The East Lansing City Council has selected its two newest members. This follows the resignation of two council members, including the mayor, in July.
In a rare Saturday meeting, the council unanimously approved the appointments of Dana Watson and Ron Bacon.
Watson is a health educator with the Ingham County Health Department.
She also serves with the Capital Area Housing Partnership and the East Lansing Planning Commission.
Bacon is a therapeutic area manager who formerly chaired the East Lansing Human Relations Commission.
Both are African American.
Mayor Aaron Stephens says their appointments are historic.
“We now have a city council that is a majority (of) people of color,” Stephens noted. “I don’t think that’s ever happened before, and I want to take a moment to recognize that. Because in this conversation about equity and this conversation in this country right now…it’s a beautiful thing.”
The new members will help lead a city facing an ongoing pandemic and a looming financial deficit.
Fighting back tears, Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg acknowledged their challenges.
“I don’t know if I should say congratulations or condolences to Dana and Ron for joining us,” said Gregg. “This is going to be a really difficult year. But I’m looking forward to serving with you.”
Watson and Bacon will each serve a partial term that ends in November 2021.
They’re expected to be sworn into office before the council’s next meeting on August 11.