DETROIT - Former Mayor and four-term City Councilmember Ken Cockrel, Jr. who has served Detroit as Council President and Mayor today said he will not seek re-election in this November's municipal elections.
After 18 years of continuous public service, Cockrel said that it is time for him to refocus and pursue new challenges.
"I feel the time is right for me to seek new challenges, new opportunities, and new ways to help Detroit," he said.
Cockrel was first elected to City Council in November 1997 after serving for three years on the Wayne County Commission. He was re-elected in 2001 and again in 2005 when he became City Council President. His current term began in January of 2009. During his more than 15 years on the council he has passed and fought for laws ensuring that Detroit's contractors are paid timely, stiffer zoning regulations of liquor stores, pawn shops, and group homes, and expanded city job opportunities for ex-felons. Cockrel also became mayor in September 2008 following the resignation of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Though he did not win election to the post in the May 2009 special election to fill the seat, he had a significant impact during his brief time as Mayor. Cockrel is also the founder and Chair of the Detroit City Council Green Task Force and has championed a sustainable agenda for the City of Detroit.
A cum laude graduate of Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism, Cockrel is a former reporter for the Detroit Free Press, the Grand Rapids Press and the Cincinnati Inquirer. He is also a former columnist for The Metro Times. Cockrel is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University as well as the Program for State and Local Government Officials at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. In fall of 2011, he earned a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Irish-American University in Dublin, Ireland.
Cockrel is currently the Chair of the City Council's Committee on Budget, Finance, and Audit and the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Planning and Economic Development. He also serves as a board member of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy, the Detroit Jazz Fest, and Tour de Troit. He is also a member of the advisory boards for Bridging Communities and ACLU Michigan. Cockrel and his wife Kimberly have two sons; Kenneth III and Kyle Vincent, and three daughters; Kennedy Victoria, Kendal Imani, and Kayla Lanette. Cockrel said that though he will be leaving the City Council table, he intends to remain active in neighborhood, civic, and political affairs.
"I'm not going anywhere. I will definitely remain a staple on the Detroit scene," he said. "I truly believe that Detroit's best days are ahead of it and I'm eager to be a part of it."
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