The voters in Lansing have spoken and Billy Blackwell will be the city’s first new mayor since the early 1990s.
Current Mayor Ken Bernard’s decision not to run for another term vacated the spot he held for 27 years, almost continuously, provided an opening for three incumbent council members — Andi Pawlowski, Don Studnicka and Blackwell — to vie for the spot.
Blackwell garnered 1,775 votes for the win. Pawlowski took 1,375 and Studnicka 517.
Blackwell is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and is currently employed with Science Applications International Corporation.
He was first elected to the council in 2003 and served until 2009. Blackwell has been a councilmember since 2011, when he won back a seat he had lost only two years earlier in a race against Janette Holdeman. He thanked the voters for helping him get to this point.
“I feel overwhelmed right now,” he said.
Blackwell credited a campaign volunteers in helping him with the victory. But he also said he campaigned hard in the city for the support.
“I think I walked over 80 percent of the city,” he said.
The voters, Blackwell said, had three good choices in a campaign that was at times hard fought.
“I want to get on with getting everything back together,” he said.