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Craig Covey

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Craig Covey
Mayor of Ferndale, Michigan
In office
January 2008 – January 2011
Preceded byRobert Porter
Succeeded byDavid Coulter
Personal details
BornColumbus, Ohio
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceFerndale, Michigan
Alma materOhio State University[1]

Craig Covey (born 1957) is an American politician who served as Mayor of Ferndale, Michigan from 2008 to 2011. He was the second openly gay mayor elected in the state of Michigan.[2] A Democrat, he resigned the office in 2010 to take a seat on the Oakland County Commission, where he served one term.


Born in Columbus, Ohio, Covey was an activist, and executive director of Stonewall Union (now Stonewall Columbus) in the 1980s. He lived in Michigan since moving to the state to become executive director of the Michigan Organization for Human Rights in 1985[3] and lived in Ferndale from 1989[4] until 2017.[5]

Gay activism[edit]

Covey moved to Michigan from Ohio to head the Michigan Organization for Human Rights (now Equality Michigan) in 1985.[6] He is credited with organizing Detroit's first Gay and Lesbian pride march, an event later known as Motor City Pride.[7] He founded the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project.[8] In 2001, he founded La Comunidad, a support group for gay Latino men in the metro Detroit area.[9]

Covey was also CEO of the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project and Chief Operating Officer of the Michigan AIDS Coalition, the organization resulting from the merging of MAPP and the Michigan AIDS Fund in 2009.[10] He left the Michigan AIDS Coalition the following year.[11] He co-founded Ferndale Pride in 2011 when Motor City Pride moved from Ferndale to Detroit.[12]

Political career[edit]

Covey lost his first race for Ferndale City Council in 1995 by a wide margin, but was elected on his second try and served from 1999 to 2008. He was Ferndale's first gay city councilor.[13] As a city council member, Covey introduced Ferndale's human rights ordinance in 2006, which was approved by voters in November of that year.[14][6]

Ferndale's first gay mayor, he was elected on November 6, 2007 for a two-year term, succeeding three-term mayor Robert Porter, by defeating Tom Gagne 54% - 46%.[8] He was re-elected unopposed in November 2009. In 2010, he ran for the Oakland County Commission, winning a three-way Democratic primary on August 3, 2010 and besting a Republican in the November general election.[4] It would prove to be his last electoral victory.

After Republican redistricting, Covey faced fellow Democratic incumbent Commissioner Helaine Zack (D-Huntington Woods) in a primary election, which he lost on August 7, 2012 by 54% to 46%.[15] In early 2013, he began working as a special assistant to Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash.[16]

He ran again for mayor of Ferndale, Michigan on November 5, 2013, challenging incumbent David Coulter, but was defeated.[17] Covey unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard in 2016.[18] In 2020 he ran for Stark County (Ohio) Treasurer, but lost.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hoover, Shane (October 2, 2020). "Election preview: Zumbar faces challenger Covey in Stark County treasurer's race". The Repository. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Screenwriter who won Oscar for 'Milk' may speak to Hope College students about filmmaking, but not gay rights". The Grand Rapids Press. October 30, 2009.
  3. ^ "41 years of Pride". Out Post: 5. June 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Ferndale mayor looks ahead to County Commission race". The Daily Tribune. August 4, 2010. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  5. ^ Hammond, Rebecca (October 15, 2017). "Craig Covey : Farewell to Our Friend, Advocate * Servant | Ferndale Friends". Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Wendy Case (May 30, 2007). "Affirming Ferndale". Metro Times. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  7. ^ Proxmire, Crystal (17 May 2012). "Motor City Pride: Educate, liberate & celebrate June 2–3". Between the Lines. ProQuest 1018440556.
  8. ^ a b Jun, Catherine (7 November 2007). "Ferndale elects first gay mayor". Detroit News. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  9. ^ Ann Mullen (April 4, 2001). "Breaking barriers". Metro Times. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  10. ^ Sherri Begin Welch (July 28, 2009). "Helen Kozlowski-Hicks named CEO of Michigan AIDS Coalition". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2017-01-03.
  11. ^ Jessica Carreras (August 26, 2010). "Covey to leave Michigan AIDS Coalition". Between the Lines. Archived from the original on 2020-09-29. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  12. ^ Emell Derra Adolphus (May 24, 2011). "Covey, Volunteers Keep Gay Pride Alive in Ferndale with Festival". Ferndale Patch. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  13. ^ Robertson, Tatsha (15 January 2003). "Finding Hope in Gay Enclaves Detroit and Suburbs Say Such Neighborhoods can Rejuvenate the City". Boston Globe. ProQuest 405493376.
  14. ^ Michael P. McConnell (October 1, 2006). "Gay rights ordinance battle begins in Ferndale, Opposing sides organizing for November showdown". Daily Tribune. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  15. ^ Michael P. McConnell (August 9, 2012). "Ferndale's Covey looks beyond election defeat". Daily Tribune. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  16. ^ Jessica Schrader (January 26, 2013). "Craig Covey Back to Work for Oakland County". Ferndale Patch. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  17. ^ Michael P. McConnell (November 6, 2013). "Coulter re-elected as Ferndale mayor; marijuana ballot proposal approved". Oakland County Press. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  18. ^ John Wisely (November 9, 2016). "Oakland County incumbents win new terms". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2018-01-07.

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