Stone makes history, defeats Dimas in Warren mayoral race

Women now have all 3 elected administrative posts at City Hall

By: Gena Johnson | Warren Weekly | Published November 8, 2023

 Lori Stone defeated George Dimas in Warren's mayoral election Nov. 7. She is the first woman to be elected mayor in the city's history, which goes back to 1957.

Lori Stone defeated George Dimas in Warren's mayoral election Nov. 7. She is the first woman to be elected mayor in the city's history, which goes back to 1957.

File photo by Patricia O'Blenes


WARREN — Lori Stone, a career educator who left the classroom for a seat in the state Legislature, made history on Nov. 7 as the first woman to be elected mayor of Warren.

According to the unofficial election results shared by Macomb County elections officials, Stone received 11,876 votes (53.1%) and defeated George Dimas (10,488 votes, 46.9%), a former longtime city councilman and Warren’s current human resources director under outgoing Mayor Jim Fouts.

When she officially takes the oath of office, Stone will become Warren’s ninth mayor and the first woman to hold the office in the city’s history, which goes back to 1957.

“This was the result of months and months and months of planning, preparation and work in the community,” Stone said.

“I am thrilled and humbled and overall honored, not to mention exhausted and exhilarated,” she said.

Stone was with supporters when the election returns came in.

“I had the honor of being with family and friends who have supported me through this endeavor. Just overwhelmed. That we’ve accomplished what we set out for in asking for the support of the community,” Stone said. “I was thrilled to be able to share it with the people that I’ve worked hardest on this campaign with.”

As mayor, Stone will have approximately 40 appointments to fill. She can bring in her own people or use some or all from the previous administration.

“We are going to look at what the positions are. How they have been utilized in the past, and make sure that we have the best people representing the interests of Warren residents,” Stone said.  “I don’t have a predetermined roster filled yet. That is very much part of the process.”

Stone described what she wants for her administration and this transition period.

“Going into this transition it’s about listen, learn, lead,” Stone said.

“And that comes with listening to employees and departments,” she added. “That looks like listening to residents, learning about what the needs are, what we can do better, starting to plan those projects and priorities.”

“Make sure to take the time to listen to council members, what their concerns are, what their priorities are, so I can find ways that we can collaborate and work together, and it starts with listening at the heart of planning what comes next,” Stone said.

Reached for comment after the election, Dimas wished Stone well.

“I’d like to wish her (Lori Stone) the very best in her new position as mayor of the third largest city,” Dimas said. “I wish her success in the opportunity to represent the people of Warren, (to) build a better community, to provide good services, good parks and recreation opportunities for its residents.”

Dimas served 32 years on the Warren City Council and worked in various administrations.

“I have enjoyed working for the city in various capacities over the years for our residents in Warren,” Dimas said. “I would like to thank them for the support they have given me over the years as an elected official.”

Dimas has no plans for retirement and said it is too early to pinpoint exactly what he is going to do when the new administration comes in.

“I am certainly confident that I will find something that will keep me in mainstream America, working at one capacity or another. I enjoy being busy. I enjoy having a balance in life between work and time off,” Dimas said.


Woman leading at City Hall
Women are now at the helm of Warren city government, holding all three elected administrative posts after the Nov. 7 election.

Stone will begin a four-year term as mayor. Incumbent City Clerk Sonja Buffa was elected to her second four-year term of office, and incumbent City Treasurer Lorie Barnwell will begin her third four-year term.

“All three women have shown they are committed to public service, committed to making the city a better place to live in,” said Christina Hines, president of the Women of Warren, a nonprofit created, according to Hines, to empower and advance the interests of women through education, support, building community, promoting understanding and inclusion, and celebrating each woman’s unique gifts.

“It shows the rest of the state that Warren is going to be moving forward. It’s a place where everybody, especially women, can be safe and live fulfilling lives and give back to the community,” Hines said.

Buffa received 11,885 votes (53.8%) to defeat challenger Mai Xiong (10,197 votes, 46.2%), who currently serves on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners and represents residents of the board’s District 11.

Barnwell ran unopposed this year.

“First, I want to say thank you so much to the Warren residents for giving me this honor to be their treasurer for another term,” said Barnwell. “We have laid very strong foundations for our technology these first two terms; I want to make it even stronger.”

“We plan to add more departments to our payment portal, adding more ways for residents to be engaged online with the city of Warren,” Barnwell said. “Water, tax, and some building (fees) can be paid online. We want to see other departments on there so residents can conveniently go to one place to take care of all their city business.”

Barnwell added, “What I would like to do is have part of the city website specifically called ‘financial transparency.’ That is where our city budgets can be listed. Residents can get a greater breakdown of the fund balance and what our financial goals are. Now a lot of those things are available but you kind of have to dig for them. I want residents to be able to go to one location and be able to see in a user-friendly way all of the financial disclosures and also things we are looking to do in the future.”