Antoinette “Toni” Gray is an optimist. We suppose she got that trait tackling the housing crisis in the worst neighborhoods of Detroit: rebuilding historic homes, creating greenspace and conducting home buyer education.

Gray, an insurance agent based in Maywood, will need a bright outlook to wage an uphill battle in the 7th District of the state legislature against Emanuel “Chris” Welch as a newcomer in Proviso politics. Shoulder to shoulder, the neighboring municipalities that make up the 7th District represent a wide variety of diverse towns: businesses, industrial corridors and residents who run the socio-economic gamut. Finding common ground to get her message out will not be easy. 

Her petitions have already been challenged in court, as have the petitions of Republican challenger  Mark Salisipan, of Maywood. 

Petition challenges are political insiders’ ways of cutting off candidates before they can get a head of steam. They are usually a waste of time and serve to enrich specialized election lawyers and add a couple of thousand unnecessary dollars to a candidate’s costs, right out of the gate. 

It’s a shame because petition challenges serve to limit political choice and are almost always to the incumbent’s advantage. 

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