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Lansing City Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar on why she should be mayor

Kathie Dunbar
Posted at 4:40 PM, Oct 27, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — When asked why she should be Lansing's next mayor, City Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar says the record of her opponent, Mayor Andy Schor, speaks for itself.

"We have a man in office right now that has eight racial discrimination lawsuits pending in court from current and former employees," she said. "We have a man who has been allergic to accountability when it comes to the death in the jail, still insists that it was a medical incident even though the coroner has ruled a homicide. And not one policy has changed because of that.

"I feel like I have a far better grasp on the needs of marginalized folks in the community," Dunbar said.

She says that's because of the position she holds in her non-profit, the South Lansing Community Development Association. She works with people who are unhoused, needing emergency shelter, and helps find them resources.

"I have a unique perspective from the grassroots side of things and from the municipal side of things. And I'm also really excited to bring some positive change to Lansing," Dunbar said.

Lansing is experiencing record levels of gun violence right now and Dunbar says the city has absolutely not done enough to fight it.

"This administration decided to put together a gun violence task force on which [Schor's] department heads serve," she said. "They have no experience outside of the police chief, not one of them has an experience education background in any kind of violence intervention at all. So it's odd to me to put your communications director or your finance director on an initiative that's meant to curb gun violence in the city."

She says the city isn't working hard enough to address the root causes of crime such as poverty and inequity.

Last year Dunbar embraced a resolution that would cut the police department budget by 20 percent. Since then, she has shifted her position on these cuts.

"When I signed on to that resolution, it was in committee, and we knew that it wasn't going to come out of committee like that," she said. "So I didn't author the resolution, I definitely think that we need to reallocate funds. But I did not want a number absolute on that resolution."

She has it didn't have a number when it came to the floor. It was then tabled and moved back to committee and never moved on.

"I stand by my position that we need to be allocating resources in the most effective way to achieve the results that we want," she said. "People have been conditioned to believe that the size of a police budget equals increased public safety. Study after study shows that that is not the case. There is not a correlation in the amount spent or the number of officers employed. It is deployment and allocation of resources."

When asked what her top priorities would be, Dunbar says it's making sure city employees feel valued, police reform and affordable housing.

"The first thing that I want to do is ensure all of the city employees that they are valued, they are respected, and that their concerns will be heard," Dunbar said.

"Second one is obviously police reform. As I said earlier, we haven't changed the policy in the jail after the death of Anthony Hulon. If, as this mayor believes all policies and procedures were followed to plan, and that there's no accountability for any of these officers for doing anything wrong, but we still had a death result, then we need to change the policies."

Dunbar went into the election against a better-funded incumbent - Schor has outraised her by hundreds of thousands of dollars - but some observers say her campaign hasn't been very visible and asked why she hasn't run harder.

"My folks are grassroots," Dunbar said. "They are residents of Lansing. They are my friends and family. And we have run a very thin but substantive campaign. We have walked doors, we are doing mailers right now.

"We're obviously up against a Democratic machine," she added, "and I say machine because there are vested interests behind people who have endorsed him, needing him to be there to fulfill other roles down the line. And I don't play that way."

Dunbar says its time to look at change. She encourages people who believe in racial equity, curbing discrimination and retaliation and in accountability in the police department to vote for her.

"I would say that if you are no better off now than you were three and a half years ago, consider the change," Dunbar said.

Election day is Tuesday Nov. 2nd. Tune into FOX 47 News. We will have live coverage as those ballots are being counted and rolling in. Ballots are being counted and rolling in.

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Tianna Jenkins

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