After reviewing the qualifications of the seven candidates who interviewed for the 12th District City Council seat, Council members voted in Carl Stokes on Monday. With a $121 million budget deficit, the Council felt Stokes’ experience as a former councilman was best for the city at this time. He represented the 2nd District from 1987-1995.

“I had the opportunity to work with Carl Stokes when he was in the Council back in the ‘90s,” said City Council Vice President Ed Reisinger. “I remember what kind of public servant he was. The other candidates were strong advocates for the community, but in my opinion, we needed someone with Stokes’ caliber.”

Reisinger of District 1 said that Stokes did “a great job” working in his former district and anticipates the same display of hard work and dedication in his new office. He described the returning councilman as “very independent.”

“My decision with Carl was basically pragmatic,” said Reisinger. “We’re going through some difficult times and we need someone that’s prudent and has some experience.”

Councilman Jim Kraft of District 1 has also known Stokes for many years and appreciates the fact that Stokes already understands how to maneuver through city government. Kraft wanted to find a councilman who can balance challenges posed by the budget with providing services to the city and believes Stokes is able to do that based on his prior experience.

“The other applicants would have spent a lot of time learning that,” Kraft said. “All of them had unique things that qualified them for the Council, but given the present situation, there just was not enough time to fully educate them and bring them up to speed. Given the fact that we are in all likelihood going to have to reduce our level of services, you’re going to have to know who to send the email to and who to call,” Kraft said. That’s going to truly help the 12th District because Carl knows those people.”