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Ex-Michigan lawmaker Henry Yanez launches run for Congress

March 1, 2022 GMT

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democratic former state lawmaker Henry Yanez launched a run for an open, competitive U.S. House seat outside Detroit on Tuesday, saying he wants to advocate for working people in Congress.

Yanez, a Sterling Heights council member and an ex-firefighter, served six years in the Michigan House until term limits kept him from seeking reelection to the chamber in 2018. He is the third Democrat to enter the race and has the most political experience.

“We need legislators that focus on the problems that people in the district and, frankly in this country, experience every single day,” he told The Associated Press, pointing to the effects of inflation and tangled supply chains on residents’ pocketbooks.

The 10th District, newly created through redistricting, includes a chunk of Macomb County and a small portion of Oakland County. Then-President Donald Trump narrowly won the area in 2020 over Joe Biden. The Republican candidate for the seat is businessman, combat veteran and two-time U.S. Senate nominee John James, a top GOP recruit.

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Yanez, 64, said he initially was not interested in running because he loves his job on the Sterling Heights City Council, but friends and elected officials who reached out to him “were very concerned about how the race was shaping up on the Democratic side.” He emphasized his working-class roots and said he has a “proven track record” of working for his constituents.

“I’ve made Macomb my home. Not everyone can say that,” he added, alluding to how James lives in a part of Oakland County that is not in the new seat. House members do not have to be residents of the district they represent.

Other Democratic candidates include activist Huwaida Arraf and Warren council member Angela Rogensues.

Democrats must keep control of the House, Yanez said, saying he won and held a marginal legislative seat. He unsuccessfully challenged then-U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, a Republican, in 2010 before winning election to the Legislature in 2012. He lost to a Republican in a 2018 race for an open state Senate district.

“Henry Yanez was a radical liberal in the state House and he would be even worse in Congress,” Mike Berg, spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement.

The 10th District is among four of Michigan’s 13 House seats that are considered competitive and not solidly Republican nor Democratic.

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Follow David Eggert at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00