Voter Guide: District 5 City Council Candidates and Voter Voices [VIDEO]

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Image credit: Melissa Mason

Learn about who’s running for office in District 5 and what voters have to say about how Detroit’s doing.

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The Incumbent: Mary Sheffield
The Challenger: Jewel Ware


  • Age: 30
  • Experience: Current Detroit City Councilwoman, member of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations
  • Education: Bachelor’s in public affairs from Wayne State University, Master’s in public administration from Central Michigan University
  • Campaign Website:
  • Twitter: N/A
  • Facebook: Mary Sheffield City Council District 5
Citizen Detroit Video:


  • Age: 62
  • Experience: Current Wayne County Commissioner of District 2
  • Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Detroit
  • Campaign Website: N/A
  • Twitter:  @JewelWare313
  • Facebook: Jewel Ware


Citizen Detroit Video:


Voter Voices from District 5:

WDET reporters have been talking to residents around the city. Click here to see them all. Here are some from District 5:

Keith Garrett, 47

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 would ask them to focus on the small business owners like myself as far as certain ordinances they have throughout the city, where they’re not allowing us to vend after 11 (p.m.), and be a part of what’s going on with the city. You have most new businesses in the city of Detroit that stay open until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning, but as regular street vendors, they have transformed the ordinance where we’re not able to vend after 11 o’clock and be a part of what’s going on at the sports arenas and that type of stuff.”

Diane Rembert, 61

Where would you like to see funding allocated that it’s not being allocated right now and what would you like to see happen to improve the situation in schools?
“Gyms, so they can have more exercise, better lunches, and more after school activities where they don’t have to pay.”

Gabrielle Hawkins

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?
“What I think they should do, I think they should actually go to neighborhoods and say, ‘how could I help you? Or what do you want to see done?’ So that’s really what I think that they should do is actually come in the inner cities and all of the areas that are marked off as bad because of crime and all of that stuff. I think they should actually go to those areas look around, canvas, talk to people and see what actually needs to be done.”

Abriana Walton, 19

What’s your biggest concern about the city?
“Personally my biggest concern is not being able to even afford to live in downtown Detroit after the redevelopment. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I feel as though inflation and gentrification — it’s when I say ‘culturally wiping us out’ — because someone who has lived in Detroit all their life can’t hardly afford to live downtown.”

Amber Sillmon, 28

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 want the same type of focus and growth we’re putting in downtown to trickle out into the neighborhoods, because at the end of the day that’s where the people are. It should be the entire city growing and thriving, not just the downtown areas.”

Verna Brocks

What would you like to see from your elected officials?
“I would like to see them more engaged in the community. Meet us where we are. Come to the schools, come to our churches, come to the barbershop, the hair salon, the grocery store. You don’t have to make a big hoopla, but at least observe the challenges folks have. Walk in our shoes just for a minute.”

Andre Smith, 49

Overall, how’s Detroit doing? Why do you say that?
“Good. Detroit is coming back alive again. Got new stuff coming in, new people coming in, trying to make the city better.”

 2017 Local Elections: How’s metro Detroit doing?

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.

How's Detroit Doing?

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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