The city of Eastpointe has elected its first African American Mayor. Monique Owens assumes the position after serving on Eastpointe’s city council for two years. Her historic election marks a turning point in the city’s politics and is representative of a more diverse class of leaders in the state. Newly elected Mayor Monique Owens joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about her election, what it means for the city of Eastpointe and the importance of political engagement.
“I want people to know their votes counted.” – Eastpointe Mayor Monique Owens
Owens sees her election as a tool for empowerment. Her hope is that when people see themselves represented in candidates, it will engage voters who had previously been alienated by the political process. As the first black mayor of Eastpointe, Owens believed she motivated a new block of voters with her singular campaign. “I want people to know their votes counted,” says Owens.
Owens’ aim at empowerment didn’t stop on the campaign, it is also motivating her policy decisions. Home ownership is the most pressing issue for the newly elected mayor. She says she plans to encourage renters to buy their own homes, a move she hopes will empower Eastpointe residents.
The barrier-breaking election in Eastpointe is something Owens wants to see more of in politics. She says that you have to not only facilitate engagement among the apathetic or disenfranchised, but also implore voters to take on leadership roles in their own communities. On the importance of diversity and representation, Owens says, “We should want everyone at the table.”
Click on the player above to hear more from Mayor-elect Monique Owens on her historic campaign and the importance of local politics.
Local elections around Metro Detroit earlier this month had significant outcomes in several cities. One of those cities is Livonia, which elected its first female mayor. Maureen Miller Brosnan narrowly defeated her opponent, and she is set to take office in January. Miller Brosnan says it’s a double-edged sword to be the first woman to serve in that role. Read more