Asked and answered

We issued the invites and they responded. Detroit’s incumbent mayor and the three leading challengers all came in. We prodded and probed. They responded with candor and slippery answers, with ease and icy stares, with bold visions and vague outlines.

The purpose of these interviews with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Councilwoman Sharon McPhail, state Sen. Hansen Clarke and former Deputy Mayor Freman Hendrix was twofold. We wanted an in-depth discussion with each to help us determine which one — if any — deserved our endorsement.

The second objective was to help our readers determine who deserved their vote by printing a significant portion of the extensive interviews covering what we considered to be the leading issues in the most important mayoral election in recent memory. Teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, Detroit is at a crucial juncture. The Aug. 2 primary will narrow the field to the two candidates who will face each other in the November runoff.

We talked about the budget and the structural faults that have brought us to the brink of receivership. We asked about development and regional relations, crime and public education. And we asked about character.

You can judge the answers for yourself.

In the interest of transparency, we think it’s important to point out that these Q & As are heavily edited from interviews that lasted two hours or more. Meandering conversations have been streamlined, rambling questions made more concise, windy answers abbreviated.

The interviews and audio excerpts:

Hansen Clarke

Freman Hendrix

Kwame Kilpatrick

Sharon McPhail

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