Sterling Heights Mayor August 3 Primary Candidate Guide

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Image credit: Meta Stange/WDET

Get to know the candidates running for Mayor of Sterling Heights in the August 3 primary election.

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The August 3 primary is fast approaching. Get to know the candidates running for local office in your community with 101.9 FM WDET’s Candidate Guides. Surveys were distributed to candidates to complete and you can see the responses for candidates for Sterling Heights Mayor below.

See a full list of races covered here.


Related Race: Sterling Heights City Council


Jump to a candidate:
Ken Nelson
Michael C. Taylor


Ken Nelson

Candidate did not respond to survey request. Visit his campaign website.


Michael C. Taylor

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor
Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor

Age: 38 years old 

Current job: Mayor of Sterling Heights and partner in the law firm of Kirk, Huth, Lange & Badalamenti, PLC specializing in probate and estate planning 

Education: J.D., Wayne State Law School & B.A. Economics, Kalamzoo College 

About Michael Taylor: I am a married father of three school-aged children. My wife Christina and I have been married for almost 14 years and our children are 11, 9, and 5. Together, we bought our first house in Sterling Heights in 2008 while I was still in law school at Wayne State. In 2009, I ran for the Sterling Heights City Council and was elected as one of the youngest council members in the city’s history. In 2014 I was appointed mayor by my colleagues on the city council and I became the youngest big-city mayor in the United States at the time. I have served as the Mayor of Sterling Heights since December 2014, winning elections in 2015, 2017, and 2019. In addition to serving as Mayor, I work full-time as an attorney specializing in probate and estate planning. My clients are typically families who need assistance with planning for their estate or navigating the probate process. I also represent small businesses with issues including real estate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, employment issues, and corporate formation. My hobbies include reading, golfing, and spending time with my wife, children and our dog, Monte.  

Why are you running for Sterling Heights Mayor? It has been an incredible honor serving the residents of Sterling Heights as mayor for the past 7 years and I feel that I still have a lot to offer the residents and businesses here. Sterling Heights is setting itself apart in Macomb County as a progressive city with high quality of life and low costs that is inclusive, distinctive, unique, vibrant and welcoming to people of all ages, ethnicities, religions and backgrounds. I want to improve on our successful track record and feel that I have the ability, talents, and work ethic to ensure that residents are receiving the best possible services here in Sterling Heights.  

I want to improve on our successful track record and feel that I have the ability, talents, and work ethic to ensure that residents are receiving the best possible services here in Sterling Heights.” — Michael C. Taylor

What is the most important issue facing Sterling Heights? In a city of over 130,000 residents, with thousands of businesses spanning 36 square miles, it’s hard to narrow down all the issues we face to one that is more important than anything else. There is no one most important issue because we are a diverse city. For example, for members of the African American community, the biggest issue they face is likely different from the biggest issues faced by the Chaldean community or those who are disabled. In a very general sense, the biggest issue any city government faces is providing the highest quality services in the most efficient way to a diverse population with differing priorities and competing interests.  

How would you address that issue? I work every day to improve the human experience for the residents I serve by listening, gathering information, collaborating with colleagues and partners both public and private, researching best practices in other cities, and implementing innovative solutions. I’ve built trusting relationships with my colleagues on the city council and in the city administration that help me lead our organization. I will continue to use my 12 years of experience on the city council and as mayor to work for the residents of Sterling Heights.  

What actions/decisions by the current mayoral administration or city council have you disagreed with? Since the great recession in 2008 and 2009 the city has lost more than 150 full-time employees through layoffs and attrition. That number was even higher before the city began increasing staff around 2013. However, the city is still too lean and is not able to keep up with the demand for city services that the residents have come to expect and deserve. We are well below the state and national average for employment for a city of our size. This year I supported a modest tax increase that would cost the average resident about $20 per year to hire 13 new full-time positions at or around city hall to help relieve the workload on our current staff and provide better services to the residents. These positions were identified based on a multi-year study of the organization and its needs. Unfortunately, the majority on the city council decided against hiring the 13 needed employees. If re-elected I will work to ensure those positions are budgeted in the future. 

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