20 year Ward 3 official, Ken Stokes, challenged by 2

For the past 20 years, voters in Ward 3 have gone to the polls and elected Councilman Kenneth Stokes.

Now two men – Harrison Michael and Albert Wilson – are trying to launch grass-roots campaigns to change that trend.

Both face a tough political battle. Stokes has worked since 1989 to build a network of support.

He is known to pause a phone conversation to yell hello to a constituent passing by and to hold regular community meetings.

In 2005, Stokes won the Democratic primary with about 72 percent of the vote.

But at a series of recent Ward 3 council forums – which Stokes did not attend – residents said they are open to the idea of new leadership.

“I feel like Mr. Stokes, he’s been there a while,” said Johnnie Davis, a Ward 3 resident. “We need somebody to come in with some new ideas.”

Clarion Ledger