After winning the endorsement of their party, Shauna Ryder Diggs and Mark Bernstein are well on their way to receiving the official nomination of the Democratic Party for the University’s Board of Regents race in September.
At a party conference held at the Cobo Center in Detroit on Saturday, Democrats from across the state endorsed a host of candidates for a variety of offices. State law forbids parties from awarding nominations before their official convention in the fall, but these unofficial endorsements carry the same weight in that candidates will be the only ones to stand for nomination at the convention.
The Democrats also endorsed Southfield District Court Judge Shelia Johnson, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Connie Marie Kelley and University of Michigan Law Prof. Bridget Mary McCormack in their bids for the Michigan Supreme Court. Endorsements were also given to nominees for the Michigan State University Board of Trustees and Wayne State University Board of Governors.
Bernstein and Diggs were unopposed for their party’s endorsement because former Michigan Lt. Governor John Cherry dropped out of the race days before the nomination.
Bernstein, a University alum and president and managing partner of the Sam Bernstein Law Firm, said in an interview with The Michigan Daily that he is prepared for the general election in November.
“My intention from the beginning was to change the way my party thinks about these types of nominations,” Bernstein said. “In doing so, it was my goal to treat this position with the seriousness that I think it deserves.”
Bernstein said his main priorities, if elected to the board, would be to keep the University affordable and maintain its status as a public university.
“You can have the most exceptional product in the world, but if nobody can afford it, it’s frivolous,” Bernstein said. “On the other side, you can have the most affordable product in the world, but not worth buying, it doesn’t matter how cheap it is.”
He added that increased funding from the state of Michigan was also important for the growth of the University, saying that in the 1970s, 75 percent of the University’s academic funding came from the state. Today, he said about 25 percent of the general fund is from the state.
“While it’s essential for the University and the region to aggressively advocate for funding for public universities, we need to (be able to) realistically assume that this source of funding needs to be stable,” Bernstein said.
University alum Shauna Ryder Diggs, a Grosse Pointe dermatologist, was unavailable for comment.
In the Supreme Court endorsement, the Democratic Party press release stated that the party was dissatisfied with the current Republican-majority court and its rulings.
“Under the current Supreme Court, Michigan families have been under assault with robo-foreclosures, taxing senior pensions and allowing polluters to pollute and the taxpayers paying the cleanup bill,” the statement read. “We need a Supreme Court that will work to make our communities safe, and where middle class families can be protected.”
Law Prof. Bridget McCormack was also unavailable for comment.