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Kenneth Cockrel Jr.

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Kenneth Vern "Ken" Cockrel Jr 2 born 1965 is an American politician and journalist from the state of Michigan who served as the 73rd mayor of Detroit 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 after pleading guilty to state charges about his conduct in office This resulted in Cockrel succeeding him as the Mayor of Detroit34

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, to complete the rest of the term On May 11, 2009, Bing was sworn in as the new Mayor of Detroit and Cockrel returned to his position as Council President56

Cockrel was replaced as President of the Detroit City Council and sat as a regular council member On April 23, 2013, he announced that he would not run for re-election78


  • 1 Background
  • 2 Mayoralty
  • 3 Post-political career
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


Cockrel is the son of Kenneth Cockrel, Sr November 5, 1938 – April 25, 1989, a former Detroit city council member and attorney He was a self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist who died from a heart attack9 Ken's mother was Carol Cockrel, a schoolteacher He is a graduate of the St Florian Church Hamtramck, Michigan High School He graduated , cum laude from Wayne State University and wrote for the Detroit Free Press

He entered politics and was elected as a Wayne County commissioner In 1997, Cockrel became the youngest person ever elected to the Detroit City Council10 He became council president pro tempore in 2001, and was elevated to council president in 2005, receiving more votes than any other city council candidate in that year's election He was 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 days11

Cockrel enjoys science fiction and action films He concluded his inaugural address with quotes from Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Star Trek12

He and his wife Kimberly have two sons, Kenneth III and Kyle Vincent, and three daughters, Kennedy Victoria, Kendal Imani and Kayla Lanette13 Former councilwoman Sheila Cockrel is his stepmother14


As Council President, Cockrel was first in the order of succession to assume the Mayor's Office if a vacancy occurred Due to the fallout from the text-messaging scandal, on September 4, 2008, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and agreed to resign effective September 18, 2008, at midnight15 Under the City Charter, Cockrel became interim mayor and a special election was ordered

As he became mayor, Cockrel stated that he planned to review the city budget, due to uncertainty around whether Kilpatrick was honest with the city council about the state of the city's finances, and perhaps to renegotiate a pending deal with the city of Windsor, Ontario related to the cities' management of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel16 Under the existing deal, Windsor would have taken over full management of the tunnel in exchange for a $75 million loan to Detroit17 Cockrel suggested that he would prefer to work out a new deal in which the two cities maintained joint management of the tunnel Windsor mayor Eddie Francis stated that he was confident that he could maintain a strong working relationship with Cockrel17

Cockrel was defeated by Dave Bing, former Detroit Pistons star and Detroit businessman, in a special election on May 5, 2009 to finish the remainder of Kilpatrick's term, set to expire January 1, 2010, at midnight18 Following certification of the vote and Bing taking office on May 11, 2009, Cockrel returned to his position as City Council President18

Post-political careeredit

Cockrel serves as the executive director of Habitat for Humanity Detroit19


  1. ^ "Duggan sworn in as Detroit's 75th mayor" Michigan Public Radio January 1, 2014 Retrieved January 22, 2014 
  2. ^ Ken and Sheila Cockrel Collection at Wayne State University
  3. ^ "Ken Cockrel sworn in secretly as Detroit mayor", Detroit News, September 17, 2008
  4. ^ "Preparations made to swear in Cockrel as Detroit's mayor", Detroit Free Press, September 4, 2008
  5. ^ Zachary Gorchow and Namomi R Patton, "Bing takes oath as mayor; Conyers accuses Cockrel of locking her out", Detroit Free Press, May 11, 2009
  6. ^ Tammy Stables Battaglia, "Bing says he's ready to lead", Detroit Free Press, May 6, 2009
  7. ^ Statement of Council Member Kenneth Cockrel Jr
  8. ^ "Detroit Councilman Cockrel won't seek re-election in November", Detroit News
  9. ^ http://wwjtvcom/etc/KenCockrelSr2925550html
  10. ^ Donnelly, Francis X 2008-09-19 "His own man: Quiet conciliator leaves shadow of father, Kilpatrick" Detroit News Retrieved 2008-09-19 
  11. ^ "The next in line: Cockrel not eager, but ready to be mayor if Kilpatrick leaves post", Crain's Detroit Business, February 11, 2008
  12. ^ "Cockrel Jr Sworn In As New Detroit Mayor", WDIVcom, September 19, 2008
  13. ^ "Biographical Sketch Of Incoming Mayor", WDIVcom, September 4, 2008
  14. ^ Members: Charter restricts impact, Detroit News, 2001
  15. ^ Susan Saulny September 4, 2008 "Detroit Mayor Pleads Guilty and Resigns" New York Times Retrieved January 14, 2014 
  16. ^ "Cockrel has transition team ready just in case" Detroit Free Press Retrieved 2008-09-05 
  17. ^ a b "Tunnel deal not dead, Francis says" Windsor Star Archived from the original on 2009-02-27 Retrieved 2008-09-05 
  18. ^ a b Suzette Hackney, Zachary Gorchow, Naomi R Patton and Ben Schmitt May 6, 2009 "NBA great Dave Bing elected as Detroit mayor" USA Today Retrieved January 22, 2014 CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter link
  19. ^ "Leadership" Habitat for Humanity Detroit Retrieved 11 July 2017 
  • Bing Elected Mayor of Detroit

External linksedit

  • Detroit portal
  • Biography portal
  • Kenneth V and Sheila M Cockrel Papers at the Walter P Reuther Library
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
Political offices
Preceded by
Kwame Kilpatrick
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by
Dave Bing

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Kenneth Cockrel Jr.

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