Janee Ayers approved for open Detroit City Council seat

Detroit City Council members were deadlocked on the final two candidates to replace Saunteel Jenkins who stepped down last year.

On Tuesday that deadlock was broken when Janee Ayers was tapped for the open seat.

Council president Brenda Jones and president pro-tem George Cushingberry persuaded councilman Andre Spivey to change his vote for the sixth and deciding vote.

Debra Walker had told City Council members she would be fun to work with, while working hard to create a stimulating work environment.

Instead, they chose Ayers, a union official and former Detroit Recreation Department play leader.

"I am passionate, I am skilled and I am a principled individual who makes sure to serve with fortitude and steadfastness," Ayers said.

When councilman Gabe Leland asked to her talk about a challenge in her life, Ayers said she grew up in a single-family home because her father ended up in prison.

"But instead of those being roadblocks for me, I allowed them to be things that set me up to be the person that I am," she said.

Because she's only 33, Ayers adds another young member to a relatively inexperienced city council. 

But Ayers cautioned her new colleagues against assuming that she will be a rubber stamp for union matters.

"I can assure everyone sitting at this table that I have the ability to think outside of just what my base is," she said. "The bottom line is what makes sense for the people of the city of Detroit.

"That is where my dedication is and that's where my priority lies."

The council passed over some impressive candidates narrowing the field from 137 to two. Ayers' seat will be up for election next year.
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