Former Alder Alfreda Edwards, who thought she had retired from elected office for good, has decided to run for her old seat now that Michael Stratton has resigned from it.
Edwards (pictured) said Wednesday that she plans to seek the Ward 19 seat in an Aug. 19 special election.
Edwards held that seat, which represents Prospect Hill and part of Newhallville on the Board of Alders, for 14 years. She stepped down last year, saying she’d had enough. She enthusiastically endorsed Stratton to replace her.
Stratton won the election and started serving in January, emerging as the board’s leading opposition voice. Then he resigned from the seat this week in the wake of a police probe into the handling of a domestic incident involving him earlier this month.
“This came up so all of a sudden. The people on my street have asked me to come back,” Edwards said.
She reluctantly agreed, she said. “I’m looking just to fill in for the 18 months left in the term. I left the board on my own terms.” She said it made sense for her to step in since she already “knows the ins and outs of what’s going on downtown.” She also said she wants to see to fruition projects she has been working on in the ward with Stratton, among them a potential community garden at the corner of Sheffield Avenue and Starr Street.
She spoke highly of Stratton’s commitment to public service. “I’m saddened by the whole affair,” she said. “My heart goes out to him.”
The Democratic Ward Committee will hold a meeting Monday night to nominate a candidate. Assuming Edwards is nominated, the committee will file papers with the city clerk to make her the official Democratic nominee. If no other candidate emerges, she will automatically get the seat without a special election taking place.
Democratic Town Chairman Vincent Mauro Jr. said he supports Edwards’ candidacy.
“She is uniquely positioned as someone who knows the ward backwards and forward, who has spent 14 years understanding that neighborhood and the municipal services that it needs,” Mauro said. “I think she enjoyed retirement. This is a selfless act, getting back into the fray to add some stability.”
“I am extremely supportive. I am thrilled that she stepped up,” said ward Democratic co-chair Ethel Berger.
Asked if there is any chance she would want to run for reelection if she wins the special election, Edwards responded immediately with three words: “No. No. No.”