Harper Woods residents cast votes in local races, select new judge

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published November 18, 2020



HARPER WOODS — While much of the nation’s attention was on the presidential race, numerous local elections also were on the ballot Nov. 3, and voters in Harper Woods and Detroit cast their votes for a variety of candidates and measures.

Harper Woods Clerk Leslie Frank reported that it was a smooth election with a good turnout, although there was one hiccup when a ballot tabulator at Precinct 4 temporarily went offline. She said the matter was quickly resolved.

“We had 65.25% turnout from voters. We had 62% or 63% turnout during the election four years ago. We have 12,577 registered voters and 8,207 voted this year, including both in-person and absentee ballots,” said Frank. “When I was alerted to the problem with the ballot machine, I went over there myself to get it up and running. We called someone from Dominion, that runs support for the machines, to get it repaired and alerted the county. We had a huge number of AV ballots this year; 2,951 of them voted in person and 5,256 were absentee ballots. Everything went very well.”

Democrat Brenda Lawrence will remain the U.S. House representative for the 14th District for another two years. She received 264,205 votes. Lawrence defeated Republican Robert Vance Patrick, who received 62,486 votes; Libertarian Lisa Gioia, who received 3,687 votes; Working Class Party candidate Philip Colody, who received 2,476 votes; and Green Party candidate Clyde Shabazz, who received 1,942 votes.

Democrat Tenisha Yancey also will remain in office, serving as the District 1 State House Representative for another two years after receiving 29,724 votes. She beat out Republican Latricia Lanier, who received 8,698 votes; and Libertarian Gregory Creswell, who received 785 votes.

Wayne County District 1 Commissioner Tim Killeen ran unopposed and will retain his seat for the next two years.

The judge of the 32A District Court will be Rebekah Coleman after she defeated incumbent Daniel Palmer 3,801 to 3,353 votes, or 52.86% to 46.63%. She will serve for the next six years.

“I am very excited to be the next judge of Harper Woods. I plan to bring a lot of positive changes, and I think the city is ready for it,” said Coleman. “Court is going to be a full-time operation, Monday through Friday. We need more community engagement to bridge the gap between the community and the judiciary. We will bring a lot of exciting programs forward such as literacy training, alternative sentencing, legal aid for the civil and landlord-tenant division, and drug and sobriety treatment programs. I also will be going after more grants to get the resources this court needs.”

Palmer said he was proud to serve the people of Harper Woods as judge and hopes to continue to be an active part of the community.

“I want to thank the city of Harper Woods to allow me to be their district judge for the past six years,” he said. “It’s been an exceptional honor and privilege. I’m proud of the advancements that the court has made during that period, including implementation of a mental health court, truancy diversion court and bail reform. I want to thank my staff of hardworking professionals that have made it a joy to come to work every day, and I wish my successor the best of luck in her first term on the bench.”

Coleman also thanked those who supported her throughout the election.

“I want to thank all of the voters for coming out to exercise their right to vote,” she remarked. “This right is one of the most vital things we can do as American citizens, so it’s always important to take advantage of it in every election. I also want to thank them for believing in me and trusting me to serve them and bring about the necessary changes Harper Woods deserves.”

Three candidates ran unopposed for three seats on the Harper Woods Board of Education. Newcomers Ramona Dunn Simmons and Stacey White will join incumbent M. Joan Mannino for the next three years.

Fifteen candidates ran for four four-year terms on the Grosse Pointe Board of Education. Ahmed Ismail received the most votes with 11,496. He will be joined by Colleen Worden, who received 10,945 votes; Lisa Papas, who received 9,972 votes; and David Brumbaugh, who received 9,844 votes. The other candidates included incumbent Kathleen Abke, George Bailey, Sherry Betcher, Christopher D’Angelo, Cynthia Douglas, Jennifer Goossen, James Joseph, Keersten Colleen Kassab, Lauren Nowicki, incumbent Cindy Pangborn and Shareef Simaika.

Three candidates also ran for a partial term ending on Dec. 31, 2022, on the Grosse Pointe school board with incumbent Joseph Herd coming out on top with 11,132 votes. He defeated John Steininger, who received 9,455 votes, and Theresa Vogler, who received 6,066 votes.

Voters in Wayne County also decided whether to renew the Regional Educational Service Agency enhancement millage. Voters decided to continue the measure, which provides approximately $80 million for school districts in Wayne County each year. It passed by a margin of 495,282 to 232,908 votes, or 68.02% to 31.98%.

“We want to thank voters in communities across Wayne County for renewing the regional enhancement millage, especially during these uncertain times,” Dr. Randy Liepa, the Wayne RESA superintendent, said in a press release. “Thanks to the support of voters, Wayne County schools will continue to receive this critical funding for programs that provide our students with the skills they need to succeed.”