Voter Guide: District 2 City Council Candidates and Voter Voices [VIDEO]

Candidate: Roy McCalister, Jr.
Candidate: Virgil Smith, Jr.


  • Age: 63
  • Experience: Investigator at the Federal Defender Office, Former Lieutenant Detective for the Detroit Police Department, Commander in U.S. Army and Army Reserve
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, Master’s degree from University of Oklahoma
  • Campaign Website:
  • Twitter:  @RoyMcCalisterJr
  • Facebook:  Roy McCalister Jr


Citizen Detroit Video:


  • Age: 38
  • Experience: Michigan House Representative (2003-2008), Michigan State Senator (2010-2016)
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from Michigan State University, Master’s degree in public administration from Western Michigan University
  • Campaign Website: N/A
  • Twitter:  N/A
  • Facebook: N/A
Citizen Detroit Video:



Voter Voices from District 2:

WDET reporters have been talking to residents around the city. Click here to see them all. Here are some from District 2:

Emerson Farrow

What’s your biggest concern about the city?
“My father was in the Marine Corps and the service for 27 years. I go to Michigan State. I just came back and saw that the Marine Corps center is basically dilapidated now. And this was like a place where I had memories like growing up and everything. And I like the way Detroit is going, by like building new structures, but I think they should look into preserving and restoring the old structures. Like the firehouse across from Cobo. Why turn that into a hotel? That has been a firehouse since before my father was born.”

Leah Willis

If you could tell the mayor, the council members and the city clerk what should be at the top of their agendas, what would you say?
“I’m currently an art student. Personally I’d like art to be brought back to schools as part of the main curriculum. It builds skills and useful attributes outside of just being an artist. It builds your fundamental cognitive skills as a child, so I’d like to see that brought back.”

James Ballard

Overall, how’s Detroit doing? Why do you say that?
“They’re bringing the Pistons back, they’re building up downtown Detroit, that’s a good start. Seems like money that’s coming in from the government to the state is really getting to Detroit. Shout out to Duggan for putting that together.”

Lorenzo Slappy

Overall, how’s Detroit doing? Why do you say that?
“It makes me sad that they only care about one part of the city. This may be the heart of the city but it’s not the city itself. There’s more to the city than just downtown.”

Tarrell Johnson, 31

What improvements have you seen in the city?
“I think downtown is very nice. Back in 2005 when there was opportunities for people to come down here and work and stuff. But now, it’s very nice. There’s a lot of opportunity for us black people to do things, and there’s a lot more businesses around, too. Only thing I feel like they need to do is fix inner cities like the neighborhoods and the communities, recreation, parks, stuff like that.”

Image credit: Melissa Mason

This post is a part of 2017 Local Elections: How’s metro Detroit doing?.

This series includes WDET's coverage of candidates' in local elections -- including Detroit's mayoral, clerk and council races.

This post is a part of How's Detroit Doing?.

With voices, data, news, and experiences, WDET is answering the question "How's Detroit Doing?" Find a collection of responses at If you have a question about how Detroit's doing, ask it here.

Support for WDET's work with The Detroit Journalism Cooperative comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.



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