On the other hand, as owner of automotive supplier The Bing Group (No. 35 on the BE Industrial/Service 100 list with $131 million in revenues), Bing’s business knowledge has garnered him a great deal of respect. The Detroit News endorsed Bing, saying he knows how to create jobs because he has been doing it for 32 years.
“I know how to do that. I’ve been successful at it, and that is what our city needs; somebody who can create jobs,” says Bing
Cockrel says he wants to train workers in the skills demanded by the emerging green economy and wants to restore the city’s Workforce Development Department which became a “dumping ground” for political hires under Mayor Kilpatrick.
Kilpatrick, who was once seen as a promising young leader, had a mayoral career ruined by a perjury conviction and sex scandal. He was found guilty after covering up an extramarital affair with his former chief of staff, Christine Beatty. He served 99 days in the Wayne County detention facility in Detroit. The Detroit city charter dictated that Cockrel would step in after Kilpatrick resigned. Like Kilpatrick, neither candidate has been upfront with the electorate.
Cockrel and Bing went mano-y-mano in their first mayoral debate last week, and integrity guided the discussion. Bing was accused of exaggerating his educational achievements and until the debate, Cockrel refused to disclose his personal financial records.
They are debate again April 15 at the Detroit Economic Club and on April 23 at the studios of WXYZ.
Bill Ballenger, editor of the newsletter Inside Michigan Politics, says that in the wake of Kilpatrick Detroiters are looking for a mayor with integrity who is willing to lead a transparent administration, and make the interests of Detroit citizen’s a top priority.
The winner will need to run again in August for the regularly scheduled 2009 mayoral primary, followed by the general election in November.