Meet the candidates running for the 9th Ward Flint City Council seat

By EVM Staff

A recall election for Flint’s 9th Ward City Council seat will be held on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. 

With incumbent Councilwoman Eva Worthing electing not to run in the recall, three candidates are vying for 9th Ward residents’ votes next month: Page Brousseau, Kathryn Irwin, and Jonathan Jarrett.

To get to know each candidate a bit better, East Village Magazine (EVM) asked all three the same five questions. Here’s what they had to say about the needs of the ward they call home and why they’re the best person for the council job.

From left to right, Page Brousseau, Kathryn Irwin, and Jonathan Jarrett, the candidates running for 9th Ward Flint City Council representative on May 7, 2024. (Photos courtesy of candidates)

What do you see as the top three issues facing Flint’s 9th Ward?

PAGE BROUSSEAU: The three top issues facing the 9th Ward are blight elimination, business development, particularly along Dort Highway and Fenton Road, and ARPA money distribution: ensuring responsible distribution across the city and making sure dollars support efforts in the 9th Ward.

KATHRYN IRWIN: Blight, crime, blight

JONATHAN JARRETT: In speaking with constituents, variations of blight make up the top three issues: Vacant properties; Illegal parking/car storage; and Hoarding.

How would you go about addressing those three issues if elected to Flint City Council?

BROUSSEAU: The first step is to make the City Council a place where the city’s business can be handled with maturity and thoughtfulness. Second, the Council must work together with the Mayor’s office to create conditions for businesses and residents to relocate to Flint and remain within the city.

Blight and crime are major factors influencing decision-making when people and businesses establish roots. ARPA spending must be transparent, with every dollar directed before the Council approves the spending.

IRWIN: The best thing we can do is work on blight to keep residents here. We need clean, safe neighborhoods because people looking to buy a home they can afford don’t want boarded up or burned out properties next to them. We need to work with police to find a way to up neighborhood patrols.

JARRETT: We are hopeful the vacant properties at issue are on the demolition list for which Genesee County Land Bank received a City of Flint ARPA Funds allocation. Illegal parking/car storage and hoarding, which create safety and rodent concerns respectively, can be resolved in partnership with Neighborhood Safety Officers by making them aware of addresses where enforcement is needed.

Many Flint residents have noted division and incivility among current city council members. How would you work to address that?

BROUSSEAU: My contribution to the City Council would be representing the 9th Ward civilly and professionally. I pledge to respond to residents, city staff, and my colleagues in a professional demeanor that supports the desired level of decorum.

I respect everyone on the Council and the constituents who sent them there. I will hear all sides of every argument, promise to be fair, and work with anyone on the Council who is working to improve the quality of life for all in Flint.

IRWIN: Calmly. [In] all jobs I have had [including bartending and hairdressing], I have had to deal with all personalities and diffusing many different situations. I hope to do that at council.

JARRETT: Maintaining civility is an individual choice. I choose to model acceptance, recognizing there are other views and perspectives outside of my own. I choose to show myself to be tolerant where tolerance is needed; I choose to be a leader where leadership is needed; and I choose to be respectful in all situations.

U.S. Census data shows that Flint lost around 20% of its population in the last census. What is your plan for addressing the vacant and blighted properties that loss has left behind — both in the 9th Ward and across the city?

BROUSSEAU: The city must work with Federal and State agencies to eliminate blight. Property owners must be held accountable for their properties when they fail to abide by city ordinances. Working with the Land Bank and the public, current residents should be encouraged to acquire vacant land next to their property.

IRWIN: The city has increased the size of its blight department and is working on grants for clean up that can be our springboard to find more funds.

JARRETT: I intend to work identifying resources and partnerships that promote homeownership. I believe transitioning renters to homeowners (holding a property deed) causes them to plant roots in a way that renters (who hold only receipts) don’t. Those roots make families less likely to relocate which provides stabilization of neighborhoods, wards, and the city.

Why should 9th Ward voters elect you to Flint City Council this May?

BROUSSEAU: In my time in the United States Marine Corps and as an infantry officer in the United States Army, I have worked with people from various backgrounds toward a common goal.

There will not be a better advocate for the people of Flint than me.

My wife and I choose to make Flint our home, and this is where my daughter is growing up. I want Flint to be the best it can be and maintain a high quality of life for residents and businesses.

IRWIN: I bring a fresh perspective to council. A clean slate will work [and is] what is best for my ward and citizens of Flint.

JARRETT: I believe voters should elect Jonathan Jarrett to the Flint City Council because I am already working to earn their vote. I spent time at primary polls, and I make myself available to take calls and/or emails (810-230-4426 or from constituents.

Ultimately, I want every voter who cast their ballot for Jonathan Jarrett to feel good about that vote for months and years after the election. As the term expires in 2026, I want the quality of my work and my efforts to cause constituents to hope to see Jonathan Jarrett on a ballot again.

Please note candidates’ responses have been lightly edited for formatting and clarity purposes. This article also appears in the April 2024 issue of East Village Magazine.

Author: East Village Magazine

A Non-profit, Community News Magazine Since 1976

Share This Post On