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.
“In one breath it’s ultimately exciting to be the first to do anything,” she says on Detroit Today, “but it took us 70 years to get our first female mayor and in some ways that doesn’t feel so good.”
Click on the player above to hear Livonia Mayor-elect Maureen Miller Brosnan on Detroit Today.
Like all communities, Livonia has its own unique set of challenges.
“We are currently short 30 police officers,” says Miller Brosnan, “finding a way to make sure we attract and retain quality police officers and firefighters is my number one priority.
“Diversity exists in Livonia, so making sure that we represent that diversity on our boards and commissions is going to be important.” - Livonia Mayor-Elect Maureen Miller Brosnan
Another issue is racial diversity. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Livonia was 91 percent white as of 2017. Miller Brosnan says there are a number of things Livonia can do to make the city more welcoming to all people, including making sure there’s diversity on the city’s boards and commissions, which she says “help in the decision making and the direction-driving of a community.”
And she says that diversity does exist in Michigan’s ninth largest city.
“We knocked over 47,000 doors from April until the election in November,” she says, “and when you knock on that many doors and talk to that many residents you really do begin to see the diversity that exists in Livonia, so making sure that we represent that diversity on our boards and commissions is going to be important.”
“It’s going to be a welcome change”
“Be ready, I think you have to be ready to take advantage of opportunities.” - Livonia Mayor-Elect Maureen Miller Brosnan
A woman in the mayor’s office is not the only milestone in Livonia city government coming in 2020. For the first time in the city’s history, all of the highest ranking offices in Livonia are now all held by women.
“I think, quite honestly, it’s going to be a welcome change,” says Miller Brosnan. ”I think we’re going to be able to get some amazing things done.”
She says she views her election and others as part of the 2018 “pink wave” that saw record numbers of women running for and winning office across the country.
“I think that there is a lot of attention being place on the role of women in elected office,” she says.
When it comes to advice for other women considering running for office, “Be ready,” she says. “I think you have to be ready to take advantage of opportunities.”
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. Read more