Talking Eastpointe With Macomb County’s First African American Mayor, Monique Owens

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Most people in our region live in the suburbs, and we’ve found many want to know about their — and their neighbors — communities. so today’s conversation is a continuation of our occasional series visiting the various cities that, well, frankly, are not Detroit proper.

Eastpointe is a city of about 32,000 people, bordered by Eight Mile on the south, I-94 to the east, about 10 Mile to the north, with Hayes and Beechwood on the west.

It’s full of single-family houses, tasty food, and a grid street pattern like much of it’s big neighbor to the south. First incorporated as the village of “Halfway,” as it was halfway between Detroit and the county seat of Mount Clemens on horseback. 

In 1929, it became the city of East Detroit — and in 1992, the city changed its name again to Eastpointe. The goal was to associate it more with the more affluent and nearby Grosse Pointes, complete with adding an “e” on the end of “point.”

It’s also the only Michigan city to use ranked-choice voting, after a lawsuit that was settled with the U.S. Department of Justice that the previous system discriminated against African American voters.

So our guest is the first black mayor in Macomb county, Monique Owens. 

I met up with her in Eastpointe and we had a wide-ranging conversation about the city she represents, how it fits into the region, and what’s next. 

We’ll also share a couple things you should know around town.

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