DETROIT -- Colleen McDonald, former owner of three suburban Detroit dealerships shuttered by the bankruptcy reorganizations of Chrysler Group and General Motors Co., announced Wednesday she is a candidate for the state Senate.
McDonald, 44, will run as a Republican. She was previously president of the Holiday Automotive Group, which owned Livonia Chrysler Jeep Inc., Century Dodge Inc. and Holiday Chevrolet Inc.
All three were listed for closure during the GM and Chrysler bankruptcy proceedings last year. Holiday Automotive Group reported more than $115 million in 2008 revenue companywide, and at least 170 employees.
McDonald was one of numerous auto dealers who lobbied successfully on Capitol Hill last year for federal legislation seeking arbitration for rejected GM and Chrysler dealers.
She said Wednesday that she filed a dealer appeal last month to the American Arbitration Association, contesting the closure of Livonia Chrysler Jeep and Century Dodge, and hopes to have a hearing on that matter by late March.
She said she did not appeal the GM closure of Holiday Chevrolet, and that franchise agreement lapsed before the new federal law in December enacted the appeals process. About 1,550 dealers have sought arbitration to reinstate their franchises, and those cases must be resolved by June 14.
“When I went to (Congress) to lobby for saving our dealerships, I was surprised how many people we talked to within government didn't seem to have even the most basic knowledge about running a business,” she said of her candidacy. “That's part of what inspired me to run, is seeing how much government needs a little common sense.”
McDonald in 2001 became the first woman president of the Metro Detroit Chevrolet Dealers Association, and has served on the boards of the Michigan Auto Dealers Association, Detroit Auto Dealers Association, and Southeastern Michigan Dodge Dealers Association.