GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Following a chaotic campaign kickoff earlier in the morning on the Eastside, former Detroit Police Chief James Craig made his pitch to Republicans in Kent County.
On Tuesday, Craig announced his run for Michigan governor.
“I got one thing to say, I’m running for governor,” Craig uttered while surrounded by shouts and screams from protestors.
Members from Detroit Will Breathe, an anti-police brutality organization, showed up to Craig’s first event on Belle Isle and criticized his response to social and racial injustice protests last summer, saying residents deserve better in their next leader.
Hours later, at the Kent County GOP Headquarters, Craig told a room of roughly 40 voters he would not let the incident define his campaign.
“We’re not going to be silenced,” said Craig. “We’re going to continue to fight and we’re going to get this job done.”
Craig grew up in Detroit and spent more than 40 years in law enforcement. In addition to leading DPD for eight years, he was the top cop at agencies in Cincinnati and Portland, Maine.
If elected, Craig would be the state’s first Black governor.
According to Craig, the lack of leadership during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s first term is what pushed him to run.
“I’ve been around all sorts of people,” said Craig. “I’ve been with community leaders, business leaders, and yes activists and politicians. You learn a lot about people. Problem solving and why it’s important to do the right thing.”
During his speech, Craig listed bettering the state’s economy, education, and response to the COVID-19 pandemic as some of his top priorities.
However, when asked by FOX17, Craig failed to describe any of the actual policies he would implement to achieve that, instead going on to say his team is still working through those decisions.
“We are Michiganders and we have seen tough times before, but we will preserver once again by protecting liberty, implementing justice, and leading from the front,” said Craig.