Ypsilanti Township's incumbent trustees all win another term
Ypsilanti Township’s incumbent trustees all held their seats.
Residents chose from eight candidates for four seats. The challengers included three from Y-Town Future’s slate of 10 candidates, which sought to unseat all elected incumbents, and Trudy Swanson-Winston, a former City of Ypsilanti council member.
Trustee Jean Hall-Currie, who was elected to a sixth term, won all but one of the township’s 20 precincts and received 19.5 percent of the vote. Trustee Stan Eldridge received 2,583 votes, or 16.3 percent; Trustee Mike Martin received 2,457 votes, or 15.5 percent; and Trustee Scott Martin received 2,290 votes, or 14.4 percent.
Maria-Sheler Edwards was the closest challenger. She received 1,558 votes, or 9.8 percent.
The township's incumbent full-time administrators also easily won re-election.
Sheler-Edwards was one of three Y-Town Future candidates along with Carlton Fields and Sylvia Spurlock.
Both campaigns largely focused on the township’s efforts to stabilize its neighborhoods, reduce blight and attract business.
Y-Town Future candidates contended that the township leadership could have done more to prevent the widespread blight issues it is tackling today and could have attracted more business over the last four years.
Trustee Mike Martin, who is no relation to Trustee Scott Martin, said he was “grateful” for the voters' support.
“It is gratifying to see (residents’) satisfaction with the hard work the board has done during our current term in office,” Mike Martin said. “I am especially proud of the residents for rebuking the divisive politics and campaign of misinformation that was perpetrated by our opposition, which was expressed by their overwhelming support for the current township team."
Incumbents have pointed to what they say is a comprehensive and effective blight reduction progam that has been successful in addressing a complex issue. They have said they helped attract numerous new businesses for which they partially credited the blight reduction efforts.
They also highlighted that the budget has remained balanced despite a significant loss of revenue after the GM’s Powertrain plant closed in 2009.
Hall-Currie is the most experienced trustee with over 20 years on the board. Mike Martin completed his first four-year term and Eldridge will serve his third term. Scott Martin was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy in April 2011.
With the exception of Swanson-Winston, none of the challengers had any significant prior political experience and were taking their first run at office. But they said that was an asset and residents needed fresh faces and ideas on the board. Throughout their campaign, Y-Town Future candidates argued that they were more representative of Ypsilanti Township’s diverse population.
Eldridge said he felt the results indicated voters saw the incumbent trustees’ experience as an asset.
“Not only am I humbled by the tremendous amount of support from the residents, but I’m also pleased with their affirmation that the township is moving in the right direction with its current leadership,” he said.