Battle Creek Voters Elect a New City Commission
It was a historic election for the City of Battle Creek, as voters chose their mayor for the first time in 60 years. When the dust settled around 6am Wednesday, when all 21 precincts were counted) Mark Behnke was the winner.
Behnke fully supported the measure to popularly elect the mayor. “We worked hard to turn around the process of electing the mayor for many years and we never got traction and we never got support. I believe the City Commission really accomplished something there by allowing the people to vote for their mayor.”
Besides Behnke, only three other current members of the Battle Creek City Commission won their races. 5th Ward Commissioner Jim Lance held off challenges by Keona Ackley and Dana Canales-Jamierson to win.
- Kaytee Faris and Sherry Sofia both were re-elected to At Large seats, but new challenger Carla Reynolds was the top vote-getter in the city election, with 9,406 votes.
- Kristin Blood, who was narrowly defeated in the 2018 election, won by a large margin to become the Ward 1 Commissioner.
- Jenasia Morris had two more votes than Ashley Lorraine Jones and 28 more votes than Aysia Rucker in an apparent win in Ward 2.
- Boonikka Herring was unopposed to become the Ward 3 Commissioner.
- Kathy Szenda Wilson is the new Ward 4 commissioner.
“Well, there’s a lot of exuberance there, I can tell you that,” said Mayor Behnke. “I’m impressed by the youthfulness of the candidates and I look forward to working with them.” Mayor Behnke noted that Ward 2 winner Jenasia Morris is only 21 years old. “I just think it's great that a student from KCC decided to run, and did well and prevailed.”
Joe Ziegler, who called into the WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins, said he was glad Behnke won the mayoral election. “He has almost 30 years of institutional memory and I think the newcomers are going to need his mentoring and guidance.” '