By: Jeremy Allen,
Executive Editor for the Michigan Chronicle

Detroit businessman and famed “CSI: NY” and “The Good Doctor” actor Hill Harper is expected to announce his bid for the Michigan U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated by retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow after the November 2024 statewide elections.

Harper told the Michigan Chronicle that he is planning a private launch event for the campaign on Tuesday, July 11.

“I’ve had the chance the last couple of months to speak to people all over the state and I’ve really been attempting to understand what it is that Michiganders really want out of their next U.S. Senator and if I can provide that,” Harper said. “We’re excited about this campaign because we feel like we can. We can have a campaign that’s powered by the people.”

Stabenow announced on Jan. 5, 2023, that she would not seek re-election at the end of her existing term, and that when her term comes to an end on Jan. 3, 2025, she’ll “pass the torch” and let the next generation of leaders continue to break barriers and in the fight of democracy.

Harper, who has been a Detroit resident since 2016, has been aggressively meeting with leaders in big and small cities around the state, including Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, and Saginaw, and recently served as the keynote speaker at the Michigan Chronicle’s Men of Excellence banquet, where he hinted at his campaign and spoke about his desire to be a strong voice for Michigan’s democracy.

“I’ve always wanted to have impact and legacy in a real powerful way, and I felt like I could do that first as an actor. If you’re an artist you have to be political, but you don’t have to necessarily hold office to be political. You can be an activist, which is what I’ve been,” Harper said.

“But we need independent voices who are willing to stand up to lobbyist, stand up to big-dollar donors, and stand up to special interests and say, ‘we’re going to make a change.’ “When you look at how little trust is in our democracy and when you look at working families, who’s actually advocating for them? So that’s the question I’m asking. I believe good people have to run for office and so many good people aren’t.”

In addition to Harper’s film and television career, he has written several bestselling books and is a public speaker and philanthropist, too. He is a graduate of Brown University who first became friends with President Barack Obama while they were students at Harvard Law School, and he was appointed to the President’s Cancer Panel by Obama in 2012.

Tomorrow’s event is the first of three launch events around the state for Harper, who said other events will happen in Mid-Michigan and in West Michigan.

“Without question, the most challenging part of my campaign will be convincing people to be able to reclaim their power and reclaim their vote. The largest voting constituency in Michigan is the one I have to appeal to, and those are people who don’t vote,” Harper said.

“We have to be able to bring those people back. They’ve lost trust in the system. They elected these career politicians over and over, they see nothing materially changing in their individual lives, and (they figure) why should they trust me, the guy who’s not a politician who says I’m not going to be like that and I’m actually going to fight for you? Are they going to believe it? So, I have to cover this state – all 83 counties – and speak to everybody across this state, whether it’s a farmer in Remus or a single mother at the corner of Mack and Drexel. I think fundamentally we all want the same thing.”

This was originally published by the Michigan Chronicle.