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Detroit Mayor Dennis W. Archer Decides Not to Seek Reelection

By Larry Jones
April 30, 2001


In a move that surprised many of his supporters, Conference Trustee Detroit Mayor Dennis W. Archer announced April 17 that he would not seek a third term as mayor. "I have decided it's time for me to pass the baton to the next person," he said and further commented that "I love this city. I love our citizens, and I really enjoyed the opportunity and experience of being mayor. But I also realize that I have no life." Mayor Archer attributed his decision to a desire to spend more time with his family.

Elected in 1993, the former Michigan Supreme Court Justice won his first mayoral election after campaigning on the vision of revitalizing Detroit which had suffered from urban blight for some time following the riots of the late 1960s. After taking office, Mayor Archer had enormous success attracting new businesses and redeveloping the downtown area. He persuaded the Ilitch family, owner of Little Caesar Enterprise, to build a new stadium in the downtown area for the Detroit Tigers; he successfully convinced the Ford family to build a second new stadium next door for the Detroit Lions; he paved the way for three casinos which are generating approximately $1 million a day in business; Compuware has agreed to move its corporate headquarters downtown; and four years ago, General Motors decided to move its headquarters downtown after considering a move to the suburbs.

In his second campaign for mayor, Mayor Archer defeated his opponent by receiving more than 83 percent of the vote. During his second term, the city continues to experience significant progress— crime is down, unemployment is down, and property values have increased considerably. Commenting on the mayor's performance, Comerica Bank chief economist David Littmann said "The signs are there that a Detroit renaissance now can occur, whereas in 1993 no such renaissance was evident."

Although Detroit lost 76,704 people during the last census count, it remains the nation's 10th largest city with a population of 951,270. But Mayor Archer reminded everyone on the day the new Census 2000 numbers were released that the decline in population will not affect the city's progress. He explained, for example, that the decline won't stop the Super Bowl from coming in 2006, or the construction of Compuware's new $550 million headquarters downtown, and other development that's expected to create 2,000 new homes a year. "The city is alive and well, kicking and growing. The city of Detroit remains a place to come in and invest," he said.

During his time in office, Mayor Archer has provided leadership in a number of national organizations. He currently serves as president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and president of the National League of Cities. He has also held top posts in the Democratic National Committee. According to an article in the Economist Magazine, Mayor Archer is seeking a job in the private sector and has expressed an interest in becoming president of the American Bar Association.