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Flint, MI– The Flint City Council as we know it is about to change—a lot.
The general election on Nov. 2 has resulted in six newcomers joining the council, and only three incumbents remaining.
First ward Councilman Eric Mays, Fifth ward Councilwoman Jerri Winfrey-Carter, and Ninth ward Councilwoman Eva Worthing have retained their seats. But all the other wards will have new representation for the next five years.
The incumbent for the second ward, Maurice Davis, was knocked off the ballot in the primary election. After the general election results, Ladel Lewis is the new councilperson for the second ward.
Lewis won with 433 votes, or 54.4% of the total. Her opponent, Audrey Young, received 363 votes, which was 45.60% of the total. Of the registered voters in this ward, 10.01% voted in the election.
Lewis was born and raised in the second ward. She graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint, and then left for college at Western Michigan University where she earned her Ph.D in Sociology. She came back to Flint in 2019, and is part of the Sarvis Park Neighborhood Association.
“It feels good. The second ward has spoken, and so now I’m willing to work in tandem with everyone to make the second ward an exemplar ward,” Lewis said. “I want to make this a place where people are moving to and coming to instead of moving away from…it is my goal to change the narrative of the north side.”
Lewis said as a regular citizen she was able to do a lot to build hope in her ward, but now as a councilperson, she’ll have access to more resources to do even more.
In the third ward, Santino Guerra decided not to run for re-election. He endorsed candidate Quincy Murphy who took the lead in the third ward with 306 votes, making up 57.74% of the total. His opponent, A.C. Dumas received 224 votes, for 42.26% of the total votes. Of the registered voters in this ward, 7.58% voted.
Murphy has lived in the third ward for 47 years. He serves on the MTA Board, the Land Bank Advisory Board, the Charter Review Commission, and works for Lear Corporation. He said he participates in many various cleanups, from mowing and maintaining the old Jefferson School, to cleaning up Dewey Park, and being a part of the Genesee County Land Bank’s Clean and Green program.
“I’m excited about being able to join council,” Murphy said. “I’m excited that the residents are going to have somebody that they can depend on, trust, be able to call, work with, roll up our sleeves, hit the ground running.”
Kate Fields, the incumbent in the fourth ward and the council president, did not retain her council seat. Fields received 205 votes, which was 44.66% of the total. Her opponent, Judy Priestley, won with 254 votes and 55.34% of the total. Of the registered fourth ward voters, only 6.09% of them voted.
Priestley was born in the fourth ward and has been a resident in the same home for more than 30 years. She has her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Lake Superior State University, and is currently employed by Intuit.
Priestley said she was shocked, and considered this an honor.
“I hope I can live up to the responsibility that the voters of the ward entrusted to me, and I hope I can help make the fourth ward a better place to live,” Priestley said.
The incumbent in the sixth ward, Herbert Winfrey, did not run for re-election. The new sixth ward councilperson is Tonya Burns, who won with 55.37% of the vote.
Burns received 428 votes, while her opponent, Claudia Perkins, received 345. This ward had 10.10% of registered voters cast ballots.
Burns was born and raised in Flint. She’s a business owner, a mother of three, and has run for various political offices in the past. Her campaign slogan was “Crime and blight burns me up.”
Burns said she’s excited to get to work with the other new council members and get things done, but also that she wants to work with the residents.
“I want to listen to everyone’s concerns. Within the first 30 days, I want to hold a Sixth Ward, town hall meeting…I want to hear how people are feeling and what concerns they have,” she said. “But then the first 100 days, we’re gonna go to work on what the issues are that people are concerned about.”
Seventh ward incumbent Monica Galloway, who had been on the council since 2013, has also lost her seat.
Allie Herkenroder is the new seventh ward councilperson. She received 745 votes, for 52.61% of the total. Galloway received 47.39% of the total with 671 votes. This ward had the highest voter turnout with 15.33%.
Herkenroder grew up in Elkhart, Indiana, but moved to Flint in 2012 after graduating from college, where she earned her degree in history and political science. She completed internships with the Department of Education in Washington D.C., joined AmeriCorps in 2017, and has worked with Flint Community Schools.
In the eighth ward, incumbent Allan Griggs lost his seat, too.
Griggs, who has served on the council for four years, received 377 votes, which was 45.59% of the total votes. Dennis Pfeiffer has taken the eighth ward seat with 450 votes, which was 54.41% of the total. Of all the registered voters in the eighth ward, 8.62% of them voted in this election.
Pfeiffer was born and raised in Flint and works as a project development director for a manufacturing company. He said there’s a lot to look forward to with the results of this election.
“This city is in disrepair from top to bottom, so we’re looking forward to changing that,” he said. “We’re looking forward to allocating this $97 million to where it should be. There’s a lot to look forward to, and since we’ve been in decline for so long, we can’t go down any further. So we’re excited to go up.”
In the first and ninth wards, the incumbents were the only names on the ballot.
Mays received 631 votes, with 8.93% of registered voters in the first ward voting. There were 121 “undervotes,” in his ward, which are for write-in candidates.
Worthing received 283 votes, with the lowest voter turnout of all wards with 5.36% of registered voters in the ninth ward casting ballots. There were 174 undervotes in her ward.
Winfrey-Carter, who was elected to the council in 2017, retained her seat with 325 votes, which was 60.07% of the total votes.
She had one opponent, Joseph Schipani, who received 216 votes, which was 39.93% of the total. Of all the registered voters in the fifth ward, 6.79% of them voted in this election.