Flint, MI– The newly elected Flint City Council members made history as they took the oath of office.
For the first time ever, Flint’s council has a female majority with six of the nine seats belonging to women. During the swearing in ceremony at City Hall on Nov. 8, speakers drew attention to this fact a few times.
“Ladies, our young women will be looking upon you as role models,” said Cleora Magee, the past Chairperson of the 2017 Flint Charter Revision Commission. “And you have this great opportunity to demonstrate how ethical services to the community is rendered.”
The newly-elected Seventh ward councilwoman, Allie Herkenroder, said in her remarks that the presence of so many women marked “a new perspective,” on the council.
“Today marks the first time in Flint’s history where a majority of the seats will be represented by women. That is the kind of new perspective we need,” she said. “Out of the nine wards, six of us are newcomers. That is the kind of new perspective we need.”
The council election on Nov. 2 brought a big change to the group. Only three members were re-elected, and six newcomers joined the council. First ward Councilman Eric Mays, Fifth ward Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter, and Ninth ward Councilwoman Eva Worthing have retained their seats.
Worthing said she was proud to be on a council with six women.
“At 41 years old, it shouldn’t have taken this long, but I’m very glad it happened,” she said. “And we’ll be gentle on you gentleman, and I hope that we work together.”
Working together and respecting one another was another common theme in the new council’s remarks.
Third ward councilman Quincy Murphy said he didn’t want there to be “this side,” and “that side,” but just “us.”
Fourth ward councilwoman Judy Priestley said she didn’t want there to be any animosity between the council members, and hoped they could all work together and be civil.
Sixth ward councilwoman Tonya Burns said she promised to “keep it classy.”
Congressman Dan Kildee spoke at the ceremony and told the council that arguments aren’t always a bad thing.
“Our differences…our arguments are what democracy looks like,” he said. “If everybody agrees, you probably don’t have a democracy.”
Kildee said that it’s OK to have differences, but the important thing is to treat each other well and be good to one another– an example he said was set by his late uncle, Dale Kildee.
“The challenges are hard enough without adding to them with anger, with animus, with all the negativity that is too pervasive already,” Kildee said. “Let’s not let it minimize the argument, but let’s try. Let’s do our best to live up to that example that he set.”
The council will hold their first meeting this evening at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 8. Their meeting tonight will be the first in-person council meeting at city hall since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...
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