Ypsilanti mayoral candidate Nicole Brown ready to hit the ground running after primary win
David Fair: You are listening to 89 one WEMU. Good morning. I'm David Fair on a post-primary election Wednesday, and one of the closely watched races in the area was for mayor of Ypsilanti. Incumbent Lois Allen-Richardson has been unseated. Current First Ward City Councilwoman Nicole Brown won by a comfortable margin over the mayor and former Third Ward City Councilman Anthony Morgan. Nicole Brown, thank you so much for making time for us today.
Nicole Brown: Thank you so much for having me.
David Fair: I'm looking at the numbers. You won nearly 65% of the vote. What message from voters do you take away with such a convincing win?
Nicole Brown: You know, the message that I think I take away is that they're ready for a collaborative team effort, not only at the local municipality level, but at the county and the state level to really work together for an even better, you know, Ypsilanti and even better Ypsilanti area. Um, and I think that, you know, seeing young folks working together, talking about, you know, progressive issues and the things that we want to work on together is really what motivated voters to come out and vote in the way that they did today.
David Fair: And, yes, you're right. Yeah, it's all running together, isn't it?
Nicole Brown: I know.
David Fair: The city is facing a number of important issues, as you've pointed out, from reducing gun violence to enhancing police and community relations to development and addressing systemic issues that often limit opportunity, particularly for people of color. Moving forward, how are you going to define your top priorities?
Nicole Brown: Well, first, just to continue what I've been doing, which is talking to people, listening to my constituents and my neighbors to make sure that the priorities that they expect to be tackled and continue to be at the forefront of the work that we're doing as a council. You know, my priorities came from interfacing and talking to people, talking to my neighbors, knocking on doors, and they happened to be exactly aligned with things that are important to me. And so, that is the goal, right? It's consensus building and collaboration among everyone who has, you know, a stake in Ypsilanti. Again, we agree that violence and economic development, housing affordability are all really a priority. And so, I'll be working with council and staff and everybody else who wants to get input so that we can move that forward.
David Fair: This is 89 one WEMU. We're talking with the winner of the Ypsilanti mayoral primary, Nicole Brown. The primary election race with your current and former colleagues has seemingly been quite civil and respectful. Still, there is a reason you ran against Mayor Allen-Richardson. Define the contrast in leadership styles that led you to determine the city is better off with you at the helm.
Nicole Brown: Well, I think, you know, the major contrast is that I think that both of my, you know, colleagues were equipped to do the job. And I think that there wasn't really something that said to me, you know, one of us is better than the other. I think that it was just up to the voters to decide who was the best fit moving forward. I think my style of leadership is what set me apart. Again, I am someone who is extremely collaborative. I will work with anyone. I will talk with anyone. And, you know, I consider myself to be drama-free and a listening ear. I'm willing to change my mind if there's new information. And I also try to extrapolate, you know, whatever is positive and important out of any comment, whether it be good or not so good. And I think that people have seen that my demeanor and my temperament is pretty level-headed and that, again, I am open. I'm welcoming. And I think that's what folks want.
David Fair: You have taken a step in the process. There will be another in November. You will face challenges then. But, in the interim, I imagine you're going to be preparing for the term ahead in anticipation of a swearing-in ceremony following the general election. What is that kind of strategic plan going to look like?
Nicole Brown: Well, you know, I'm still currently on council, so I'll be attending council meetings, of course, and still participating that way as mayor pro-tem and First Ward rep talking with staff. Again, I'm going to continue, you know, talking to my neighbors, talking to constituents, knocking on doors, and having events that we can, you know, come out and talk to one another, so that if I'm so lucky to, you know, be sworn in in November, we can hit the ground running and moving forward in a really smooth transition.
David Fair: Congratulations on your primary election win and thank you for making time today.
Nicole Brown: Thank you so much for having me.
David Fair: That is Nicole Brown, winner of the primary race for Ypsilanti mayor. In the November general election, she will face challenges from libertarian Mark Alan King and nonparty affiliated candidate Amber Fellows. This is your community NPR station. 89 one WEMU. And I'm David Fair.
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