My Opponent and I: How Do We Differ?

It’s a question I field frequently when knocking doors: How do you and your opponent differ? It is, really, the best question for a voter to ask a candidate and I’m delighted to have the discussion. In a nutshell, my opponent promises to do many of the things I’ve been doing for the past two decades. For example, she claims to be a long-time “community activist,” but offers no examples of her community activism. Here is a great example of my own community activism. Here’s another example that shows I have been a long-time community activist, and an extremely effective one!

My opponent promises to expand educational opportunity.

Stephen’s behind-the-scenes community activism stretches back two decades.

I helped the Ministers’ Alliance create a non-profit to serve as a fiduciary to receive grants, and I served as a founding board member and as its first treasurer. The grants received enabled child literacy, adult literacy and after-school learning enrichment programs throughout the eastern half of Washtenaw County.

My opponent promises to expand housing options within the County.

In 2021, the financial services company I lead helped 10,000 County residents secure mortgages. In addition, over the past two decades I’ve worked with elected officials to end mortgage redlining in Ypsilanti. Ronnie Peterson represents the eastern portion of District 2 in the Michigan House. In his endorsement of my candidacy Ronnie said, “Stephen has led the charge to eradicate mortgage redlining in Ypsilanti and, under his leadership, both minority homeownership and local property values have seen marked increases.”

If we look at endorsements, as opposed to my opponent (whose endorsers live mostly outside of District 2,) the folks who believe I am the best candidate are District 2 residents, as well as the elected and appointed officials who live in District 2 and its various townships. Among others, these District 2 endorsers include leaders in Ypsilanti, Salem and Superior Townships.

My opponent has no experience serving on any Washtenaw County or Michigan board or commission, and has never served on a committee or caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party. I’ve served on almost 30 local, county, state and national boards and commissions, and I currently serve in a leadership position with a statewide caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party.

If we remember that County Commissioners oversee a budget of around $130 million annually, then financial management experience is a critical skill to bring to the table. The financial services company I manage, has annual revenue of over $130 million and employs over 500 people. My opponent has no experience or education in financial management, or experience in the management of a large workforce.

Finally, one other difference between the two of us has to do with our support of Democratic candidates and causes. I have a long and public record of being supportive of, and involved in, local, county and national Democratic politics.

As an agent of positive social change immersed in the Democratic Party, since 2009:

  • I donated or held fundraisers for 20 Democratic Party candidates or committees, including the Michigan Democratic Party and the Ann Arbor Democratic Party’s official candidates.
  • I campaigned door-to-door helping elect local Democratic candidates. Among the many Democratic candidates to whom he has donated, and for whom he has fundraised or campaigned, are Congresswoman Debbie DingellMichigan State Senator Jeff IrwinU.S. Senator Gary PetersMichigan Secretary of State Jocelyn BensonCongressman Andy LevinU.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Governor Gretchen Whitmer;
  • I was elected as a Michigan statewide delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention;

As always, if you would like to contact me, please reach out by email.