KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The race for the face of Kalamazoo’s city government is down to two men: an incumbent and a challenger who previously ran for city office.
Mayor David Anderson is seeking another term, with his reelection campaign focusing on community safety, ongoing development of affordable housing and economic development.
“I’m running because I care about Kalamazoo and the people who live here,” Anderson said.
Anderson believes the public deserves equitable policing, which stems from full, immediate transparency and community engagement.
“Changing the model from I would call sort of a militant model to a peacekeeper type of model — that is going to take some time,” Anderson said. “But I believe that it is possible.”
Anderson said affordable housing is another work in progress, with grant funding for projects and a recent city ordinance preventing landlords from denying prospective tenants with housing vouchers. While the ultimate goal is permanent housing, he stresses resources are available for the homeless in addition to the shelter systems throughout the city.
“We will still help,” Anderson said. “Do you need an ID? What things do you need to apply for housing? What landlords or nonprofits will work with you to overlook the fact that you may be coming to this housing with bad credit, with bad landlord references, with outstanding money judgments and evictions, criminal history?”
Challenging the incumbent is six-year Kalamazoo resident Benjamin Stanley, who lost a bid for city commission in 2019. He is throwing his hat into the ring for mayor this time, with his platform focusing on transparency between city government and the constituents it is sworn to serve.
“The city just has this mentality of ‘Hide everything, and then whenever somebody forces us to disclose, then we’ll disclose it,'” Stanley said. “We live in a capitalist society. We had a lot of money donated to the city. What are we doing with that money? It’s not really clear.”
Stanley is also advocating for mental health awareness in his mayoral campaign. If elected, he says his actions would include making citywide programs Americans with Disabilities Act-accommodable and removing the stigma associated with the issue.
“A lot of times, it’s just, ‘Hey, we’ll hook you up with a therapist,’ which is great. But … we need to think outside the box,” Stanley said. “We need to think more in-depth about how we can help people, and make them feel comfortable and confident to actually reach out and get that help.”
When each asked about what they would bring to the table that their opponent doesn’t, Anderson politely declined to answer, but Stanley replied he would bring a ‘fresh perspective.’
Voters will go to the polls Nov. 2 to choose who will serve them as mayor.