Kalamazoo County’s majority-Democratic Commission will again be led by a Democrat. On Tuesday, the 11-member Board elected Stephanie Moore as its chair. Moore is the first African-American to lead the Commission.
Moore won with six votes, all of them Republican except for her own. The Republicans were returning a favor, after Moore sided with them last year to elect Republican Dale Shugars as chair.
Shugars said he might get pushback from some constituents for supporting a Democrat for chair. But he said Moore’s experience and leadership as vice-chair made her an excellent candidate.
“She’s come a long ways this year in just listening to people, encouraging people and that type of thing and so I think she was the best choice in this type of environment and she’ll do a very good job,” he said.
Many in the audience broke out in cheers when the results of the vote were announced. Moore told commissioners that growing up in Kalamazoo, she rarely saw people that looked like her in positions of public leadership.
“In most cases there weren’t any. In some there were few but those few women never rose higher than a certain level,” she said, noting that she drew inspiration from former commissioner and vice-chair Eva Ozier.
The Board’s other Democrats supported Commissioner Tracy Hall for chair.
Former Chair Shugars was elected vice-chair. The terms last for one year.