Flint’s First Black Female Mayor Faces Recall Election

By Sameer Rao Nov 06, 2017

Flint, Michigan, mayor Karen Weaver—the first woman* to serve in that position—could lose her job after only two years in office. Tomorrow (November 7), residents will cast their votes in a recall election that Weaver says is the result of her opponents’ discriminatory behavior.

“I think we’ve played a bad hand very well, very nicely,” Weaver said in an article published by The New York Times today (November 6). The Times reports that Weaver attributes the recall effort to racism and “petty politics.” She also reportedly attributes the opposition to sexism, saying, “You wait for a woman to come and clean things up, and then here you come and want to take it.”

A psychologist, Weaver won her first run for public office in 2015 with promises to solve the water crisis that was triggered by a state-appointed emergency manager’s switch of the city’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. While the crisis means that the city’s predominantly Black residents still can’t drink water straight from the lead pipes that were corroded by the river water, the water supply reached federal-approved quality levels under Weaver’ leadership earlier this year.

Her opponents say the water crisis only plays a supporting role in the recall election, which a state judge allowed after they petitioned for it in August. From The Times:

Ms. Weaver’s opponents say she has further tainted the public’s perception of city government. Among their grievances: Her attempt to do business with a trash-collection company that has been accused of corruption elsewhere; the lack of working relationships with Council members; and a long-running dispute about where Flint should get its drinking water in the future and how much residents should pay.

“The mayor is trying to turn this into a racial campaign, and it has nothing to do with me being White and her being an African-American female,” says councilor and recall challenger Scott Kincaid to The Times. “It has to do with her inability to govern the City of Flint.”

There are 17 challengers on the ballot.

*Note: Post has been updated to correctly reference Karen Weaver as the first woman to serve as mayor of Flint.