in the Bloomfield Hills School district will cast ballots to restore the operating millage for non-homestead properties.

This is a primary election in which you will be deciding who best can represent your party in the November general election, so you must vote on candidates in just one political party.

Downtown Newsmagazine sent questionnaires to candidates in all contested primary races, the answers to which can be found in the Voter Guide in this edition or at

When making our recommendations we considered a number of factors based on answers from candidates and our institutional knowledge of candidates and issues. In determining who we thought could best represent a party heading into the November contests, we looked at both views of the candidates, their ability to run a competitive campaign and how quickly they could assume office should they make it through the general election balloting. In addition, we took into account whether or not they accepted the results of the 2020 presidential election – a defining litmus test for us.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 11th Congressional District

Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake, Commerce, Wixom, White Lake, Walled Lake, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Keego Harbor, Lake Angelus, Madison Heights, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak, Sylvan Lake, Troy, Wolverine Lake


No matter who wins in this primary, we all will ultimately lose because so will either Andy Levin or Haley Stevens – two excellent second term Representatives elected in the 2018 Democratic wave. Due to redistricting, they are now facing each other in this Democrat-leaning district, which covers a majority of Oakland County. Levin lays out the political class claim to this district as a fourth-generation resident of Birmingham, Bloomfield and Royal Oak, but members of Congress do not have to live in their district and he could have run in his current geographical district and done quite well. While we admire Levin’s passion for Medicare for All, union organizing and other Progressive ideals, we feel HALEY STEVENS is the better choice for the new 11th district. Both advocate many of the same Democratic ideals and issues, but Stevens stakes out a more moderate stance which we think aligns best with this district. She has been involved for the last four years with her ‘Manufacturing Mondays,’ where she has regularly visited manufacturers and businesses in the district, worked with women in business and led efforts to engage younger women in technology and engineering, while doing outreach to minority communities. We also think voters appreciate her position that there is a need for improvements in Medicare and the Affordable Health Care Act, but do not want to be forced to lose their private insurance. In terms of representing the party heading into November, Stevens stands the best chance with her personal approach to issues against a GOP opponent.


A graduate of West Point, a retired Army Captain who served in the Middle East, including Israel and the West Bank, as well as America’s southern border, MARK AMBROSE holds an MBA and master degree in international and public affairs from Columbia University, providing him with a background which suffuses his reputable and informed perspective as a reliable conservative. Ambrose is an investment banker from Bloomfield Township who understands the nuances of proposed policies, whether taxation reform, health care or inflation woes and economic growth. Ambrose would be a strong standard bearer for the Republican Party in this Oakland County district for the general election.


7th State Senate District

Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Lake Angelus, part of Waterford, Franklin, Lathrup Village, Beverly Hills, Southfield, part of Detroit


Incumbent state Senator JEREMY MOSS stands head and shoulders above his opponent, and is a role model for a progressive Democratic politician. A graduate of Hillel Day School and Birmingham Groves High School, he is a lifelong resident of Southfield, and has spent his adulthood representing the city – first as the youngest Southfield city councilman, where he was the chair of the council’s legislative and urban affairs committee, and as a member of the neighborhood services committee, and helped create an economic development committee. In 2014, he successfully was elected to the state House, becoming the second openly gay member to ever be elected to that chamber, and was re-elected in 2016. In 2018, he won a primary, and then the general election, for a state Senate seat, championing ethics and judicial reform, voting rights, closing the education gap, infrastructure, the revitalization of low-income housing stock, and passionately, the expansion of Michigan’s civil rights protection. He is on the Dr. Martin Luther King Advisory Task Force and Fair Michigan. He is a politician who walks the walk with his constituents and would run the strongest general election campaign on behalf of his party.

8th State Senate District

Birmingham, Royal Oak, Clawson, Beverly Hills, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, Ferndale, Oak Park, Royal Oak Township, part of Detroit


Determining who to back in this primary contest was one of the tougher decisions we had to make. This newly drawn district sprawls from Birmingham, Ferndale and Royal Oak, along with a few other Oakland communities and then into part of Detroit. It is a classic casualty of the redistricting process, pitting two worthy incumbent Democrat state Senate members for the right to represent their party in the November election. On the one hand you have Marshall Bullock II of Detroit with a decades-long history of social work and youth advocacy in the city, and a stint in the Duggan administration. In Lansing he is the head of the Black Caucus and partnered with Senator Jeremy Moss to create the Black and Jewish Unity Caucus. A worthy track record, without doubt. He is facing incumbent MALLORY MCMORROW of Royal Oak who already represents Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills and other parts of Oakland in her current district. Her first term in the Senate has been a productive one in terms of proposed new legislation. While both candidates hold similar views, McMorrow has shown considerable moxie in Lansing when it comes to challenging the old boys network, be it on sexism and other issues, and the fringe far right powers that populate the Capitol – even though many might shrink from the fight. Not McMorrow. In fact, her most recent foray against the homophobic and hateful forces in the legislature has made her a rock start of sorts in Michigan and on the national scene. We throw our support behind McMorrow who in her first run for office dethroned an incumbent with a legacy Republican name. We look forward to how she will carry the party flag into November.


5th State House District

Part of Birmingham, part of Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Oak Park, Berkley, Beverly Hills, part of Royal Oak, part of Southfield, part of Detroit


Previously a Birmingham/Bloomfield district, with redistricting it now runs from Birmingham down through northwest Detroit, with about half of the district in Oakland County, and half in Wayne. This primary field presents two strong candidates who could do the job well, including Natalie Price of Berkley, and MICHELLE WOODDELL of Southfield. A moderate Democrat who says she “loves balanced budgets but hates unfunded mandates,” she recognizes the importance of representing the entire district. With a business, Nonprofit Spot LLC, helping non-profit organizations with programming, operations, and management, located in northwest Detroit, she knows what it means to make payroll and appreciates the area. She is also a college professor, teaching others to lead. After years collaborating with community leaders and activists, Wooddell feels this is her time. We agree.


There are two candidates seeking to represent the GOP in the November race. One candidate ghosted both Downtown Newsmagazine and our readers by failing to respond for the Voter Guide. The other candidate, Paul Taros, appears to have drunk the kool-aid when it comes to refusing to accept the proven results of the 2020 presidential election. Downtown Newsmagazine has an established policy of not promoting to elected positions of power those who have an altered sense of reality, so we will not endorse in this race.

20th State House District

Part of Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield,

Orchard Lake, Sylvan Lake, Keego Harbor,

part of Commerce Township


Three qualified candidates, all West Bloomfield residents, are seeking to be the standard bearer for the Democrats in this district, so determining who to support was most challenging. The three share similar views on the important issues and all have life/work and government experiences that will serve district residents well should they advance to Lansing after the November vote. In this race, however, we are recommending NOAH ARBIT as voters’ choice in this primary. While young, he has already been an industrious grassroots activist, creating the Michigan Democratic Jewish Caucus to battle anti-Semitism and elect candidates with shared values. He appears more than capable of running a spirited race on behalf of the party for the general election.


We never heard from one of the two candidates in this Republican primary race. The one which did participate in our Q&A – Diana Theresa Mohyi – had a response relative to the results of the 2020 election that seemed evasive at first blush but on further review we think she puts herself squarely in the group that either doesn’t understand the laws governing elections or she wants to dress up her answer to hide her true position. Once again, we won’t – as a matter of policy – promote for office those posing a threat to our democracy, especially those like Mohyi who suggest election “audits” be conducted by individuals not elected or appointed (i.e. clerks) to assure election integrity – a scary proposition.

54th State House District

Part of Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Auburn Hills, Orion Township, Lake Orion, Oakland Township


As a Bloomfield Township Trustee, STEPHANIE FAKIH has staked herself out as a voice for resident concerns. While relatively new, she examines issues before her with an eye for how residents will be affected, or investigates them from the point of view of homeowner interests. A criminal defense attorney, she drills down on the nitty gritty to look at all facets of an item. An advocate for improvements in infrastructure, concerns about inflation, personal freedoms and advocating for businesses in Michigan, Fakih is the right choice for Democrats in this primary election.


A strong conservative and a proven public servant, DONNI STEELE is the clear Republican choice for this district. She has been Orion Township Treasurer for the last five years, and served on the township’s board of trustees before that, working hard to better the community through involvement on its trails management councils. In addition, she has experience as a small business owner and as a realtor, understanding how legislation in Lansing affects those in the district. With her fiscally conservative background, she also has her eye on the future of Michigan as spending is considered. Steele would clearly be the party’s best contender for the general election.

56th State House District

Part of Birmingham, part of Bloomfield Township,

most of Troy, Clawson, part of Royal Oak


Two qualified candidates are seeking the nod in the Democrat party contest for the 56th House district. We suggest SHARON MACDONELL be voters’ first choice in this race. MacDonell has a history of activism in the community of Troy, helping to restore services that had been cut back and pushing for ethical standards on local elected and appointed boards. Her energetic approach to community issues indicates what we are likely to see in terms of representing the party in the general election race, and the district if she ultimately takes this post in November.


9th County Commission District

Part of Birmingham, part of Troy, Pontiac


This Oakland County Board of Commissioners primary contest will likely determine who will represent the party come November for a new district that includes part of Bloomfield Township. We throw our support behind current county commissioner ANGELA POWELL who was first elected to the board in the 2018 balloting. Powell has a good grasp on issues and would represent the Democratic party well heading into the contest come November.


Public Safety Millage Replacement

Bloomfield Township has placed on the ballot a replacement millage of 3.89 mills to continue providing of fire, police and public safety protection, for a period of 10 years, beginning in 2023. This public safety millage replaces two of the township’s current public safety millages, which are expiring, one this year, one in 2023, and is not a renewal. If this millage is approved, the millage expiring in 2023 will not be levied. The combination levy of the two public safety millages expiring is 3.2879 mills, so there is an increase in the tax rate, but officials have laid out an argument for why they need the extra money for public safety, and we agree and recommend a YES vote. While we typically would not be in favor of a combination of the two, nor of placing it on the August ballot, there is not a scheduled election in 2023, so its expiration would force the township to spend unnecessarily for a special election. The township has said there will be two other necessary millages on the November ballot, and history teaches us that when voters are faced with a number of millages, most will fail, so we understand officials’ logic for putting this important replacement millage on the August ballot.


Operating Millage Restoration Proposal

The operating millage restoration proposal for Bloomfield Hills Schools is seeking to restore tax money lost due to the Headlee Tax Limitation Amendment, only on properties classified as non-homestead which also includes commercial and business properties. The goal of this millage would allow the district to levy the statutory limit of 18 mills only on these types of properties which would then be subject to future Headlee rollbacks when the value of property exceeds the rate of inflation each year or five percent, whichever is less. This affects those who claim a second home in the Bloomfield Hills Schools’ district, but most importantly, all businesses located in the district. While residents are technically exempt, over time they may be forced to pay as businesses pass their costs on. So keep this last fact in mind if you are inclined to support this proposal.


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