22 candidates running for local elections in the county were recently invited to a new forum for yet-to-be-sentenced inmates at the Genesee County Jail to discuss their experiences Friday morning.
The first-time event in Genesee County, organized by Sheriff Chris Swanson and the IGNITE (Inmate Growth Naturally and Intentionally Through Education), may be the state's first of its kind.
Percy Glover, a Genesee County Ambassador, called this event unheard of in other locations around the state and country.
Its all about providing information to the inmates, Glover said, because jail inmate access to television, libraries, and news isnt as accessible as those in prison.
Glover and Genesee County Ambassador Johnell Allen-Bey have been deputized to distribute absentee ballots to inmates who are already registered to vote.
Kate Fields, Flint City Council President and 4th Ward incumbent, was delighted to get the chance to meet with inmates as the election nears.
Fields stated, "It's really important because the people we're going to be talking to are registered voters." They have not yet been convicted of any crime. They dont have the technology to attend other forums or the ability to see them online, so I think this is a really good thing they are doing.
Any Michigan resident who is incarcerated but is not serving a sentence has the right to vote.
Candidates came in and made a conscious decision that your voice counts, Allen-Bey told the inmates. "... We want to let the world know that there is no such thing in Genesee County as a person being voiceless. You have a voice. If you dont exercise your right to vote, you have no right of complaint.
Inmate Patricia Rickman said she is amazed to have this kind of opportunity while at the Genesee County Jail.
Rickman stated, They are allowing us to have our own voice, which is really cool." Sheriff Swanson would have been the one who helped us do this. Im just thankful to have a chance to speak.
22 candidates from races all over Genesee County were given three minutes to speak in front of the inmates on the fourth floor.
Several candidates spoke about the importance of education, the need for a plan to combat recidivism, and the necessity of voting.
Jamie Weasel, a candidant for Grand Blanc city council, called the opportunity a fantastic experience.
Weasel said its moving things in the right direction and letting people know you care about them. I appreciate the opportunity, he added.
The following is a full list of the candidates who spoke:
- Eric Mays - Flint City Council 1st Ward Eric MAYS Flint Town Council
- Ladel Lewis and Audrey Young - 2nd Ward Flint City Council.
- A.C. Dumas, Quincy Murphy, and Rich Jones (Write-In) - 3rd Ward Flint City Council (Read-in)
- Kate Fields - 4th Ward Flint City Council 4 Ward
- Jerri Winfrey-Carter and Joseph Schipani - 5th Ward Flint City Council 5Th Ward
- Tonya Burns, Claudia Perkins, and Chris Del Morone (Write-In) - 6th Ward Flint City Council
- Monica Galloway, Allie Herkenroder, and Lakeisha Trueaud (Write-In) - 7th Ward Flint City Council
- Flint City Council - 9th Ward (Write-In) Eva Worthing and Steve Barber (write-in)
- Vaughn Smith and Greg Hull - Burton City Council
- Jamie Weasel - Grand Blanc City Council Jamie WEASEL / Grand blanc City Manager
- Scott Grossmeyer - Fenton City Council Scott Gromeier
- Patrick Miller - Davison Township Clerk Davis On Township Assistant Clerk Patrick Mller Davisone Township Administrator Patrick Millar DavisOn Township Supervisor Patrick M. Miller
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