Wantwaz Davis – Ward 5

Age: 43

Family: Wife

Education: College and communication

Occupation: I own my own janitorial company and I am a City Councilman.

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

I feel that I am a good fit because I understand the issues and the struggles that underprivileged people go through from all different ethnic backgrounds. I understand struggle, and I understand when you are placed in a situation where you become voiceless. But most importantly, I have a sound understanding of how local government can address many of the crippling issues that most of the voiceless and the hopeless people are struggling and going through and I know how to address those issues.

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

Quality affordable water, the health and the well-being of my constituents and the residents of the City of Flint, jobs, crime, and education.

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

By trying to build a strong economic and development plan at the same time as we are trying to fix the issues that we have been ailed with. Building a strong economic and development plan with the intention of getting young men and women off the streets and getting them involved in the workforce, because there’s an old saying that President Obama said some years ago: that whenever there’s a city or a township going through a struggle, or a difficult time, or a crisis there must be an economic and development plan created at the same time or else we fail the people.

What would your water source recommendation be?

I don’t know yet. My thing is if the Great Lakes is trying to tell us that they will pay seven million dollars out of the twelve million dollars that we have to pay them, and they will pay seven million dollars to the Karegnondi pipeline for the next 25 to 28 years, then they’re telling me that our water deal should’ve been low many years ago, that we never really had to pay those high water rates. So I don’t know. I don’t know at this particular time. My recommendation would be whatever is beneficial and affordable for the residents in the city of Flint, MI. That would be my best decision; whichever one would have the better and the most effective way of making our water affordable and quality. Whichever one would be affordable, reasonable, and quality; all three of them must meet my recommendation before I make a decision.

How satisfied are you with Flint’s current administration?

I’m not satisfied with it. I’m not satisfied.

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?

The east side and the north side of Flint need the most focus. The east side is poverty-stricken, multiracial ethnic group of people who are poverty-stricken, and the north end of Flint is a product of the impoverished time that we are living right now. Because we are considered the second poorest city in the nation, and most of the poverty is stemming from the east side and the north side of Flint. I will focus on the north side and east side of Flint and bring them some development and creation of manufacturing jobs and focus on education, on trying to reopen some of the public schools that have been closed in partnership with the board of education.

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?

By bringing in programs that the energy that they have can be triggered in a positive manner, such as after-school programs, tutoring programs, activity programs, recreation programs, summer jobs. We’re basically taking the principles from the 70’s and the 80’s and applying them in 2017 when it only deals with the growth and the development of our children. The same principles that were used in the 70’s and in the 80’s when we had after-school programs, we had things that we can do that we can have our positive energy triggered and used in the best, most productive manner where children don’t have an alternative of negative behavior or negative activity. I will remove all of the negative alternatives and implement positive alternatives that children can have instead of just lying aimlessly and idle, because that is the devil’s workshop when you’re aimless and you’re idle and you don’t have anything to do. Children these days don’t have anything to do; in my day, we had a lot to do. We had paper routes, we had summer jobs, we had after-school programs, we had tutoring programs, we went on field trips, we went on camping trips, those are the things that I will try to implement. Utilizing the old principles that were successful in the 70’s and the 80’s.

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

I would create summer jobs and after-school jobs so children can have part-time jobs after school and full-time summer jobs for children to clean up blighted community.

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?

By getting rid of the current administration that seems to always think about themselves more than thinking about the people that elected them and put them in office.

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

Jobs, quality and affordable water, and better education in public schools.

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

That I will always be transparent, accountable, and responsible at all times and will never ever take it for granted that they’ve vested trust in me. And knowing that I will always be, to the very best of my ability, the voice and the advocate to addressing all of their demanding issues and crippling problems that has caused this community to become the second poorest city in the nation in hopes of trying to the very best of my ability to build a strong, viable, economic and development plan that is jobs afforded to anybody that desires some form of employment. I believe that is the catalyst in improving public safety and poverty so that crime can eventually become minimized and controlled through a strong economic and development plan which is the creation of jobs that are afforded to any and everyone who desires some form of employment. That is what I want people to understand. That is my goal as a councilperson.

Andrew Roth

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...