State Sen. Adam Hollier enters race for open Detroit-based seat in Congress

Todd Spangler and Clara Hendrickson

Jan 24, 2022

State Sen. Adam Hollier, D-Detroit, who grew up in the city's North End and has served in the Army and as a firefighter, formally announced his bid Monday for an open Detroit-based seat in Congress.

State Sen. Adam Hollier, D-Detroit, who grew up in the city's North End and has served in the Army and as a firefighter, formally announced his bid Monday for an open Detroit-based seat in Congress.


"Detroit and Wayne County need a champion in Washington who listens to the needs of our families,” Hollier said. “I’ll fight to secure funding for career readiness, improve our schools, rebuild our roads and bridges and bring jobs to our communities."


Hollier, 36, made his announcement public on social media and at an event at Plymouth United Church of Christ on East Warren Avenue in the city. He joins a growing cast of candidates in the newly drawn and predominately Democratic 13th Congressional District, where no current member of Congress intends to run.


State Rep. Shri Thanedar, D-Detroit, a wealthy businessman who poured millions into an unsuccessful bid for governor four years ago, is looking at running as is Detroit Public Schools Community District Board member Sherry Gay-Dagnogo. And last week, former Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. and attorney Michael Griffie entered the race for the open seat. Several others are considering getting in as well.


It may also be the district most likely to elect a Black nominee. The only current Black member of Michigan's congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield, who represents part of Detroit, has said she is not running for reelection.


More:Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Michigan's only Black member of Congress, not running again


More:Rep. Rashida Tlaib to run for reelection in new Detroit-Dearborn-Southfield district


That leaves the prospect of Detroit, with a larger Black majority population than any other major city in the U.S., not having a Black member of Congress. The city's other current member, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, is Palestinian American and is running in what will be the new 12th Congressional District, made up of the city's west side, Dearborn, Southfield and portions of western Wayne County.Create Account

“I’m very committed to (having) a Black member of Congress,” Hollier said. “All of the work that I’ve been doing over these last couple of months with redistricting has been with the eye toward representation.”


Elected to the state Senate in 2018, Hollier has been one of the most visible critics of a new independent commission's decision to draw new state and congressional districts in such a way as to reduce or eliminate majority-Black districts.


In Lansing, Hollier, who played defensive back at Cornell University, pushed passage of legislation giving student-athletes more freedom to be compensated for use of their names or images; he has also been active in the fight to reduce lead in drinking water and elsewhere, noting that his daughter had elevated levels of lead in her body from paint dust. Hollier has also been a proponent of expanding hate crime laws to reduce violence and intimidation against the LBGTQ community.


Early in his term, he battled General Motors' decision to close its Detroit-Hamtramck plant; after a 40-day strike by the UAW, it was announced it would reopen, making electric vehicles.


The son of a former social worker and a retired Detroit Fire Department captain, Hollier served as a volunteer firefighter before enlisting in the Army, graduating from officer candidate school as a second lieutenant. Currently, he is a reservist serving with the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion.


Hollier got a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan.


All of Hollier's current state Senate district is covered by what will be the new 13th District, which includes Midtown and downtown Detroit, the city's east side, the Grosse Pointes and parts of Downriver.


“I represent a quarter of the voters in this district,” Hollier told the Free Press. “No one else can say that.”


Contact Todd Spangler attspangler@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter@tsspangler. Read more onMichigan politics and sign up for ourelections newsletter. Staff writer Dave Boucher contributed to this story.