City Council elections: Spitzley retiring; Washington running at-large


Lansing City Council member Patricia Spitzley will not seek reelection this year, which means two at-large seats will on the ballot.

In line to fill one of them: former 1st Ward member Jody Washington.

“I think two terms are enough,” said Spitzley by phone this morning. “I only committed myself to two terms.”

She joins six-term veteran At-large member Carol Wood in hanging up their political careers. Wood, who was first elected in 1999, will have served on the Council for 24 years when a new Council member is sworn in on Jan. 1. Wood said in 2020 she planned not to seek another term.

Both Wood and Spitzley have attempted to challenge incumbent mayors, and both lost. Wood ran against Virg Bernero in 2009. Spitzley lost in the primary in 2021, coming in third to Andy Schor and former City Council member Kathy Dunbar. Schor was reelected in the fall.

Washington represented the east and north sides and REO Town  for two terms before losing in 2019 to Brandon Betz, who has since resigned.

“I have a holistic vision for Lansing,” Washington said Tuesday. I think that at this point it’s not that we are heading in the wrong direction — we’re heading in no direction. We need folks who understand we have more than one area to work on. We need to find a way to work on prospering our city without leaving the most vulnerable behind.” 

Washington has filed to run. The filing deadline is not till April 25.

Also filing for the at-large race are Lansing resident Nicklas Zande, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2nd Ward seat in the 2021 primary, and Lansing political newcomer Kalette Willis. However, since filing last May, she has relocated to East Lansing and is disqualified, said City Clerk Chris Swope. 

Claretta Duckett-Freeman, who ran in the at-large race two years ago, has also filed. In 2021, She joined forces with Dunbar and 2nd Ward Candidate Oprah Revish to present a progressive slate of women. All three lost.

In addition to two vacant at-large seats, voters in the 1st and 3rd wards will go to the polls.

Ryan Kost, whom voters selected selected in a special election in November to complete Betz’ term, has filed for a full term. Kost narrowly beat incumbent Brian Daniels, whom the Council had appointed to replace Betz initially. After his defeat, Daniels said he planned to run this year, but he didn’t respond Tuesday to a request for comment.

Third Ward Councilman Adam Hussain — Washington’s son —said he was “absolutely” seeking reelection. His ward represents southwest Lansing. He was first elected in 2015, and voters returned him to the seat in 2019. He did not face a challenger in his second run. 

“We’ve done good work in Southwest Lansing,” he said on Facebook Messenger, “but there’s much more left to do.” 


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