DETROIT -

For the first time in nearly a century, Detroit voters will elect seven of nine council members by districts.

The new system is creating opportunities for political newcomers. In District 5, on the city’s near east side, candidate Adam Hollier is 28 years old. His opponent Mary Sheffield is only 26.

"A district race narrows it down to a smaller number of voters you can reach out to -- to learn their issues and concerns," said Sheffield.

"The only way they are going to know me is if they see me out and about," said Hollier.

In the former system of electing all City Council candidates at large, name recognition was crucial. Now, in a district of about 90,000 people, Sheffield and Hollier can have an impact by knocking on thousands of doors.

He is Mayor Bing’s liason to city council. She is a program specialist at the Wayne County Jail.

Only 56 votes separated them in the August primary.

At least five of the nine seats on the next council will be held by new members.