Eastpointe residents took to the polls on Nov. 5 to make their voices heard on a variety of issues.
Monique Owens, a former DPD officer, 11-year sheriff’s deputy who has served as a community volunteer and was a member of Eastpointe’s City Council has added Mayor of Eastpointe to her resume.
Owens, who is no stranger to making historical moves, becomes the first black person elected mayor in Eastpointe — two years after she was voted in as the city’s first black council member.
Owens, 33, narrowly beat out fellow City Council member Michael Klinefelt after receiving 1,648 votes, or 32.5% of ballots cast to Klinefelt’s 1,629 votes.
She ran on a platform to create more government-funded youth programs aimed at troubled teens and also called for additional community policing to better connect with residents and the schools.
Her election demonstrates that Eastpointe is ready for significant change—to see leadership reflect the town’s demographics. The Macomb County city — which shares the Eight Mile Road border with Detroit — is estimated to have a population of about 32,000 40% of which is black.
The Justice Department has been pushing for Eastpointe to alter its electoral process by electing members through districts instead of with an at-large system. In 2017, the U.S. Justice Department settled a lawsuit against the city by instituting a new voting method known as ranked-choice voting. The government argued that white voters acting as a bloc had historically diluted the voting power of black residents in Eastpointe council races. The issue is pending in federal court.
“The Department of Justice said an African American could not be elected in Eastpointe because of the city’s history,” Owens said. “I proved them wrong. They said African Americans didn’t go out and vote. I want to give people hope and change, and it’s time to move this community forward.”
The ranked-choice method of voting did not apply to the mayoral race, only the council contests.
Owens will serve a four-year term and replaces long-time Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley, who is retiring after having served in the position for 12 years.
“God is good,” Owens said late Tuesday. “I went through a lot in this campaign. But I know this is huge. I want people to know they will have a voice in this city.”
To read more on Eastpointe elections click here.