DETROIT — State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) today criticized political posturing that resulted in the need for a special election to fill the vacant 13th Congressional District seat during the 2018 general election. Former Rep. John Conyers, who held the seat for nearly 53 years, resigned on Dec. 5, 2017. According to Section 168.145 of the state election law, the governor is charged with calling for a special election “whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of representative in congress.” Gov. Rick Snyder has thus determined the special election to fill this vacancy will coincide with the regularly scheduled primary and general elections for 2018. This will be perhaps the longest span of time between a vacancy and a special election for Congress, with Detroiters going 336 days without a congressperson.

Gay-Dagnogo will participate in and hold a series of Community Conversations in the coming months to ensure constituents are informed and have an opportunity to ask any questions about the special election process.

“The people of Detroit should not be disenfranchised or left without a voice because our civil rights icon chose to retire,” said Gay-Dagnogo, chairwoman of the Detroit Caucus. “That is why in the coming months, I am making it my mission to fill that void with the information and resources that Detroiters need. It is critical that residents understand how to make their voices heard, and I will support them in every way I can during this time.”

There will be two separate elections in November: one will be the special election, the winner of which will complete the remaining two months of Conyers’ two-year term; and the other will be the general election, whose winner will take office on Jan. 3, 2019, for the beginning of a new Congress. Candidates are able to run for both the special and general election.

The 13th Congressional District office remains open as a nonpartisan office under the supervision of the Clerk of the House. Staff will continue conducting constituent casework and offering resource services, but will refer legislative matters to Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and/or Gary Peters (D-MI) for them to handle.