Seven years ago today, a Detroit City Council President stepped up and stepped in to a role he did not seek at the time -- Mayor of Detroit.
Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr. was sworn in as Mayor on September 18, 2008 and began to rebuild a city left in shambles from its' previous mayor who was taken away in shackles.
Mayor Cockrel rebuilt the Administration, removed people who stood in the way of progress, worked to get a handle of the city's financial situation, worked to restore trust in government, worked to repair a damaged and tarnished reputation, and Cockrel began to deal with one of the worst economic crises in our recent history, in regards to the recession and the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler.
During his brief tenure as Mayor, Ken showed tremendous passion for Detroit and courage as its leader. He made decisions that were not necessarily politically popular, but decisions made because at the time and given the situation, it was the right thing to do.
I was proud and honored to serve as Ken's Press Secretary and as the Communications Director for the City of Detroit, and serve at Mayor's side during one of the most critical points in Detroit's history to bare witness at how Detroit would eventually become America's most inspiring municipal underdog.
It was truly a turning point for the city and at the time, Ken Cockrel was the best person to help turn Detroit turn around.
Although Ken did not have the opportunity to finish the job he started as Mayor, let alone start many programs he and his staff developed, he did restore people's faith in government.
With limited resources it was Ken Cockrel that assumed the leadership role in turning Detroit around. A role that Mayor Dave Bing assumed with more time to figure out what was wrong in the city and more time to come up with solutions which he did with tremendous success despite the city's dire financial situation. Now Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan continues to find solutions to new problems and problems that have been lingering for decades. However, Mayor Duggan is serving a city that looks much different than the one Ken and I worked in and for years ago.
We started Rebuilding Detroit again and we are grateful for those that came after us, who have the same passion and the same mission to see Detroit succeed and thrive -- to no longer be seen as an example of the Rust Belt, but to be seen as the benchmark for what other city's should want to strive to become.