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Remembering Eric Mays: Flint’s Outspoken Councilman and Advocate


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Flint, Michigan mourns the loss of one of its most prominent civic figures, third-term Councilman Eric Mays, who passed away at the age of 65 on Saturday. Mays, known for his unwavering dedication to his constituents and his bold presence in local politics, leaves behind a legacy marked by both controversy and advocacy, particularly during the Flint water crisis.

First elected in 2013, Mays quickly became a fixture in Flint’s political landscape, representing the city’s First Ward with passion and conviction. His outspoken nature earned him both admirers and critics, but he remained steadfast in his commitment to serving the community.

The news of Mays’ passing was met with an outpouring of tributes from fellow officials and community members alike. Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley described Mays as a beloved figure whose absence will be deeply felt, urging the community to respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.

U.S. Representative Dan Kildee, a former classmate of Mays, reminisced about their lifelong friendship and praised Mays’ dedication to serving Flint. Despite the challenges and controversies he faced, Mays’ constituents continuously re-elected him, a testament to his unwavering voice and dedication to their interests.

Judy Priestly, Fourth Ward Council Member, acknowledged Mays’ advocacy for his constituents, noting his presence as a vocal advocate despite occasional confrontations. She described him as someone who deeply cared about the city and its residents, even amidst disagreements with fellow council members.

Ladel Lewis, Flint City Council President, hailed Mays’ contributions to the city, emphasizing his tireless commitment to improving the community. Mays’ legacy, Lewis noted, will endure as a testament to his unwavering dedication to Flint and its residents.

Despite his contributions, Mays’ tenure was not without its controversies. He frequently clashed with fellow council members and was known for his fiery outbursts during meetings. In 2020, he was removed from his vice president and Finance Committee chair positions after a contentious exchange with President Monica Galloway.

Mays’ advocacy extended beyond the council chambers, particularly during the Flint water crisis. As one of the first officials to raise concerns about water quality, he fought tirelessly for accountability and justice for affected residents. His efforts often made him a lone voice in the political arena, but he remained resolute in his pursuit of truth and justice.

Throughout his career, Mays faced legal challenges stemming from his outspoken demeanor, including convictions for disorderly conduct and disturbances at council meetings. Despite these obstacles, he continued to advocate for his constituents and remained a vocal presence in Flint politics until his passing.

As Flint mourns the loss of Eric Mays, the city reflects on his legacy as a passionate advocate, dedicated public servant, and fearless voice for the community. Though his absence leaves a void in local politics, his spirit of advocacy and commitment to justice will continue to inspire generations to come.

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