Michigan Board of Training President Pamela Pugh introduced Tuesday morning at Comma Bookstore in Flint that she intends to run for U.S. Senate in 2024, widening the Democratic major discipline to 5 registered candidates.
Pugh, a Saginaw native and College of Michigan alumna, joins candidates Leslie Love, a former state consultant, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), businessman Nasser Beydoun and legal professional Zack Burns within the Democratic major to interchange Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing), who introduced her retirement earlier this yr.
Solely two Republican candidates have declared for the Senate race to this point – businessman Michael Hoover and Pugh’s Board of Training colleague, Nikki Snyder.
Pugh mentioned points she hopes will take heart stage in her marketing campaign, together with enhancements to public faculties, local weather change options and financial equality. She mentioned that her expertise in each public well being and training have made her well-equipped to serve Michiganders in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve labored with our legislators,” Pugh mentioned. “I’ve even labored with the GOP occasion. I’ve been elected statewide two instances.”
Pugh’s observe document in state elections may show essential to success within the Democratic major, by which many think about Slotkin to be an early frontrunner. Pugh mentioned in an interview with the Michigan Advance after the occasion that she hopes Michigan Democrats will foster a aggressive major and vote for the candidate they imagine in, no matter polling or hypothesis.
“These are rules of democracy and other people ought to have the ability to elect their leaders,” Pugh mentioned.
Selecting Comma Bookstore as an announcement venue was no accident– the shop is Black-owned and facilities literature by Black authors, and has been the location of visits from public figures like filmmaker Tyler Perry and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Pugh mentioned that illustration in politics was one purpose that motivated her to run for workplace – she wished to see extra individuals who seemed like her in positions of energy and affect. If elected, she could be Michigan’s first Black U.S. senator, and solely the third Black girl to carry a Senate seat in American historical past.
“It could be a historic second, and a effectively deserved second,” Pugh mentioned. “Not simply due to me, however for Individuals to have the ability to have that illustration.”
Pugh describes herself as a lifelong Democrat, having frolicked in grassroots organizing work with the Nationwide Federation of Democratic Girls and the Michigan Democratic Girls’s Caucus. She served as a chief public well being advisor to town of Flint from 2016 to 2019, the place she labored to handle town’s water disaster.
Together with her progressive coverage platform, Pugh’s candidacy may enchantment to Democrats who see the center-left Slotkin as too average. Nevertheless, Pugh mentioned she believes that her stances on points aren’t something out of the atypical for Michiganders.
“Whether or not we’re speaking about training points or whether or not we’re speaking concerning the setting, speaking about jobs and other people having jobs the place they’re effectively paid, standing up for educators– I don’t know anybody who doesn’t need good high quality faculties which are adequately funded or educators are adequately paid,” Pugh mentioned. “These are American rules. These are values of the folks of Michigan and people are the values that I’ve continued to struggle for.”
Regardless that her background is in public well being and engineering, Pugh made it clear that instructional points are on the heart of her marketing campaign. She mentioned that she intends to proceed pushing again towards right-wing efforts to control public faculty curricula, and hopes to handle the difficulty of gun violence on the nationwide degree after working alongside legislators to cross Michigan’s current gun violence prevention legal guidelines within the wake of two faculty shootings in lower than two years at Oxford Excessive College and Michigan State College.
“Training, sadly, has been politicized by these extremists who’ve chosen to mobilize their base utilizing our training system,” Pugh mentioned.
Pugh mentioned that her expertise on the Michigan Board of Training could be an asset in federal lawmaking and would assist her higher symbolize Michiganders in Washington.
“On the finish of the day, I do know the folks,” Pugh mentioned. “I do know our communities, and thru that function I’ve been capable of hear from a various sector of our communities in Michigan.”