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Mayor avoids primary in run for third term

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published May 10, 2015

 Mayor Jim Fouts will face just one challenger, resident Karen Spranger, in his run for a third four-year term.

Mayor Jim Fouts will face just one challenger, resident Karen Spranger, in his run for a third four-year term.

(File photo by Deb Jacques)

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WARREN — Mayor Jim Fouts will face just one challenger, resident Karen Spranger, in his run for a third four-year term as Warren’s top administrator.

The withdrawal of two other candidates and the death of a third — career journalist Hawke Fracassa passed away suddenly April 30 — means there will not be a mayoral primary in August.

Fouts served more than 25 years on the City Council before he left under term limits and ran for mayor in 2007. He said he’d welcome a challenge from anyone wishing to run but that he believes a majority of residents support his administration.

He amassed more than 80 percent of the total vote in the 2011 mayoral election against his opponent, former City Councilwoman Kathy Vogt.

“The water is warm. Everybody is welcome to get in,” Fouts said of this year’s campaign.

With the ballot now set for the election, Fouts said he looks forward to new commercial development along Van Dyke in the coming months and to overseeing a proposed budget that he called “stable” and “status quo.”

Spranger, a local activist who in the past has opposed utility smart meters, named Fouts in three separate recall petitions last year, but Macomb County elections officials ruled that each of them lacked sufficient clarity and declared them invalid. She also was the first candidate to officially enter the mayor’s race when she filed last June.

“There’s a lot of stuff that I believe we need to correct,” Spranger said. “I’m open to people’s suggestions.”

She said she’d push for an updated master plan for the city and a renewed emphasis on improving Warren’s south-end neighborhoods.

“Our community is the third-largest city, and what are we doing? We are still in the ancient times,” Spranger said. “We have not enforced an upgrade, specifically with the master plan. Look how old it is.”

Without the need for a mayoral primary, Fouts and Spranger will appear on the ballot for the general election Nov. 3.

In other Warren election news, City Clerk Paul Wojno will run unopposed for a third four-year term at City Hall.

Incumbent City Treasurer Carolyn Kurkowski Moceri will face challenger Lorie Barnwell in November.

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