FLINT, MI — The youngest person ever elected to the Flint City Council is leaving before he grows old.
3rd Ward Councilman Santino Guerra announced Thursday, Feb. 4, that he will not seek a second term in office to clear the way for others interested in the job and to give candidates enough time to organize their own campaigns.
“I really have enjoyed it but I think it’s time to give somebody else an opportunity,” Guerra said. “I intend on staying in the city for now. My roots are here.”
Guerra was 19 when he was elected to a four-year term on the council in 2017.
He and the other eight council members are up for re-election this year. An Aug. 3 election will narrow the field of candidates in each ward down to two, with the Nov. 2 election to determine the winners.
Guerra said his decision was not the result of in-fighting or marathon meetings that have become common recently.
“I kind of anticipated it being contentious,” he said. “I do feel like it’s gotten slightly worse.”
Just last month, Guerra announced he had contracted coronavirus, but he said Thursday that he’s recovered from the virus and it wasn’t a factor in his decision.
Guerra, who works as a corrections deputy for the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, studied criminal justice and sociology at the University of Michigan-Flint. He defeated incumbent Kerry Nelson to win his seat on the council in 2017 and survived a recall attempt later that same year.
In October, he was targeted a second time for recall, but the Genesee County Election Commission rejected petition language filed against him, saying it was unclear and potentially confusing for voters.
Guerra ran for state representative in a special January 2020 election to finish the term of Sheldon Neeley, who left the state Legislature after he was elected mayor of Flint.
In that race for 34th District representative, Guerra finished third in a field 10 Democrats.
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