Thursday, July 29, 2021

12 seek city council terms

Four of the 12 Westland City Council candidates hoping to move onto the general election will be eliminated by voters during the Aug. 3 primary vote next Tuesday.

Eight hopefuls will move on to the November ballot and then voters will choose four of those candidates to serve on the city council. Council members are paid $17,368 annually and choose a president from among their members who is paid $18,247 annually and a president pro tem who is paid $17,802.

Incumbent James Godbout has served on the city council for more than 20 years. He is vie-president of Midwest Recycling and holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Lawrence Technological University.

Godbout, 66, participates with the Michigan Municipal League and the Nankin Transit Commission and is a member of the Westland Lions Club, the Community Foundation of Westland Board of Directors and has served as a political party precinct delegate. 

Another incumbent, Jim Hart, the current president of the city council, is also seeking reelection. Hart, 44, is a real estate consultant and a Verizon engineer. He is president of RSM Technical Solutions.

Hart hold a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Phoenix and a master's degree in information systems from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Incumbent city council member Peter Herzberg, 30, is campaigning to return to office. Herzberg, 30, earned a bachelor's degree in finance from Wayne State University and works in finance. 

The incumbents are being challenged by Sarah Austin, 41, a senior human resources specialist at LafargeHoldim. Austin earned her bachelor's degree in business administration from Eastern Michigan University.

She has been a member of the Westland Area Jaycees for 13 years and has served as president of the local group as well as serving as president of the state Jaycees. She is also a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, the VFW and has been a precinct chairperson in Westland.

Voters will also see a familiar name on the primary ballot as current Wayne Westland Board of Education President David Cox is seeking election to the city council. Cox, 63, is semi-retired and acts as a consultant at GSA Property Tax Consultants. Cox is also on the Westland TIFA board and the Westland Economic Development Corporation board. 

Candidate Michael Delph is currently employed with the City of Farmington Hills and claims 25 years of municipal employment.

Candidate Debra Fowlkes, 64, is a former member of the Wayne Westland Community Schools Board of Education. She is employed as an insurance contract administrator. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in health services administration.

Political organizer Jon Haddad, 26, is also seeking a term on the Westland City Council.

He has a bachelor's degree in political science and history from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Also seeking election is Candi Halton, 37, a small business owner with a degree in Washtenaw Community College.

Antoinette Martin, 64, is also hoping to become a member of the city council. She is retired and earned her bachelor of business administration in finance degree at Eastern Michigan University.

She is a member of the Westland Rotary Club and served on the Westland Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and the Westland Library Board of Directors.

Josh Powell, 35, is a technical analyst working in information technology. He has an associate's degree in criminal justice along with his bachelor's degree in information technology.

Melissa Sampey is also seeking a term on the council. She is 39 and is a partner and vice president of marketing and sales for TruChampions and is a healthcare communications consultant. She earned her bachelor of science degree from Eastern Michigan University.

She has volunteered with the Stephen Tulloch Foundation, Forgotten Harvest, Angels of Hope, Toys for Tots, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Detroit and Autism Speaks.