DETROIT (AP) — Michigan Rep. John Conyers declared his candidacy for a 27th consecutive term in Congress on Monday, saying he wants to continue pressing for employment opportunities and universal health care coverage.
"I'm running for another term in Congress because there are fights yet to be won," said the 86-year-old Detroit Democrat, who made the announcement at news conferences in Redford Township and Detroit.
Conyers, Congress' current longest-serving member and the Dean of the House, was first elected in 1964. Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, a Democrat, has said she will run for the heavily Democratic 13th District, which includes a large portion of Detroit along with other parts of Wayne County.
Conyers is the top-ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. He became Congress' longest-serving member when Michigan Rep. John Dingell retired at the end of 2014.
"Winning full employment, health care for all, and protection of the right to vote won't be easy, but I know the type of leadership that it will take to fight and win these battles," Conyers said.
Conyers also said he is focused on combatting Detroit water shutoffs, property tax foreclosures and racial profiling by police. The Judiciary Committee approved legislation would allow judges discretion to give lesser sentences than federal mandatory minimums, reducing prison time for some nonviolent drug offenders.
In 2014, a federal judge ordered Conyers' name placed on the August primary ballot after Michigan election officials said he was ineligible because of problems with his nominating petitions. He cruised to re-election.