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Mayoral candidates talk with the Courier ahead of primary

It’s election time all over the country. With several local seats up for grabs, the Flint Courier will be profiling candidates from multiple races. Here, we are highlighting candidates for the mayoral race, in which voters will choose between incumbent-Mayor Sheldon A. Neeley, Former Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver and 1st Ward Councilman Eric Mays.

All three candidates are already well known in the Flint community.

Neeley previously served as city councilman and state representative before being elected mayor.

Weaver is known for declaring a state of emergency because of the Flint Water Crisis and was defeated by only approximately 200 votes by Neeley

Mays is the longest-serving member on the Flint City Council and previously told the Courier he knows he’s considered unconventional.

The primary election takes place with the three candidates Tuesday, August 2. The general election takes place on Nov. 8 for the top two contenders

Please note that the responses from candidates will appear as they were submitted to the Flint Courier. All photos are courtesy of the candidate, and the Flint Courier does not endorse any particular candidate.

Incumbent-Flint Mayor Sheldon A. Neeley

Flint Mayor Sheldon A. Neeley
  1. What are your crime priorities and should you be elected how would you go about addressing crime, particularly police response time and gun violence?

As mayor, I’m proud that I banned chokeholds and no-knock warrants, banned the reselling of confiscated guns, and hired the biggest police class in decades. In my proposal for federal funding, I put money for a gun bounty, beefing up the Flint police cold case homicide unit and a witness protection program.

  1. What would be your plan to complete pipe replacement and work towards ending the water crisis?

When I became mayor, I inherited a system that still had lead water pipes and neighbors that had their lawns, streets, and sidewalks dug up but not replaced. One of my immediate goals was to expediate the replacement of all lead pipes and go back in and fix the neighborhoods that had their yards and streets dug up and not fixed.

  1. The city seems to be divided. How will you bring the city together?

From day one I worked to unite Flint. On Election Day the first words out of my mouth were “we are, one Flint.” I didn’t run a negative campaign and there has never been a scandal under my administration. As mayor, I worked with anyone willing to work with Flint residents. I have been in every neighborhood to listen and work collaboratively, because every Flint neighborhood has a future.

  1. What are your economic development priorities? How would you collaborate with Flint City Council or lobby for equitable economic development in all wards (ex. zoning, community development, grocery stores, shopping, restaurants)? I’m proud of the redevelopment of Buick City, which will bring 3,000 good paying jobs to every Flint ward. I successfully used federal and state funds to help all Flint small businesses. One proposal was a grant program to help mom-and-pop brick-and-mortar businesses rehab their properties by fixing roofs, crumbling driveways and other structural issues. Another grant will provide thousands of dollars to small businesses that suffered under COVID.

Former Flint Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver

Former Flint Mayor-Dr. Karen Weaver

1. What are your crime priorities and should you be elected how would you go about addressing crime, particularly police response time and gun violence?

In my first 100 days I will provide a comprehensive public safety plan, continuing the
successful crime prevention/public safety efforts I initiated as mayor that removed Flint
off the top 5 most violent cities list.  I will make it a priority to hire and bring police
staffing levels to approximately 150 officers which will decrease response time and allow
detectives to work through the years of back logged complaints.

2. What would be your plan to complete pipe replacement and work towards ending the water crisis?

My plan for pipe replacement is to finish what I started. There are approximately 8,500
restorations and 2,500 service lines that still need to be completed. I would hire enough
companies to put this program back on the fast track ensuring that safe and drinkable
water is brought to everyone’s tap. Lastly, I would focus on replacing indoor plumbing,
fixtures and appliances ensuring families can trust our water system.

3. The city seems to be divided. How will you bring the city together?

The word unity also means inclusiveness. Every resident of the City of Flint’s ideas,
voices and concerns are important to me. As I did before, I will hold Townhall meetings
(also called Community One on One’s) listening to the issues in all nine wards. I will
work closely with City Council members making sure we are working for the residents as
elected officials taking care of city business.

4. What are your economic development priorities? How would you collaborate with Flint City Council or lobby for equitable economic development in all wards (ex. zoning, community development, grocery stores, shopping, restaurants)?

I will implement the economic strategic plan I initiated as mayor that attracted Lear
Corporation, created over 1,500 jobs, secured millions in federal and state funding,
attracted businesses and gave small businesses opportunities to thrive. Economic
development is a shared responsibility and I will work with City Council, elected officials
and the community to create listening opportunities on ways to address economic
challenges and meet the community’s economic needs.

1st Ward Councilman Eric Mays

1st Ward Councilman Eric Mays
  1. What are your crime priorities and should you be elected how would you go about addressing crime, particularly police response time and gun violence? My priorities are to fix the detective bureau and the patrol unit. Both are understaffed. There are thousands of COMPLAINTS BACKLOGGED IN THE DETECTIVE BUREAU. Residents should not dial 911 and cannot get a police officer in minutes. My priority is to within six (6) months of taking the Mayor’s Office to “fix” the Police Department.
    2. What would be your plan to complete pipe replacement and work towards ending the water crisis? Pipe replacement and the fixing of streets, sidewalks and grass in front of folks’ houses should already be done. I will put W.T. Stevens “back to work” immediately. They should not have been sidelined for three (3) because of mayoral “politics”. PERIOD. Mayor Mays will take care of this problem quickly ……

    3. The city seems to be divided. How will you bring the city together? The City has been divided by half-truths and in some cases outright lies. A lot of talk and not a lot of action. We have $74,000,000 (million) to help Flint people and fix some problems. Honest and trustworthy leadership coming from Mayor Mays and “plain talk” will fix the divide, as well as. Flint’s main problem …. Pray and vote for straight forward and honest leadership …… Thank you.
    4. What are your economic development priorities? How would you collaborate with Flint City Council or lobby for equitable economic development in all wards (ex. zoning, community development, grocery stores, shopping, restaurants)? Economic development means creating new jobs, building “nice new homes” on empty lots, cutting weeds, cleaning up junk and trash, etc….Ashley Capital just met with me about $300,000,000 (million) towards creating around 3,000 jobs on the Buick City Land. I support that new jobs project. I am a “strong supporter” of summer jobs for our children ….. Mays can and will make a  big difference as mayor of Flint ….. Amen.

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