Pat Spitzley is officially launching a campaign for Lansing Mayor in 2021
LANSING City Councilor Patricia Spitzley officially launched her 2021 mayor campaign on Wednesday afternoon with a promise to Lansing that she is “ready to lead”.
Spitzley has been a General Representative in Lansing since 2016 and was President of the City Council in 2017.
The 56-year-old attorney is the director of government relations at RACER Trust, which is redeveloping properties formerly owned by General Motors.
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That experience taught her how to balance a budget, she said. She promised to initiate an independent “top-down” review of Lansing’s finances within 60 days of taking office.
“I want to see a lansing where people feel safe and valued, no matter who they are, what their ward is,” she said. “I want to see a lansing that is financially sound. I want to see a lansing where people look like the community they serve.”
Spitzley has not pledged to defuse the police department, but says it would support the “reshuffle” of the police force.
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This could mean hiring more community police officers – officers assigned to specific geographic areas to build long-term relationships – or it could mean staff other than armed officers doing the social checks, she said. Spitzley chairs the Lansing Committee on Diversity, Justice and Inclusion, which has driven plans to hire more city social workers to work with the police.
“If a person thinks they are over-the-police in Lansing City, we have to look,” she said.
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Spitzley plans to close Lansing’s jail, saying town police could use Ingham County jail instead in situations where people need to be detained. Lansing faces an ongoing civil lawsuit over the death of Anthony Hulon, who died of asphyxiation in 2020 after Lansing police detained him in prison.
If he were elected, Spitzley would be the first black person and woman to serve as Lansing’s mayor. Her parents, she said, were preparing her to take on this historic role.
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Her mother was a partner. Her father, a Vietnam War veteran, returned from being a prisoner of war to “extreme racism” in the United States, she said.
“They give me the background and legacy to do public service and make sure that if I have a problem with my community, I step in and bring it up,” she said.
From 2006 to 2017, she competes against incumbent mayor Andy Schor and Virg Bernero, Lansing’s mayor. Four political newcomers – Arielle Padilla, Jeffery Scott Handley Jr., Larry James Hutchinson Jr., and Melissa Huber – have also run for mayor.
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Candidates have until April 20th to apply for the November 2nd election in Lansing. Next to the mayor’s office there are four seats on the city council and the position of city clerk on the ballot.
The races are impartial, but an August 3rd primary will reduce the number of candidates.
Contact reporter Sarah Lehr at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SarahGLehr.