By Lisa Cipriano
Michigan’s 14th Congressional District, which snakes across parts of both Wayne and Oakland counties, has gone through many redistricting changes having been redrawn numerous times since the 1960s. Considered one of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation, it currently covers a diverse range of communities including the northwest side of Detroit including its enclave of Hamtramck, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Harper Woods, the Village of Grosse Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Woods, the Charter Township of Royal Oak, Oak Park, Southfield, Lathrup Village, Farmington Hills, the Charter Township of West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake Village, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake and Pontiac. The traditionally Democratic leaning district includes communities with large Chaldean and African American populations.
We posed the following question to each candidate, why should the Chaldean community support you?
Congresswoman Brenda L. Lawrence is a lifelong resident of Michigan’s 14th Congressional District. She was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November of 2014 and re-elected in 2016 where she serves as a Senior Whip, Vice Chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues and Secretary of the Congressional Black Caucus. She serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where she also serves on the Subcommittee on Aviation, Subcommittee on Highway and Transit, Subcommittee on Water, Resources and Environment. She is also a member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee where she serves on the subcommittee on Government Operation.
Born and raised in Detroit, Congresswoman Lawrence attended Pershing High School and earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University. Before she began her career in public service, she had a career with the U.S. Postal Service.
Lawrence was elected Mayor of the City of Southfield in November of 2001 and became the first African American and the first woman to serve in that post. She previously served on the Southfield City Council, where she was elected President in 1999. She has also served on the Southfield Public School Board of Education as President, Vice President, and Secretary.
She and her husband have two grown children and a granddaughter.
Lawrence believes that she has been a highly effective lawmaker in her four years in Congress and hopes to be given another opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of not only her constituency, but for the entire Country.
“We live in an amazing Country. It is an honor to represent Michigan in Congress and fight for our priorities. I’ve been able to get results in my first few years representing us in Washington, D.C. With your support I can make a bigger impact to improve our federal government, so it can better serve you and your families,” said Lawrence.
“I am proud of the work I’ve done in expanding skilled workforce training and education opportunities for Americans, as well as my leadership role and results in the fight for stronger foster youth protections. Those have both been bipartisan efforts that will make a difference for many Americans,” she continued.
Lawrence already has goals that she wants to accomplish if given another opportunity to serve Michigan’s 14th Congressional District in our Nation’s Capital.
“The three biggest issues I’ll be tackling in the next Congress are rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, increasing Michigan’s share of federal road funding and transportation investments, and further workforce development and training opportunities. I serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and am a founding Co-Chair of the Congressional Skilled Workforce Caucus – through those roles, I intend to get even more results for Michigan and our workers,” explained Lawrence.
Lawrence values the continued support that she has received from the Chaldean community in her district and vows to continue to listen to their needs, concerns and be their voice to the Nation.
“During my two terms in Congress, I have been a constant partner and ally with the Chaldean community. It is an honor to have such a strong Chaldean population in our region; in the Halls of Congress, I have had the opportunity to speak out and inform my colleagues from around the country about the history, heritage, strength, and present challenges of the Chaldean community. I have stood and fought alongside you and I will continue that partnership, if re-elected,” Lawrence concluded.
Dr. Marc Herschfus MD is a resident of Southfield and doctor of internal medicine specializing in gastroenterology with a practice in Detroit. Herschfus is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including DMC-Sinai- Grace Hospital and Garden City Hospital. He graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1991. He completed a double residency in pediatrics and internal medicine at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital in Pontiac. Herschfus attended medical school and law school concurrently earning his law degree at Wayne State University Law School. He currently practices family law in Oakland and Macomb counties with an office in Bingham Farms.
Herschfus previously graduated from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, worked at his father’s dental practice and later taught in the dental hygiene program at Wayne County Community College earning enough money to put himself through medical and law school.
He is a married father of four including triplets.
Herschfus first entered into the world of politics in a 2016 in bid for 46th District Court Judge and was defeated in the primary election.
He says that his defeat has only helped to make him more politically motivated and that is why he chose to run for Congress.
“As a member of Congress, you not only have an obligation toward your district, but you have an obligation towards everyone. I want to look at the bigger picture,” explains Herschfus.
The three biggest parts of his platform are strengthening our military, addressing unfair tariffs against the United States, and health insurance reform.
“This district is a varied district. It covers both the “haves” and “have nots.” I want to make health insurance affordable for everybody. I say this as a consumer and as a physician,” Herschfus said.
As a Jewish person, he feels especially connected to the Chaldean community and hopes for their support.
“I feel a sort of a kinship to them. We come from a similar area and speak the same language: the Aramaic language. As a child of an immigrant and a husband of an immigrant, I can relate to the fact that people want to come here, be a part of who we are, integrate into our culture, but at the same time they want to maintain a sense of where they came from. I very sensitive to that,” concluded Herschfus.