Kerry L. Nelson – Ward 3

Age: 53

Family: Father, Grandfather and a Family of 8 Siblings

Occupation: Retired Banker

Why do you feel you are a good fit for Flint City Council?

I have been a Flint resident all my life and I have lived in the 3rd Ward for approximately 40 years. I can remember when Flint was a vibrant, safe and prosperous place to live and raise children. However, today Flint is faced with serious problems and critical issues that have impeded upon our stability and quality of life. I believe that my demonstrated passion, personal and political experience and my proven willingness to be a part of finding the solutions makes me a good fit to continue to serve as the 3rd Ward City Councilman. In addition, my people skills and ability to motivate and bring people together and to reach across party and racial lines to work on common grounds to resolve problems are critical to effective leadership as a City Council Person. I have served as a past and current 3rd Ward City Councilman and Council President and the experience and knowledge that I have relative to City and Municipal government and its inter operations have prepared me to serve and lead as a Councilman. I strongly believe in Flint and I know without a doubt that Flint has the bounce back ability. And because of my hope in Flint’s recovery makes me a good fit to continue to serve as a City Councilman.

What are the top five issues you want to focus on as a City Council member?

My top five focus is 1. Public Safety, 2. Fiscal Sustainability, Economic and Community Development, Neighborhood Revitalization Sustainability. 3. Reduction in Water rates, Service Fees and Property Taxes. 4. Quality & Safe Water. 5. Job Development.

How would you help the city navigate through the water crisis?

I feel that it’s imperative to put a system in place that will enforce accountability, transparency and make sure that all designated money is used as intended. Also, I feel that the community who is most effective by the Water Crisis should have a voice in the Water Crisis solutions.

What would your water source recommendation be?

My Water source recommendation is KWA. I don’t believe that Flint should enter into a 30-year contract with anyone. To do so would work against the best interest of the people.

How satisfied are you with Flint’s current administration?

I am not satisfied with the current administration. Because I feel that the current administration has not been fully transparent. And has demonstrated in many ways not to have the best interest of ALL people at heart.

Millions of dollars have been poured into the development of downtown Flint. How would you develop other areas of the city and what areas do you think need more focus?

I am an advocate for having a vibrant downtown for residents and our young people and seniors. A vibrant downtown and quality schools attract new residents. I also believe that it is important to rebuild neighborhoods, through initiating neighborhood revitalization programs. By doing so would bring community pride and community dignity. I feel that safe, vibrant and healthy neighborhoods aids in community unity, togetherness and can serve as a catalyst to help combat crime. Therefore, I would work closely with all levels of government, foundations and other agency to secure needed funding to start the revitalization process. I believe all sides of Flint has suffered with decaying neighborhoods, and one side of town is not better than the next. I feel the hardest hit neighborhoods should be the starting point, with the understanding that all decaying neighborhoods will go through revitalization. For example, the 3rd Ward, the 4th and 5th Ward have down through the years suffered much devastation. And to help make the revitalization efforts successful, I would put together an advisory group comprised of residents, agencies, funding representatives and elected officials from the federal, state and local government and the building trade and etc.

A complaint from some millennials is the lack of opportunity in Flint. How would you tackle that issue in hopes of keeping young people in Flint?

I would work with the education system to provide our young people with the needed training that will open the door of employment for young people. I feel it imperative to work with employers who can match jobs to the young people’s abilities, skills, and experiences. I would set a platform by which young people’s voices can be heard and respected. I also would incorporate programs that would aid young people in mapping out their destiny. Not only am I concerned about young people staying in Flint, l am as equally concerned about young people who have left Flint to go to college, that they have opportunities that will inspire them to return to Flint. Therefore, I would focus on working with companies that will be willing to provide our young people with professional opportunities once they finish college so they can return back home to Flint.

What is your opinion about blight in Flint and how would you tackle it?

I don’t feel that there is any justification for the City of Flint and its neighborhoods to be subjected to blight. Therefore I will do what I am doing now and that is advocating for more funds to combat blight. And I strongly feel that there should be costly citation fines given to those who are causing the blight.

How would you build better communication with the administration in hopes of unifying the two bodies to work for the betterment of the Flint community?

I will continue doing what I have always done as a current Councilperson, and that is making myself available, keep an open mind, being willing to work as a team player for what’s right for the best interest of the people. Remain respectful, professional and transparent. Agree to respectfully disagree and not allow personal differences to get in the way of my good judgment and doing what’s best for the people and the community. I will also continue to make the necessary reasonable compromises needed to better the quality of services to the community.

What are the top three top goals that you hope to accomplish as a City Council member

1. Help to secure a balanced budget. 2. Improve the quality of public service. 3. Work to Restore TRUST, and DIGNITY and RESHAPE the image of Flint.

If there was one thing you could tell all Flint residents what would it be?

Don’t give up on Flint. Hold on to your FAITH and TRUST that Flint will be RESTORED.

Andrew Roth is a reporter and photographer covering politics and policy in Michigan, as well technology, culture and their convergence. Andrew is a journalism student at Michigan State University and first...