In the past four years, he would have difficulty pointing to progress in his ward.
There are bad streets and abandoned houses. If there is economic development in the city, it has escaped this part of town. That is not a description that Ward 3’s hard-working citizens deserve. It has been forced on them by a lack of representation that, with each passing year, leads to further deterioration.
Kenneth Stokes has been king of Ward 3 since he was first elected in 1989 as its councilman.
He manages the ward and its citizens with a self-confidence that has been validated by his repeated return to office. He doesn’t just beat the competition at election time; he trounces them to the point where many wouldn’t consider another run. In the 2005 election, his nearest opponent received 897 votes while King Stokes got 4,534.
Stokes has connected with the residents of Ward 3 in ways that might baffle outsiders but are understandable to the people who believe in him. If they so much as walk a dog across the street, they’ll soon find themselves at City Hall being presented with a proclamation for good citizenship. He honors them incessantly, visits them when they’re sick, mourns them when they pass away.
He has mastered the art of the people part of politics, forgoing any attempt at working on the details of the important office he holds. For the minutiae of politics, he has been given a pass. He represents a group of mostly working-class people in a ward that has some 14,500 registered voters.