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5 mayoral candidates meet with Detroiters on city's west side

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Four Detroit mayoral candidates sit at a table at Wednesday night's event. Four Detroit mayoral candidates sit at a table at Wednesday night's event.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Wednesday night inside the Shrine of the Black Madonna on Linwood on the city's west side, dozens of Detroiters filled a room eager to meet and greet five of the six candidates who have decided they want to become the next mayor.

Those who were inside the house of worship included Krystal Crittendon, Mike Duggan, Fred Durhal, Lisa Howze and Benny Napoleon.  This was not a debate.  It was more like a hometown sit down giving the citizens an opportunity to get to know the contenders a little better -- their backgrounds, their professional positions and, most importantly, why they want to be mayor and what they want to do for Detroiters.

"I have been in public service in this community for almost 38 years," said Napoleon.  "Over the course of that time, I've watched this great city that we know and that we love change."

"The reason that I'm running for mayor of the City of Detroit, number one, is because I'm uniquely qualified to do the job.  Second is I represent the spirit of the underdog, and there is one thing we have to know about the underdog, that you cannot underestimate the will of the underdog," said Howze.

"When I came out of law school in Ann Arbor, my friends were all going to Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta.  I only wanted to be one place.  I only applied to jobs in Detroit, and my friends were saying to me, 'Why do you want to go to Detroit?'  You can go all these other places.  And I thought Detroit's either in your blood or it's not," said Duggan.

"Everywhere I have gone, there have been people who have come up to me saying, you know what, I didn't think that anybody in city government would do the right thing just because it was the right thing.  I was on my way out of here.  I was leaving the city.  I was about to throw in my towel.  If you are going to stand and fight, I am going to stay here and fight with you," said Crittendon.

"I say to you that we need to put the right folks downtown who are community oriented, who come from the community, who did not walk away from it, who have decided to get this community back together, and the only way it's going to happen, the only way it's going to happen is leadership at the top," said Durhal.

For many of the citizens who were inside that meeting, this is the first time they have been up close and personal with the candidates.  We asked people for their reactions.  Here are some of their responses:

"Thought the meeting was great, gave us an excellent opportunity to see the candidates together and to get some questions fielded about what they're going to do for the city, what the vision is for the city and how they plan to go about it."

"I think that they low balled the questions.  We should've had direct answers from specific candidates."

"I feel that all the men should step back and let this be a run for the women and let the women come in and let's see what they can do."

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