Voters are meeting face-to-face with candidates for Detroit city offices and police commission at Citizen Detroit events this month.
WDET’s Laura Herberg attended the first forum on Oct. 12. Click here for information about that event with the council members for Detroit’s various districts and police commission. WDET”s Sandra Svoboda attended the second forum on Oct. 19.
At the events, the candidates are allowed one-minute introductions, moderated by former Detroit city council member Sheila Cockrel. After the candidates introduced themselves they participated in a “speed dating” style event where they took turns sitting down at tables of citizens from their districts, engaging in dialogue for about 5 minutes at a time before rotating to another table of citizens.
The following candidates attended the second event. Click on the candidates’ names to hear their introductions.
Detroit City Clerk
Good evening. First and foremost I have to thank you for being here and I have to thank Citizen Detroit, this is the favorite forum of all the forums that we have because she does three things: she educates, she engages and she entertains. So thank you Citizen Detroit. I’ve administered 25 nearly seamless elections during my term, of which I’ve received public reviews and then November 2016 happened and that failure of a recount happened. It happened mostly because, mostly because we have archaic elections laws, but we knew going into that election we were working with 10-year-old voting devices. But because the state went from blue to red, we had to be audited. That happens all across the globe whenever a state goes from one political party to another. But we’ve learned from that. We’ve learned from that and we’ve fixed those errors in the primary 2017. Thank you. I’m Janice Winfrey, your city clerk.
Good evening Citizen Detroit. My name is Garlin Gilchrist, and I am honored for the chance to serve you as your next Detroit City Clerk, and I think this is the most important race on the ballot because this is a very important office. How many of you have experienced perfection in elections in Detroit? I didn’t experience it in November 2016 when I waited in an hour-and-a-half-long line at a polling place that had a broken machine and ran out of materials. I didn’t experience it in August 2017 when the people at our polling location told my wife that she was required to have a driver’s license to vote in the state of Michigan. You’re not. See, my name is Garlin Gilchrist and I want to work as your city clerk to fix the broken systems of how we prepare the people who step up to work our polling locations to serve you and be educated about what state law is, to know what happens when something goes wrong. I’m a person who wants to fix and make sure you have information about what the government is doing, what’s happening on City Council. My name is Garlin Gilchrist and I’m looking forward to talking about what I can do for you as your next City Clerk.
Detroit City Council At-Large
Click here for WDET’s Voter Guide to the 2017 At-Large Detroit City Council race.
Good evening Citizen Detroit. Come on, you all, we’re all here together tonight. Good evening. Again, my name is Janee’ Ayers, and this is actually my fourth time being in front of you all in the last two years. So if that doesn’t tell you that I don’t have a little bit of tenacity, then I don’t know what else to tell you about it. As you all know, two years ago, I was appointed to council out of 136 folks. And then we went on to win in a primary and then we worked hard and we went on to win in the general election. It has been my privilege to serve you all with integrity, with transparency and with results. We’ve created Returning Citizens Task Force, I have been a part of three balanced budgets, and more than anything we have had a chance in our office to just be there and actually be present for our folks. I see some people here that work for the city. You all know, I ask the tough questions, I don’t always say it in the most diplomatic way, but at the end of the day, it’s about getting to the bottom of what’s happening in order for me to tell you where we are. Again, Janee’ Ayers, at-large city council candidate. Thank you.
I’m Beverly Kindle Walker, a legislative assistant to Wayne County Commissioner Tim Killeen on the far northeast side of Detroit. I’ve been a legislative assistant to City Council Members Clyde Cleveland and Brenda Scott. So if you know those individuals, you know the type of people that I work for. All three of the people I have ever worked for on the legislative side have always been about people. They understand policy, they want to know how it affects you, and that’s how they vote. If it didn’t make sense to them, they didn’t go for it. So community benefits is very important to me. It’s very important that we understand that there should always been some kind of benefit in any development that goes in the City of Detroit. Now, whether or not we put teeth in it, as we try to do, but bottom line is as a legislator, you should always be advocating for the people at the table. I am the wife (and a mother) of a retiree from the Detroit City Recreation Department so I’m very concerned about the losses we had under the bankruptcy. As an individual I am going to come to the table ready, single-focused on doing the business of City Council. I’m Beverly Kindle Walker, your next city council representative.
Incumbent Brenda Jones met with attendees but missed the candidate introduction portion.