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Edwards: A Stronghold In The 9th District

Edwards: A Stronghold In The 9th District image
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Sun Staff Writer Voters in the 9th Legislative District- Highland Park north to West Grand Blvd-are being treated to one of the most interesting electoral campaigns in the state this month as State Rep. George Edwards (D-Detroit) begins to battle back against challenger General ' Baker of the Communist Labor i Party. Edwards, a 22-year veteran of the State House of Representattives who is considered one of the most powerful black legislators in Lansing, has ridden the Democratie Party ticket to victory after victory in the solidly Democratie 9th District, where it is widely beIieved that even the Messiah would go down to defeat against a Democratie candidate. Yet Baker and the CLP are waging an all-out traditional electoral ! campaign- the fledgling party's first ever- complete with radio spots, billboards, leaflets, bumper stickers, and the most thorough poster campaign in the city. They have caught Edwards almost unaware, and he is now in the unpleasant position of ha ving to figlit back to retain his seat in Lansing. Still, he has yet to open a campaign office in the district. According to Edwards, his campaign isn't yet in high gear because of the current legislative session. "But I'm not taking anything for granted,"he told TheSun. "lam constantly in contact with voters through the churches and direct mailings." The 9th District, a largely black workingrdass área, has a high unemployment rate.a heavy crime pattern and is a haven for pornography and prostitution. Edwards' voting record seems to reflect his sensitivity to the social problems of the district and the state- he has consistently voted in favor of labor, fair employment, medicaid, and creased tunas tor education. Con verse ly, the type of legisla - tion Edwards has introduced has consistently favored big business. For example, House Bill 5591 , which he introduced, will authorize the electronic transfer of funds, giving banks more control over consumers' money. This and similar measures have led critics to charge that Edwards is the "bedbuddy" of the large banks and insurance companies. Edwards claims that the contradiction between his voting record- which consistently follows the Democratie Party line- and the legislation he has introduced is a result of his position as chairman of the Corporation and Finance Committee. He also serves as Assistant Majority Floor Leader in the House and as chair of the Interstate Corporation Committee. One of the key issues raised by Baker is that Edwards did notliing to prevent the closing of Higliland Park General Hospital earlier this year. The loss of the hospital is considered a heavy blow to residents of the 9th District. Edwards chose not to respond to The Sun's questions concerning the hospital, claiming that the issues in the November election go far beyond the confines of the district. The most important national issue is the election of a Democrat ie president, he said, and in his district the issues are unemployment, the payment of medicaid and more funds for education. Edwards, who is married to Esther Gordy Edwards (sister of Berry Gordy Jr.) was bom February 13, 1911 in Brunswick, Georgia. He received an A.B. degree in business administration from Morehouse College in Atlanta and did gradúate work át New York University and Atlanta U before being elected to the Michigan House in 1954.