Progressive DA Candidate: Eli Savit, Washtenaw County, Michigan

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If you’ve voted before, you won’t be surprised to see a number of slates empty or with only one candidate running for sheriff, public attorney, or judicial roles, which has helped fuel our mass incarceration problem. Fortunately, strong progressive candidates are running to serve in these roles this fall. The Progressive Candidate Series focuses on progressive district attorneys, judges, and sheriffs. This November, the majority of states will hold elections for candidates to fill these offices. For an interactive list of law enforcement and judges up for election this year, see the following:

Together, we can lead. Together, we can make sure that our prosecutor’s office focuses on justice for all.”

Eli Savit

An Ann Arbor native, Eli Savit’s career has been one of public service. Savit began his career as a public school teacher, later enrolling in law school. Savit dedicated much of his private practice time to pro bono work on behalf of people who are disabled, asylum seekers, and victims of violence. After serving as a clerk to Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sandra Day O’Connor, he turned down offers from private law firms and returned to public service as senior counsel to the City of Detroit. In this position, Savit took on the pharmaceutical companies and their responsibility for the opioid crisis. He led Detroit’s legal fight to establish a child’s constitutional right to learn to read and write. He’s held the powerful and rich accountable: suing banks, slumlords, and corporations who have harmed Detroit residents. 

As a practicing civil rights and environmental lawyer, Savit has successfully partnered with groups focused on these causes. His work resulted in the Michigan Civil Rights Commission recognizing LGBTQ persons as protected by existing prohibitions on sex discrimination. He assisted New Jersey, Maryland, and Puerto Rico in lawsuits to hold corporate polluters responsible for contaminating state waters with toxic chemicals.

Savit won a three-way primary in August and advances to November unopposed. As DA, Slavit promises to reform cash bail and to create and promote courts created for populations like veterans, people with mental illness, and people with addictions. Michigan currently spends one fifth its annual budget on incarceration, and through reform, Slavit expects his policies will save taxpayer money and create a safer, more just Washtenaw County for all its residents.

For more on the incredible power state attorneys can have in reforming our justice system, see “Prosecutors in the United States” from Wesley Bell.

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