Democratic candidates vying for various elected positions called for an overhaul in political leadership at an annual event in Hamburg Township.

Guests of the Livingston County Democratic Party’s 35th annual Winans Dinner packed the event ballroom at the Lakelands Golf and Country Club Friday. The theme of this year’s dinner, “Build the Blue Wave”, spoke to the political wave that some say is forming off the coast and could crash into this year’s elections, sweeping Democrats into the majority.

Gretchen Whitmer, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, was the keynote speaker of the Winans Dinner. Whitmer believes citizens are ready for a change in leadership, saying she sees "energy" and "people showing up". Whitmer says, "...people want a leader that’s listening to them and focused on solving their problems."

Also speaking at the event was Elissa Slotkin and Chris Smith, who are both Democratic candidates for the 8th Congressional District. Slotkin and Smith also voiced ideas regarding a need to better listen to and serve constituents. Smith says he was convinced to run after noticing a difference between the words and actions of the district’s current congressman. Slotkin says, "You don’t get to ignore your constituents, vote against their interests and keep your job.”

Whitmer, who is the former Senate Democratic leader and is one of four announced Democrats seeking the gubernatorial nomination, says she wants to make Michigan a state people come to for opportunity. If elected, she says she plans to focus on fixing roads, holding schools to a higher standard and ensuring everyone has clean drinking water. (DK)