Kalamazoo has its first new mayor in 12 years. Voters picked City Commissioner David Anderson to replace outgoing Mayor Bobby Hopewell on Tuesday, November 5. According to unofficial returns, Anderson defeated three other candidates on the ballot after gaining Hopewell's endorsement.
Anderson has served on the Kalamazoo City Commission since 2005. He's the director of housing and facilities at Kalamazoo County Community Mental Health.
Anderson says the biggest challenge facing the city is reducing economic inequality.
"The work that we have to do every day, which is getting a budget approved and paving streets and fixing water lines, is great work, but the work we're getting an opportunity to think about more is how we can help people building better lives in Kalamazoo."
Kalamazoo voters also elected two new city commissioners. Jeanne Hess and Chris Praedel will take office with Anderson next Monday. Commissioner Patrese Griffin won her first full term on the Commission after being appointed to fill a vacancy. She’ll also become Kalamazoo’s new vice-mayor, after getting the most votes in the Commission race.
Anderson says he doesn't see any "major departures" from current policies ahead and looks forward to settling in with the new City Commission.
"By spending time together I think we will find a new mix, a new way to approach the work that needs to be done. Right now I'm not predicting major departures because the work we're doing is work that has been driven by community engagement, and I am committed to honoring that community engagement."
KRESA Millage Approved
Voters approved a tax increase to support "education for employment" programs in the Kalamazoo area Tuesday. The Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency wanted the one-mill, 20-year levy. Among other things, it will pay for a new center for high school programs serving students interested in the skilled trades and technical fields. Unofficial returns showed the millage passing by a margin of 60-percent "yes" to 40 percent "no."
Plainwell School Millage Passes
The Plainwell Public Schools can go ahead with a big improvement plan. Voters in the Allegan County district approved a plan to borrow more than $48-million for upgrades at several school buildings. The district also covers parts of Kalamazoo and Barry counties.
Other Election Results
Voters in one Albion precinct have recalled their representative on the city council. Mayor-Pro Tem Sonya Brown was recalled by voters in Precinct 3 Tuesday. Al Smith was elected to finish her term until the 2020 election.
Voters in South Haven have approved a ban on marijuana related businesses in the city. The proposal passed Tuesday with 645 ballots cast for the ban and 537 against.