LANSING, Mich. — The Rev. DeMarco Taft is running a colorful campaign for an at-large seat on the Lansing City Council: colorful clothes and a colorful campaign sign that he waves on downtown streets.
He says it's an example of the plan he has for the city.
“What you see is a reflection of what I want Lansing to be. I want it to be vibrant. I want it to be exciting. I want it to be attractive. I want it to be a beacon," said Taft.
Taft is taking his talents to the street, campaigning for an at-large seat on the Lansing City Council.
Taft is a Benton Harbor native but he’s got a passion for Lansing. He spent time in Georgia, but said he returned to his home state to do something for young people. He says he now runs a church in Benton Harbor called Heaven On Earth ministries and a music studio here called Mittown Made.
"I moved here to Lansing about six years ago and opened up Mittown Made," Taft said.
Taft says part of the reason he’s running for City Council is that he’s seen a spike in violence in the city and has been victimized by it.
“I’ve seen the violence and things deteriorate and like I alluded to a little earlier I was actually attacked in my own yard by 20 gang members," said Taft.
Taft says if he wins a seat on the City Council, he will combat youth violence by offering other outlets for young people to express themselves.
“I want to use ADR. Its alternative dispute resolution. And what that does is give the youth an alternative to challenge each other and compete,” he said.
Taft wants to have youth music showcases, basketball teams and boxing teams all sponsored by the city with an annual championship game.
He says he also wants to "compartmentalize" the police department into separate divisions and establish a city-wide flea market to give entrepreneurs a platform to sell their goods.
The at-large candidate says he can accomplish his goals by working with his colleagues.
There are eight candidates running for two open at-large seats on the Council. The primary election will take place Aug. 3.
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