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Kenneth Cockrel, Jr

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Kenneth Cockrel, Jr

Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr.
69th Mayor of Detroit
In office
September 19, 2008 – May 11, 2009
Preceded by Kwame Kilpatrick
Succeeded by Dave Bing
President of the Detroit City Council
In office
September 30, 2005 – September 18, 2008
Preceded by Maryann Mahaffey
Succeeded by Monica Conyers
In office
May 11, 2009 – December 31, 2009
Preceded by Monica Conyers
Succeeded by Charles Pugh
Personal details
Born (1965-10-29) October 29, 1965 (age 48)
Detroit, Michigan
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Kimberly Cockrel
Alma mater Wayne State University
Profession Journalist, Politician

Kenneth Vern "Ken" Cockrel, Jr. [1] (born October 29, 1965) is a Michigan politician who became mayor of Detroit on September 19, 2008. He was president of the Detroit City Council from 2005 until September 17, 2008, when he was sworn in as the interim mayor, with his term in office beginning September 19. The previous mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick had announced on September 4, 2008 that he would resign, causing the duties of the Mayor of Detroit to fall upon Cockrel.[2][3]

On May 5, 2009, former Detroit Pistons player and businessman Dave Bing defeated Cockrel 52% to 48% in a special election for Mayor of Detroit. On May 11, 2009, Bing was sworn in as the new Mayor of Detroit and Cockrel returned to his position as Council President.[4][5]

Cockrel is no longer President of the Detroit City Council and now sits as a regular council member. On April 23, 2013 he announced that he would not run for re-election.[6][7]


Cockrel, a cum laude graduate of Wayne State University, is a former writer for the Detroit Free Press and a former Wayne County commissioner. He is the son of Kenneth Cockrel, Sr. (November 5, 1938-April 25, 1989), a former Detroit city council member, attorney and self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist who died from a heart attack,[8] and Carol Cockrel, a schoolteacher. He is a graduate of the St. Florian Church (Hamtramck, Michigan) High School.

In 1997, Cockrel became the youngest person ever elected to the Detroit City Council.[9] He became council president pro tempore in 2001, and was elevated to council president in 2005 after receiving more votes than any other city council candidate in that year's election. He is viewed by the city's business community as a moderate consensus-builder. In his first term as a city councillor, he secured passage of an ordinance requiring the city to pay vendors and contractors for goods and services within 45 days.[10]

Cockrel enjoys science fiction and action films. He concluded his inaugural address with quotes from Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Star Trek.[11]

He and his wife Kimberly have two sons, Kenneth III and Kyle Vincent, and three daughters, Kennedy Victoria, Kendal Imani and Kayla Lanette.[12] Former councilwoman Sheila Cockrel is his stepmother.[13]


As he became mayor, Cockrel stated that he planned to review the city budget, due to uncertainty around whether Kilpatrick was fully honest with the city council about the state of the city's finances, and to potentially renegotiate a pending deal with the city of Windsor, Ontario around management of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.[14] The existing deal would have seen Windsor take over full management of the tunnel in exchange for a $75 million loan to Detroit,[15] although Cockrel suggested that he would prefer to work out a new deal which would see the two cities maintain joint management of the tunnel. Windsor mayor Eddie Francis stated that he was confident that he could maintain a strong working relationship with Cockrel.[15]


  • Bing Elected Mayor of Detroit

External links

  • City Council Webpage from City of Detroit website
Political offices
Preceded by
Kwame Kilpatrick
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by
Dave Bing

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