One of the strongest features in our local government is the Detroit City Council. Because of the crucial role that this legislative body has played in the past and continues to do, sometimes in the face of heavy criticism, it still has an important function to make government work for all of us.
Because this is the first time in 100 years that Detroiters will be represented by districts, making government accountability the hallmark of this system of legislative government, it is important that those who would be elected are armed with the skills and knowledge to address the challenges the city faces.
And those challenges are even greater now in the era of an emergency manager and state of bankruptcy. But we believe that Detroit will move beyond this seemingly financial cataclysmic state and a new city council would be needed to not only maintain the order of business, but get our local government on its wheels.
After carefully looking at the backgrounds and experiences of all of the candidates, we believe that the following meet the test of leadership and are most capable of serving Detroit. These individuals should be given the opportunity by every Detroit voter on Nov. 5.
District 1. James Tate: He has served on the Detroit City Council showing steady leadership and at times has been in the crosshairs of other members but maintains a posture needed of our political leaders even in the face of adversity. Tate needs to return to the council to continue to serve Detroit and especially District 1.
District 2. George Cushingberry: At a time when Detroit needs new blood in our local government, Cushingberry can offer that to the City Council. A veteran legislator, his experience in Lansing would bring a much needed perspective to the City Council. Diverse voices make for an effective local government and he will bring just that.
District 3. Scott Benson: His small business background and involvement in all things Midtown is another perspective to the legislative process of Detroit. Benson’s experience is an added advantage at a time when small businesses have been complaining about red tape in Detroit government. Time to end the bureaucracy and it can start with Benson and his colleagues on the council.
District 4. Andre L. Spivey: Spivey has been a strong and steady voice on the Detroit City Council for the last four years, navigating through its most challenging times. His first election inspired hope in a renewed sense of leadership from a rising generation of political leadership who can begin to direct the order of business in Detroit. Because of that and to maintain continuity, Spivey should be returned to the council because he has demonstrated clarity, precision, calm and steady leadership.
District 5. Adam Hollier: With Detroit changing comes with the need to change the outlook of our local government. Sending Hollier to the City Council for the first time will make a strong statement about the significance and positive results of grassroots politics and the importance of positioning emerging leaders who are demonstrating an insatiable appetite for public service.
District 6. Raquel Castaneda Lopez: Unlike other candidates in this race for City Council, Lopez is a longtime community organizer in Southwest Detroit. She has long been an observer, advocate and leader in ensuring an effective local government that works for all of Detroit. She stands to be the first Hispanic member of the Detroit City Council, a feat that is commendable and that kind of diversity is needed. That is why Detroit needs her on that body to speak for everyone, especially those who feel their voices are not being heard.
District at Large. Saunteel Jenkins: As president of the Detroit City Council, Jenkins has an important role to play now and in the future. Her tenure in the last four years has prepared her to provide critical leadership of this legislative body. A successful council is one that consists of experienced as well as new voices and Jenkins’ experience and passion for public service are invaluable assets for where Detroit goes next in both post-emergency manager and post-bankruptcy times.
District at Large. Brenda Jones: Labor has always been an integral part of Detroit’s growth and where it is headed. Jones has been a constant voice for that important segment, ensuring workplace fairness and equitable job wages. She needs to return to the City Council at a time when the legislative body will be dealing with a lot of labor issues now and in the immediate future. She knows how to fight for the working class.