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October 17, 2012 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2012-10-17

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8C Wednesday, October 17, 2012 // The Statement

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Eli Day: A Detroit political junkie
with a global eye

By Adrienne Roberts

Name : Eli Day
Age : 20
Hometown : Detroit, Michigan
School and year : Public Policy Senior
What was it like to grow up in
Detroit?
It was always about trying to reconcile
two realities for me. I mean the neigh-
borhood I grew up in was aggressive,
butI had a stable home life. Both parents
were there but there was trouble. My
dad was like this old hippie, he was part
of the counter-culture, this old white
guy from Ohio. Him and my mom met
at this communist meeting in the '80s.
I'm just now recognizing how tough it
was for them raising a kid in inner city
Detroit. I think it's the greatest founda-
tion you could have. To get out of it, if
you can, there's no greater start.
So, I hear you have an actual "job"
now with Congressman Hansen
Clarke.
I started off as intern the summer after
freshman year. He was a state senator
from Detroit's east side. That first sum-
mer he was running for a congressional
seat. I was fortunate enough to be the
only campaign intern at the time. We
beat a 14-year incumbent. The follow-
ing summer they offered me a full time
job.
Wow, what exactly is your job title?
When we're out in public, he refers to
me as his policy consultant. But the titles
are inconsequential because you end up
doing casework, event coordination, a
lot of consulting with him in terms of

how to frame issues and if he's making a
speech, who to tailor it to. I'm on the clock
right now.
Do you want to continue working for
him after graduation?
The tragedy is we lost our re-election.
Without saying too much, it was hard. Not
just the loss but the nature of the election.
It was a bit disenchanting for me. As much
appreciation as I have for it, it's sort of
liberating to not have to deal with politics
anymore. So I'm looking to create a space
for myself outside it. Politics is just as
nasty as you think it is.
I heard you studied abroad in Cairo,
Egypt. How did you like it?
It's the best thing that's ever happened to
me. My roots are in international policy,
but I'm committed to working here. I think
there's plenty to do in Detroit, in my city,
but I'd love to do international work. I
mean spending time in probably the most
misunderstood region in the world with
welcoming and accommodating people
really made me want to transition into that
area.
On a lighter note, where do you like to
hang out in Ann Arbor?
I really bounce around a lot. Typically, you
can find me at some random friend's house,
I like a small group of people. I'm awkward'
with large crowds.
Who isn't? Any favorite restaurants?
Any good Egyptian food in Ann Arbor?
Egyptian food is miserable, so no.

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