Grande Prairie elects two black lawmakers to city council for the first time

“We need young people to take that step and be active in public office,” said Steve “Junior” Ezenou, the youngest member of the Grand Prairie City Council.

Grand Prairie, Texas — Grand Prairie is the first city in the city to have more than 100 years of history, with two black men serving as city council members.

On May 1, 2021, elections for a term ending May 2021 were held. On June 5, 2021, a final vote was held for the top two candidates in Districts 6 and 8.

Curt Johnson won the 6th ward seat of the city council with 53.4% ​​of the votes cast, and Steve “Junior” Ezeonu won the 8th ward of the city council with 51.2% of the votes. This means that Ezeonu was chosen not only in his district, but throughout the city.

This is the first time two black city council members have served at the same time in Grande Prairie.

“We win with diversity,” Johnson said. “I have had the opportunity to travel the world, learn from other cultures and grow. It can strengthen the city. We , Everyone wants someone to embrace new ideas. “

Ezenou, also 22 years old, became the youngest city council member in Grande Prairie history. He and his family moved from Nigeria to the United States at the age of two.

“We need young people who are willing to take that step forward and actively engage in public office,” Ezenou said. “I want to give back. I want to improve the lives of others.”

Ezenou said he believes God is calling on people to improve their communities. This is a major reason why he got a public office at such a young age.

“Various expressions are important,” said Emae. “Meeting someone who is similar to you and has a similar background, especially for young people, can have a big impact. If you want to be that person, you have to look at that person first.”

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The first black man to be elected to the Grand Prairie city council was James Kelm. He served from 1979 to 1981, and then from 1983 to 1989.

“Grande Prairie was good for me,” Kelm said. “I have raised my family here. It’s a good city. It’s a growing city. It’s a progressive city. It’s home to the best people.”

Kelm also congratulated both Ezenou and Johnson, stating that both of these men were qualified and considered worthy of these positions.

“I think it’s important for everyone to have a spirit of service,” Kelm said. “I think it takes a lot of effort, a lot of thought, a lot of sacrifice. I think Grande Prairie is in a great place.”

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After that, Ed Henfil was elected and served from 1990 to 1994. He served in the Navy from 1971 to 1975. He first met Johnson 15 years ago, and he also served in the Navy.

“I’m overjoyed,” Hemphill said. “He is a sincere person. I look forward to serving in good faith. I am very optimistic about the future of Grande Prairie.”

Hemphill said it was important to elect people from the black community to the national city council.

“I think it’s imperative that the voice of African Americans reach the whole country,” said Henfil. “I love this country and I love everything in our system. We love this. We are about to become the next group really included in the National Fusion Pot. “

Both Kellum and Hemphill still live in Grande Prairie and are active in the community. Hemphill runs a real estate consulting business in downtown Grande Prairie, but Kellum has retired and is still a very active volunteer in the community.

“I think we felt more brotherly because of the Navy,” Johnson said of his relationship with Hemphill. “We agree that growing and integrating cities is the key to progress,” Johnson said.

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During his time as a member of the city council, Ezenou said he wanted to help improve the low-income areas of Grande Prairie.

“I want to bring a different perspective,” said Noh Ese. “In certain parts, we have an infrastructure that dates back to the 50’s or 60’s and we need to work on it. I want to be able to shed light on it and speak out about those issues.”

Johnson said he plans to work to ensure that both the Grande Prairie Police Department and the Grande Prairie Fire Department are fully funded and fully trained.

Click here for a complete list of Grande Prairie election results.

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