Saginaw city council members

Voters are bringing diversity to Washington, as well as the highest offices in Michigan.

The midterm elections brought a number of historic firsts.

Garlin Gilcrest will be the first black man to become lieutenant governor of Michigan.

Dana Nessel will be the first openly gay attorney general.

In Saginaw, Bill Ostash will be the first openly gay city council member.

The NAACP chapter in Saginaw said it was encouraging not only to see Gilcrest’s victory, but the number of black voters who voted.

“Well I’m elated whenever we see the kind of representation that we’ll get from this young man. And we worked hard all year long in the community to make sure that what happened the other day happened,” said Carl Williams, first vice president elect for the chapter.

History was also made closer to home with Ostash’s victory.

It’s a victory for the LGBTQ community, which also saw Nessel become the first openly gay person to hold statewide office in Michigan.

“Now we have that representation right. Our city council, if you look at city council right now we have nine people. Four women on the council, which is awesome. And then we have four millennials and then myself. So we’re kind of bringing those voices to the table,” Ostash said.

Ostash is making more than just history, he’s also trying to preserve it through Saginaw’s older buildings.

The former apartment complex on Millard and Jefferson is just one of many projects Ostash is looking to restore.

“Cause a lot of people look at a building like this and think, ‘oh it’s just ugly. We need to tear it down.’ But if you rethink that, it’s like what could it be,” Ostash said.

Moving forward, both Williams and Ostash said Saginaw has come far in terms of diversity, but there’s still more to be done.

“I would think that it is growing, but we still have a long way to go,” Williams said.

“We’re still missing something and that’s from the Hispanic community. We have a large Hispanic community in Saginaw. And so it would be great cause we could just get that on the council as well,” Ostash said.

Copyright 2018 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Digital Content Producer


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