Looking back at the year 2019, I must admit, I was more engaged in the political arena than I ever thought possible. Though I was politically inspired to run for president in 2020 (reaction to trump in 2017) and motivated to support candidates in 2018, I never thought I’d actually run for an office. Although I didn’t win the seat for City Council, I gained so much more — friends, experience, and respect from the residents of Eastpointe (at least that’s the way they make me feel). And of course — support from family is always appreciated.
First of all, I attended my first swearing-in-ceremony for our Governor in January of 2019 and later that night, attended her inaugural ball. What a blast — from freezing outside in the morning to enjoying the glitz of the evening.
Later, in the same month, I was inspired to run for a seat on our City Council during a meeting with our State Representative, Kevin Hertel. I knew there were two seats open and knew one would be retained by the incumbent, and thought I had a shot at the other.
Thanks to the help of Robert Roscoe (who became my campaign treasurer), we were able to obtain the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot and from that point on — my life was a bit of a whirlwind. I was also serving as the secretary for our 9th Congressional District, secretary for the South Central Macomb Democratic Club, secretary of the Official Democratic Black Caucus of Macomb County and on the executive board of the Macomb County Democratic Committee. I also learned how to get endorsements by other groups
I began attending City Council meetings in 2017 and was even appointed to our Zoning Board of Appeals in 2018. Attended a class to enhance my understanding of what the role entailed and met Cliff Wilson (a really great guy), who was also in the class.
Did I mention that I also started working for the Eastpointe Community Schools District? Well, I did and met the most awesome women anyone could ever hope to meet — Karen Beltz, Michelle Dyrval, Helen Lee and Laurie Jeffries. Not that the others at the school weren’t awesome as well, but these were the women with whom I worked, on a daily basis. During my short tenure at that school — we had a blast and I am so thankful for meeting them and still enjoying their company when possible. They did not hesitate to support my political ambitions and I’ll be forever grateful to them.
The run for City Council entailed so much more than I’d thought about, but I was up for the challenge. Filed paperwork, opened bank account and ACTBlue Account, and planned a fundraiser, as well as attended others. I attended school board meetings, council meetings, city events, marched in parades, and trekked about the city wearing out two pair of gym shoes starting on a third pair. I participated in candidate forums, completed questionnaires, and was interviewed by local newspaper and television reporters, as well as an independent filmmaker (released later this year in 2020). I had meetings with residents on a regular basis, ramped up my social media accessibility for all and marveled at all the people I met — online.
There were people online (especially Facebook) who didn’t appreciate my campaigning on community group pages, but then there were awesome defenders of my campaign — Lauren Tossey immediately comes to mind, along with Laura Pagels and Jeanne Trice. And after that, a number of residents — Frank Accavitti, Phil DiMarialet, and others, let me know they supported my efforts.
During this time, I also became a block captain involved with our Eastpointe Neighborhood Watch Program — that’s how I met Laura and Jeanne and other residents on our three block area. I have the best neighbors in the world! And those in the NWG are the best. For “First Responders Day,” we provided our fire department with a meal and with a plea to assist, many of the block captains participated in providing a “Thanksgiving Meal” to our police and fire department.
Additionally, I met many people on the NextDoor community site. Tom Klawender will be a lifetime friend along with others, Gayle, Victoria, Danielle Gaston, Devi, Carol, Rhonda — and so many more, I can’t even remember everyone’s name at the present moment. And then there are is my Twitter Family (numbering over 9K) that were encouraging and supportive of my efforts in my political run. My social media family makes me realize how blessed I truly am.
As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t win the seat, but my determination to keep my promise, being a voice for the community, has put me on a different path — one I know I’ll enjoy and with the help of the residents, I know we’ll make a difference in this city. Here are the thoughts of one resident, posted on her page on Facebook and had me in tears:
I could be here the rest of the year writing about all the people that made 2019 better.
I’m going to keep it to one aspect and two people.
When I was in college, I had a professor in my ‘State and Local Government’ class who exhorted us to pay more attention to our local leaders, as what they did would have more of an impact on our daily lives than anything done on a federal level. He was right. Most of us can’t even name their Mayor or State Representative, but can tell you everything they like, or don’t like, about the President.
Keeping this in mind, both Ril Brozowski and Mary Hall-Rayford have reminded me of Professor Jarvis’ words from almost 40 years ago.
Ril for making Dania and I aware of the ‘players’ on our City Council, and for giving us some great advice PRN during our local elections this year.
Mary was a candidate for City Council this year. Unfortunately she did not win, but that has not slowed her down. Mary has some great insight into character and she has continued to be involved in the community. She makes herself available to all.
These two are the people the Prof spoke of and they have inspired me to heed his words….even if it has taken me years to do so!
Comment by Sue Fancett
So, this is how the year ended — with me in tears reading what a resident thought of me.
Now, I’m more determined than ever to make sure Eastpointe Residents have a voice in our local government — someone who will stand up for and with them as we move forward in becoming the Family Town — that embraces all.