Voters pick faces that are new and familiar
Kalamazoo Mayor David Anderson easily won a second term on Tuesday, November 2, 2021.
Anderson is the director of housing at Integrated Services of Kalamazoo. He says dealing with gun violence is first on his list priorities, along with housing issues.
"To help create more affordable housing in Kalamazoo, that's certainly a big issue. We need to address issues of people who are unhoused in our city."
Some of the newest members of Kalamazoo's City Commission say it should be a national leader in those and other areas. Stephanie Hoffman and Quianna Decker won seats on the commission Tuesday. Hoffman says, "We are primed to do something on a federal level when it comes to housing, when it comes to anti-racism." At a victory party, Decker added, "Kalamazoo is on a path to great things. We are ready to get to work, City of Kalamazoo."
A fourth city commission seat will be filled by Esteven Juarez, who's the associate director at the Urban Alliance. He replaces outgoing Vice-Mayor Patrese Griffin, who resigned to launch an ill-fated campaign for mayor. Juarez says the new commission will have a full agenda when it convenes on Monday, November 8.
"I know that when we join forces, and we come together with all the gifts and talents that we have, we can make Kalamazoo prosperous for all. But we've got to do the hard work; we've got to have the hard conversations."
Don Cooney is rejoining the commission. He didn't seek another term in 2019 but decided to run again this time. As the commission candidate winning the most votes, Cooney will serve as vice-mayor.
"I thank the people of Kalamazoo for giving me another chance. And the main responsibility that we've got is to take care of all our citizens."
There will only be one new face on the Portage City Council. Mayor Patricia Randall ran unopposed and incumbents Victor Ledbetter, Lori Knapp, and Terry Urban won re-election. The only new member of the Council is Lisa Brayton who along with Ledbetter and Urban will serve four year terms. Knapp ran for a partial two year term.
The only county-wide issue on the ballot in Kalamazoo County Tuesday was a renewal of the millage for the Metro Connect on-demand bus service. It was approved by better than a two-to-one margin. Other millages in Pavillion Township, the City of Galesburg, and the Galesburg-Augusta school district were also approved.