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Cockrel: Emergency management factor in decision not to run

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Ken Cockrel, Junior has decided not to seek re-election to Detroit City Council. Ken Cockrel, Junior has decided not to seek re-election to Detroit City Council.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

For nearly 16 years on City Council, Ken Cockrel, Junior has served the City of Detroit, and now it is time, he says, to move on.

"When I ran four years ago for re-election for this term, kind of had it in my head that this is probably going to be the last time," Cockrel said.  "It makes sense, I think, for me at this point to step on and try to do something a little different.  I will miss it, though."

Cockrel said the diminished role of council amid emergency management also factored into his decision not to run for another term.

"It's a factor from the standpoint of placing a question mark over certain things like how much money I'm going to make because obviously like... anybody else, I got a mortgage to pay, home insurance," he remarked.

Cockrel is well aware that these are tough times, but that is not new for him.  He has been through some of the city's most turbulent moments, including the embarrassing antics of former Council Member Monica Conyers and the disgrace that ended the career of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and sent him to prison.  

However, it was that resignation that elevated then City Council President Ken Cockrel, Junior to mayor of Detroit for a short time, and that is when, he told us, he helped achieve one of his finest accomplishments.

"Being able to put together the legislation that led to the creation of the Cobo Hall Regional Authority, that's something I'm obviously very proud of," he said.

Cockrel is also proud of getting 62 miles of new bike lines throughout the city.  He said he is still dedicated to Detroit, might teach politics at a local college and will be paying close attention to city affairs after he leaves council at the end of this term.

As for Detroit under emergency management, Cockrel said he thinks we will see some action from Kevyn Orr in the near future.

"My prediction is that probably sometime after the first of the month, that's when you're going to start to see some actions, and I suspect some of those will probably be controversial," he told us.

Cockrel said Detroit needs to make the best of a bad situation, meaning emergency management.  In the long run, though, he said Detroit ultimately needs people and businesses to make their homes there.

"We've got to grow the city, but I think we've got to get better before we can get bigger," he said.

Cockrel believes the city can get better.

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