WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 07: U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) (C) speaks during a rally on jobs December 7, 2016 at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. Our Revolution and Good Jobs Nation, the organizer, held a rally to demand good jobs and workers' rights from the incoming President-elect Donald Trump administration. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Democrats work to fill Conyers, Franken seats with non-traditional candidates

Two non-traditional Democrats, the son of a former progressive Detroit mayor and the first Muslim to hold a seat in U.S. congress, vie for coveted positions left open by John Conyers (D-MI) and Al Franken (D-MN).

Coleman Young II, a second-generation politician who openly supports marijuana laws and Keith Ellison, a proponent of reparations for African Americans prepare for election campaigns.

Last week, U.S. House of Representative John Conyers II, 88, announced his resignation due to health problems that emerged after revelations of past allegations from former aides of sexual misconduct.

The disgraced elder, Conyers, said he hoped that his son, John Conyers III, succeeds him; however, the younger Conyers has yet to release a statement. Though another relative stepped forward. Democratic state Sen. Ian Conyers, the grand-nephew of John Conyers, said he will run.

Enters Coleman A. Young II, fresh off his loss in a bid for Detroit’s mayor position, he tackles deep, generational issues of inequity and urban blight with innovative solutions. The 35-year-old supports legalization of marijuana and a radical overhaul of Detroit’s public schools. As well, he pushes to build a black business hub in a city that bounces back from economic straits.

Nonetheless, Young must overcome huge hurdles as his vision for a “new Detroit” did not convince working class, poor voters.

Vanguard Leadership

Soon after U.S. Senator Al Franken stepped down for multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, one that included a photo of him groping a personality during a USO tour, a petition for Keith Ellison to fill the Senate seat circulated immediately.

While some call for a woman to replace Franken, others point to Ellison’s progressive leadership. Recently appointed to the Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Ellison authored legislation to tax Wall Street and a measure to Study Reparation Proposals for the African-Americans Act (H.R. 40), that Conyers, ironically introduced in 1989.

Ellison, a Muslim, shows a record that advocates for progressive proponents. In a recent Twitter post, he called for citizens to rally around net neutrality.

Keith Ellison Twitter feed says net neutrality gives voice to activists.

Ellison’s position as Deputy Chair came after a dog-eared campaign to chair the weakening DNC left in tatters after Donald Trump’s historical 2016 win. Barack Obama backed Tom Perez who was the United States Secretary of Labor during the Obama Administration.

For some, Ellison’s non-traditional stance and progressive left position, is the change that makes people quite uncomfortable. Nonetheless, his tenure as a U.S. Congressional official is strong.

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