As of the Nov. 3 election, openly gay incumbent Democrat David Coulter has been elected to a four-year term as Oakland County Executive, the county’s top official. He is the first openly gay Democrat to hold the role, and he won against his opponent Republican Mike Kowall in two races: one for a four-year term, at a margin of 54.7% to 43.5%; and one to finish the term ending on Dec. 31 of 2020, at a margin of 55.8% to 44%.
Although he was already in the role, Coulter had been appointed to finish the term of the late L. Brook Patterson, a Republican who had held the seat since 1992 and died in August 2019. Coulter was also Ferndale’s mayor for nine years and a county commissioner before earning this seat. In an interview with Between The Lines, Coulter said he would prioritize equality and inclusion and combatting the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Number one, we adopted the county’s first-ever comprehensive nondiscrimination policy that covered not only our workforce, our contracting and vendors and all the ways we work as a county,” Coulter said. “That had never happened, and it was long overdue. So getting that in place, I felt set the right tone for what we were trying to do, which is to make sure that we operate Oakland County in a fair and equitable manner.
“Like the governor, [we] leaned into the science of it and really worked closely with public health officials to make sure that we were doing everything we could to contain the virus and protect our residents,” Coulter continued. “Honestly, for me, that wasn’t a hard decision to make, but we’ve all certainly seen parts of the state and country that did not take that perspective, and, I think, to their detriment.”