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By Xaiver Jones
Telegram Media Specialist 

Meet The Candidates Forum held in River Rouge


October 13, 2022

City council candidates that attended the forum were Gwendolyn Yarborah, Daniel Cooney, Vicki Dobbins, Taquanna Gilmore, Tina Miller Laginess and LaShanna Mitchell Stinson

River Rouge is undergoing a major political change. There will inevitably be new people in mayoral, treasurer, city council, and school board positions. The race is on. The polls will be opening on November 8th. The neighborhood has been redecorated with signs and banners, and candidates have held events pushing their campaign. The auditorium of River Rouge High School was home for a public forum hosted by the Western Wayne County NAACP and Just Transition. All candidates on the November 8th ballot were invited to speak on their own behalf. Moderator Pastor Velma Overman, acting President of the Western Wayne County NAACP, handled the questions that were submitted by the people in attendance. Ebony Elmore and the Just Transition team shared the importance of taking on environmental issues in River Rouge and how the health of the residents can improve.

Candidates running for school board included Candise Green, Ramone and Tina Hernandez, and Joshua Wheeler. The panel sat in agreement on most topics. The goals aligned on fortifying the district in safety, education, vocational programs, and safety. There was a small bit of confusion. Candidate Josh Wheeler originally planned on running for treasurer of the city. But circumstances in that lane of the race seemed to be complicated, and his daughter is a student in the River Rouge school district. Wheeler just has more personal stake in devoting his skills through the school board, because his daughter is a student in the district. The community can vote for up to four candidates for the position of School Board.

A panel of City Council candidates included Gwendolyn Yarborough, Daniel Cooney, Vicki Dobbins, Taquana Gilmore, Tina Laginess and LaShanna Mitchell Stinson. The conversation was similar to the one before. Candidates seemed to hold the same stance when it came to housing, working, and business involvement in the community. The community can vote for up to six candidates for the position of City Council Commissioners.

School Board candidates that attened the forum were Candise Green, Ramon Hernandez, Tina Hernandez and Joshua Wheeler

The last group slated to take the stage were the mayoral candidates. The rhythm of the last panel was off in comparison to the prior sessions. Candidate Gina Wilson Steward did not have anyone to agree, or disagree with. Instead she shared a stage with only the moderator, and answered the audience's questions concerning city payroll, taxes, and opening new places of employment in the city of River Rouge. She believes the people are aware of what's best for them, they just need a leader to be their voice along the way.

Also during the forum, Lawrence Biggs, Voter Engagement Committee Chairperson for the Western Wayne County NAACP explained the three proposals that are on the ballot.

Everyday feet are pounding the pavement, and gears are moving for this race. November 8th will be here before you know it. Confirm your voting registration, and get out there to cast your vote!


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