I know the pain of Detroiters. I know what it's like to live next door to an abandoned home. I know the frustration of slow response times for police, fire and EMS. I know about driving and walking on darkened streets. I know that Detroit's children -- our city's future -- have an unsafe walk to school.
I have walked a lifetime in the shoes of Detroiters.
Detroit is not my hobby. It's my home. I wake up focused on our Detroit.
On December 10, I announced the creation of an exploratory committee for a possible campaign for mayor of the City of Detroit. I made the announcement standing with Judge Greg Mathis, members of clergy, union leaders and elected officials at the Mathis Community Center in Detroit's northend.
Watch the video from my announcement.
Certainly, we face unprecedented challenges at a time when Detroiters believe that the leadership is scarce. Amid countless requests that I run for the city's top office, I have decided to explore this endeavor and make a decision only if and when it is clear that all sectors of Detroit supports such a venture.
I believe the next mayor has to be a leader who best understands Detroit and the systemic problems that threaten its future. In the wake of continuing public safety challenges, economic hardship, shrinking city services and continued infringement upon Detroiters' home rule authority, the time has come to take our city back.
Crime is every Detroiter's biggest concern. It is time to take our city back from the thugs. Who is better to address this than someone who's been in law enforcement for 38 years?
Detroiters are stronger than our detractors suggest. We know the reality and that drastic change is inevitable. As Detroiters, we accept the challenges we face with courage, conviction and commitment. Let's create a new Detroit.
We can make our neighborhoods safer. We can light our streets, clean up the blight and fix our roads. We can educate our babies.
In the coming year I will have determined as to whether I will lead that charge for change in Detroit as mayor, or continue to play a leading role in my current position as Wayne County Sheriff.
I want to hear from Detroiters during my Listening Tour. I'm not speaking with citizens only in Boston Edison, Indian Village and Rosedale Park. I will be meeting with residents across the city -- neighborhoods such as Alden Park, Brightmoor, Chandler Park, Corktown, Grandmont/Rosedale, Midtown, Springwells and Warrendale. If you want to host a Listening Tour gathering, go to the exploratory committee website to submit your interest. I want to see you and hear what you have to share!
As a lifelong Detroiter I embark on this journey because I love Detroit and want more for its families. Start the discussion by sharing your ideas and concerns via Twitter using the hashtag #BN4theD.
I promise you, Detroit, it will never be about me -- it will be about we. Let's begin the road to a new Detroit.
Follow Benny Napoleon on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bennynapoleon