Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
Crowd Greets Bailey
TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN - In front of a standing room only crowd in downtown Traverse City art gallery, Derek Bailey made his formal announcement to run for the Democratic Party's nomination for the Michigan District One Congressional seat.
His Traverse City announcement on Saturday evening ended a day-long journey that began at a 9:00 am announcement Escanaba and an afternoon announcement three hours away in Sault Ste Marie in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Bailey Speaks to Crowd
Bailey, 38, is the current chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Traverse City was the closest city where Bailey made his announcement to the Tribe's headquarters in Peshawbestown.
He will face at least one other candidate in the Democratic field in the Michigan primary election next August 7, 2012. Gary McDowell, a former Michigan state representative announced in mid-September his candidacy for the nomination.
In the 2010 Congressional race, McDowell lost to the incumbent Dan Benishek, Republican.
Michigan's 1st Congressional District was previously held by Bartholomew Thomas "Bart" Stupak, who served from 1993 to 2011. Stupak chose not to seek reelection in 2010.
The newly reconfigured District One Congressional seat that includes all of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and several counties in the Lower Peninsular. The newly drawn Congressional district contains eight of the twelve federally recognized American Indian tribes, based in Michigan.
Several Grand Traverse Band tribal citizens were on hand as he made his announcement, as well as other tribal citizens from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, based in Mt. Pleasant.
“I am so excited we have such a young Native leader who can walk in two worlds, such as Derek,”
said Audrey Chambers, Chippewa. "He does well in both worlds and he is so gracious."
During his Traverse City announcement, Bailey said he was humbled to be running and thanked the supporters who were in attendance, who, in turn, gave him a rousing round of applause.
While tribal citizens were on hand to demonstrate their support for Bailey's candidacy, the room was filled with a majority of non-Indians who were just as enthusiastic about him throwing his hat into the ring.
"He's has a lot of great ideas," said Dave Halachukas, who maintains he predicated two years ago Bailey would one day run for Congress.
"What I like about him is he understand business because of his tribal leadership and he knows about how people need help because he has seen it in his work with his Tribe," said Tom Rockne, a travel industry consultant in Traverse City.
"I think it is exciting to see him run. He is so passionate and has the qualities we need in government," said Rachel Taylor, a resident of Traverse City.
"As a non-Native resident of Northwest Michigan, I have a great deal of respect for Derek Bailey. He has been a very effective voice for the Grand Traverse Band, and has done much during his term as Chairman to reach out to the entire region," commented William Strait, a writer from nearby Interlochen, who did not attend the announcement due to a previously scheduled commitment. "His intelligence, disposition and understanding of the values of Northern Michigan would be a pleasant change in Washington."
posted October 3, 2011 7:40 am edt
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