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Former Dow Chemical exec joins GOP race for 8th Congressional District


Former Dow Chemical exec joins GOP race for 8th Congressional District

Apr 03, 2024 | 2:20 pm ET
By Jon King
Former Dow Chemical exec joins GOP race for 8th Congressional District
Mary Draves | Courtesy photo

Another Republican candidate has joined the race to try and replace U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint), who announced last year he would not seek reelection to his mid-Michigan district.

Mary Draves, 55, a former executive with Midland-based Dow Chemical Co., announced Wednesday she was seeking the GOP nomination for the 8th Congressional District, which includes Genesee, Saginaw and Bay counties, as well as a portion of Midland County and includes the cities of Bay City, Flint, Midland and Saginaw.

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“I grew up knowing the value of hard work, as a child on my grandparents farm and through my life working for my family’s business,” said Draves in a statement. “Today’s politicians in Washington haven’t put in a hard day’s work in years, embracing policies that raise prices, open up our communities to violent crime, and dictate how we live. It is time to take a sledgehammer to this dysfunction and lack of fiscal responsibility. I will bring the fighting voice that our families deserve and need so our children have a safer and better future than they do today.”

Draves joins a Republican race which already features State Board of Education member Nikki Snyder; Paul Junge, who lost to Kildee in the 2022 election; and trucking company owner Anthony Hudson.

Democrats running for the seat are state Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City), State Board of Education President Pamela Pugh, Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley, former Flint Mayor and Obama administration appointee Matt Collier and Michigan Association of Conservation Districts Executive Director Daniel Moilanen.

According to Draves’ campaign website, she was born and raised in Midland County, attended Midland Public Schools and graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in technological processes. Draves began her career at Dow while still in college, rising to chief sustainability officer and vice president of environment, health and safety before retiring in 2022 after 32 years with the company.

She sits on the board of the Saginaw Valley State University Foundation and started a business consulting business. In 2021, Draves was also named to serve a one-year term on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Council on Climate Solutions

Republicans hold a narrow advantage in the U.S. House. The 8th District is considered to be among the most competitive in the country this year, with the Cook Political Report moving it from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss Up” after Kildee, 65, announced in November he was leaving Congress at the end of his current term following a cancer diagnosis that caused him to reassess his career plans. 

To underscore that, on Tuesday, McDonald Rivet announced she had raised more than $825,000 last quarter, which her campaign said was the highest amount ever raised by a non-incumbent U.S. House candidate in their first fundraising quarter. MLive.com reported that included in that amount was $14,000 from Kildee’s candidate committee and Leadership PAC, the maximum allowed by law.