Detroit Councilmember Castañeda-López won’t seek third term, endorses replacement


Detroit City Councilmember Raquel Castañeda-López - JACOB LEWKOW
  • Jacob Lewkow
  • Detroit City Councilmember Raquel Castañeda-López

Raquel Castañeda-López, the first Latina elected to the Detroit City Council and one of its lone progressive voices, is not running for a third term — but is endorsing a candidate seeking to replace her.

"Serving my City and my home for the past seven years has been one of the greatest joys and highest honors of my life,” Castañeda-López said in a letter to her district, which covers southwest Detroit and a portion of downtown, Midtown and the Cass Corridor. “But I know this: this movement for social justice and an inclusive democracy was never about me. It is not just about one person or one politician — its is about the we.”

Castañeda-López is endorsing Gabriela Santiago-Romero, who was raised in Detroit and born in Mexico. Santiago-Romero is the policy and research director at the nonprofit We The People Michigan (and a former Metro Times intern).

  • Gabriela Santiago-Romero campaign
  • Gabriela Santiago-Romero.
“I’m running to serve District 6, the place that raised me and I still call home,” Santiago-Romero said in a statement announcing her candidacy. “Our residents deserve to live in a safe environment where they have access to affordable housing as well as clean air and water.”

Santiago-Romero was also endorsed by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib and state Sen. Stephanie Chang.

“Gabriela was raised in District 6 and knows the needs of our community,” Tlaib said. “From access to clean air and water, to youth and senior services, Gaby will bring hard work and a sense of urgency to the Detroit City Council. As an organizer and a social worker, she will stay engaged and accountable to the community.”

Santiago-Romero has a master’s in social work from the University of Michigan and completed the Harvard Kennedy School in the Executive Education Certificate Program. She ran for a seat on the Wayne County Board of Commissioners in 2020 and narrowly lost to a longtime incumbent.

Other council members not running for reelection are Brenda Jones, Gabe Leland, and Andre Spivey. The primary election is Aug. 3.

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