James R. Fouts
James "Jim" Richard Fouts
|7th Mayor of Warren, Michigan|
|Assumed office |
November 9, 2007
|Preceded by||Mark Steenbergh|
|Born||August 8, 1942|
Hazel Park, Michigan, U.S.
|Residence||Warren, Michigan, US|
|Alma mater||Central Michigan University|
|Profession||Educator (Retired), City council member, mayor|
James R. Fouts (born August 8, 1942) is an American elected official and the incumbent Mayor of the City of Warren, Michigan, which is the third largest city in Michigan. Voters elected him to the post in 2007 after serving 26 years on the city council.
Fouts grew up in Hazel Park, Michigan where his father was the city assessor then city manager. Prior to election to public office, he spent his career as a government, political science, and psychology teacher in the Warren Consolidated School District. His last teaching position was at Sterling Heights High School, where he taught for about ten years.
Early political career
In 1976, James Fouts ran as a Republican for the Michigan state house of representatives in the 70th District. James R. Fouts was elected to the Warren City Council in 1981 where he served for 26 years. During his tenure, he initiated several anti-tobacco proposals.
In 2007, Mark Steenbergh had reached the term limit as mayor of Warren and did not seek re-election. James R. Fouts ran against City Clerk Richard Sulaka for the open seat and won 62% to 38%. In the 2007 campaign, finance reports show that Sulaka outspent Fouts $332,000 to $225,000. Sulaka described James R. Fouts as a "maverick" and attributed his victory to voters seeking an alternative to the previous administration. The election also saw Warren citizens electing a new clerk, new treasurer, and a majority of new council members.
Detailed Overview of Mayoral Activities
Before being elected Mayor of Warren, Jim Fouts served multiple terms on the city council. Some residents referred to him as the “Warren Neighborhood Councilman”.
Fouts was elected Mayor of Warren in November 2007 defeating the challenger, City Clerk Richard Sulaka, receiving 62% of the votes. Then he was again elected by the residents of Warren who cast 81% in favor of Jim Fouts’ during the 2011 re-election campaign, in which he defeated the challenger, Councilwoman Kathy Vogt, receiving 81% of the votes cast. This was to be a short term record, as again in November 2015, Mayor Jim Fouts won re-election to his third four-year term by a margin of 84.7 percent to 15.3 percent. Mayor Jim Fouts is the first Mayor in the History of the city of Warren to receive more than 80% of the votes.
He claims his cost saving initiatives saved the city significant expenditures by consolidating and streamlining multiple city departments. Those initiatives not only streamlined the city’s Budget and fiscal Policy but also improved the efficiency of city operations and were honored with an Award given to the Mayor.
Under Mayor Fouts, the city implemented programs designed to connect the community with government and make it more accessible. One was a weekly program called Fouts Forum, where the Mayor interviewed community and business leaders. Through a coordinated approach spearheaded by the Mayor, such blight sweeps and police sweeps, some of which were personally supervised by the Mayor, have reportedly produced a steady decrease in both property crimes and violent crimes.
Fouts’ stated effort to attract high-tech industry, along with automotive manufacturers and suppliers has created an expanded downtown area which has houses a mix of start-up businesses alongside established large industry and public amenities. He encouraged General Motors, to invest $1 billion in a new GM Technical Center, and for Chrysler to develop the Chrysler Manufacturing Complex, also known as Dodge City. The complex became a major producer of Ram and Dakota models. Fouts credits these initiatives with producing new developments, shopping centers, and supermarkets such as Meijer and Menards.
Fouts claims his revitalization and clean up initiatives have increased the quality of life for the residents of Warren. His aggressive city “clean-up” addressed nuisance and abatement for businesses and residential dwellings. This garnered the attention of the national media. He also garnered national attention with his first of its kind ethics ordinance and a “Buy American” campaign.
Fouts gave up his city issued car, gas mileage and pension and did not take vacations. He claims to have an open door policy, at his office, and will take calls from Warren residents during off hours as well as on the weekends.
Mayor Jim Fouts’ says he admires Former President Harry. S. Truman for his honesty and work ethic, and he displayed Harry Truman’s motto, “The Buck Stops Here” on his desk.
His enforcement of local building codes led to the demolition of dilapidated buildings and the promotion of neighborhood "clean sweeps" by city inspectors and was touted as a model for other mayors.
In response to the challenges facing the automotive industry, an industry which employs many Warren residents, he initiated a "Buy American Products" policy for automotive purchases by heads of city departments.
In early 2009 Fouts was stopped by a police officer for going about five-miles per hour over the speed limit. Even though he was just given a warning, he insisted on paying the ticket and taking two points on his license.
In 2009 Fouts tried to convince General Motors to relocate its headquarters from Detroit to Warren.
His 2011 re-election campaign was endorsed by the Detroit Free Press who said the campaign had become "way too focused on legal battles over Fouts' age" which became an issue when his opponents filed suit to remove him from the ballot because he had refused to place his age on the candidacy form. He won the lawsuit and the election with more than 80% of the vote against City Councilwoman Kathy Vogt.
In 2012, he acted to ban smoking within 100 feet of any city building without legislative approval, but the court said he did not have the authority and had the "No Smoking" signs removed. Fouts brought the measure back to the city council, after they had tabled it in September.
In July 2014, Fouts denied access to the Warren City hall for a group seeking to establish a Reason Booth, in contrast to a long-established Prayer Booth. The American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, have sued Fouts and Warren, alleging a violation of First Amendment rights to free speech and a violation of the Establishment Clause. The lawsuit was filed by Douglas Marshall in the United States District Court.
In August 2014, Fouts initiated a suit against the adoption of 2014 Proposal 1, which eliminated the Michigan Personal Property Tax for businesses, replacing it with an Internet sales tax, alleging the ballot wording was biased. In early December 2014, according to the Macomb Daily, "Court of Claims Judge Deborah Servitto ruled this week Fouts failed to sufficiently make a legal claim that state election law was violated. In doing so, Servitto granted a motion for summary judgment filed in by public relations consultants Truscott Rossman Group and its chief executive officer, Kelly Rossman-McKinney, that they be removed as defendants because they did not have legal standing in the case." Fouts has appealed the ruling.
In 2015 President Obama visited Warren and noted during his speech at Macomb Community College the applause Mayor Fouts received when he was introduced by President Obama.
In March 2016, Mayor Jim Fouts claimed that he was asked by security at the Democratic Presidential Debate in Flint, Michigan to refrain from showing excessive enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders.
In November of 2016 Mayor Fouts accused Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel of an environmental coverup of illegal dumping. In response, a series of audio recordings were provided by Mark Hackel to the media that he claimed to have received from unidentified sources allegedly of Fouts making derogatory comments. These lead to calls for Fouts resignation. Mayor Fouts has maintained these recordings are manufactured and manipulated. He was quoted “There is tremendous effort to force me out immediately by slander, by character assassination, lies, and by out right condemnation of me. This is an attempt to reverse the 2015 election results when I won with 85% of the vote. I won with 81% in 2011. This is despite solid evidence that I did nothing wrong whatsoever. My actions as mayor have been inclusive and no one can deny that. We are the best run city in the state when it comes to police, fire, and fund balance. I will not resign," according to Fouts' Facebook post. "I will be here through at least 2019 as the people wanted me to. I will not capitulate to a rush to judgement by those who wish to take over city hall and hijack the 2015 election.” In a post on Facebook, Fouts declared his intention to remain in office through to the end of his term in 2019.
In late 2017, Mayor Fouts together with the police commissioner created a program called P.A.I.D or People Against Illegal Drugs, which works by offering rewards for confidential tips to residents of the city.
In 2017 under Mayor Fouts’ leadership Crain’s Detroit named Warren as having “an industrial property base that far outpaces Detroit's at $578.2 million”.
2018-Present Mayor Jim Fouts has been working on inking a deal on the long awaited downtown Warren town center project.
First term: In November 2007 Fouts won election as Mayor of Warren with 62% of the total votes cast.
Second Term: In November 2011 Fouts won re-election as Mayor of Warren with 81% of the total votes cast.
Third Term: In November 2015 Fouts won re-election again as Mayor of Warren with 85% of the total votes cast.
Fourth Term: In November 2019 Fouts was reelected to a historic 4th term with 57.5% of the total votes cast.
Present Day - 4th Administration
In early February 2020 Mayor Fouts took proactive steps to protect city employees and the public from coronavirus by being the first to provide gloves, masks, sanitizing stations and directives on COVID-19.
In March of 2020 he announced a free COVID-19 emergency food hotline for residents in need that could not leave their homes or afford food/resources. He also announced a permanent location at city hall for free contactless food distribution every Monday.
April 2020 Fouts directed the Warren police to not enforce the provision of Governor Whitmer's order on COVID-19 banning commercial lawn services. Fouts stated the lack of lawn maintenance would lead to higher numbers of mosquitoes and rodents and be a health hazard and that it is an essential service.
In June of 2020 he brought free COVID-19 testing to Warren residents during the historic pandemic.
In April 2021 Mayor Fouts teamed up with Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel to announce a drive-thru vaccine clinic at Warren City Hall in the parking garage administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
- DeFrank, Frank (November 7, 2007). "Fouts in a rout". The Macomb Daily. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- Fouts’ License Expires, Check Reveals Age Question, Warren Weekly, August 23, 2011
- "Biography of Warren Mayor James R. Fouts". jamesfouts.com. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
- "City of Warren, MI – Mayor's Office". City of Warren. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Mich. Suburb Tries to Woo GM to Leave Detroit. washingtonpost.com. Retrieved on 2011-05-26.
- Fouts, James R. Political Graveyard. Retrieved on 2013-04-10.
- Norb Franz (September 24, 2012). "Warren to revisit proposed smoking ban outside city buildings". Daily Tribune News. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "Candidate Committee Cover Page" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 21, 2011.
- "Candidate Committee Cover Page" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 21, 2011.
- Mayor's Accomplishments, City of Warren official web site. Retrieved on 2013-04-06
- Christina Hall (May 16, 2013). "Warren's crackdown on blight seen as model for other communities". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Buy American or Get Out?, The New York Times, September 12, 2008. Retrieved on 2013-04-06 Archived February 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
- . AP reported and several outlets picked it up. Retrieved 2021-1-2
- Dana Hedgpeth (May 27, 2009). "Mich. Suburb Tries to Woo GM to Leave Detroit". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
- "Editorial: Warren Mayor Fouts has led city well, deserves re-election". Detroit Free Press. October 28, 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- "Associated Press, "Appeals Court Rules Fouts Doesn't Have to Disclose His Age to Be on Ballot," ABC Action News, June 10, 2011". Archived from the original on February 24, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
- Macomb County election results: Jim Fouts' win for the ages, Warren Council President out, MLive, November 9, 2011
- "Warren sued for refusing anti-religion display at city hall". Detroit News. 2014-07-23. Archived from the original on 2014-08-05. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "Mayor Sued By ACLU Compares Atheist Near Prayer Group To KKK At MLK Event (Update)". Huffington Post. 24 July 2014.
- Detroit News, Aug. 7, 2014 Archived August 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
- "Judge tosses out Warren Mayor Fouts' lawsuit seeking to invalidate Proposal 1".
- "Fouts appeals ruling on machinery tax".
- "Michigan Mayor: Security Threatened To Kick Me Out Of Debate For Vocal Bernie Support".
- "A mayor denies it's his voice on lewd, racist tapes. His colleagues say 'resign.'". Archived from the original on January 18, 2017. Fouts stated that the voice on the recordings wasn't his and they were part of a smear campaign by Mark Hackel, Warren Mayor James Fouts is calling a new batch of leaked audio recordings that include racist and sexist comments "phony." Fouts claims the audio recordings, constitute an engineered attack launched by political foe Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.}}
- Hall, Christina; Helms, Matt (January 17, 2017). "Warren Mayor Jim Fouts balks at calls to quit over alleged comments". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on January 18, 2017.
There is tremendous effort to force me out immediately by slander, by character assassination, lies, and by out right condemnation of me. This is an attempt to reverse the 2015 election results when I won with 85% of the vote. I won with 81% in 2011. This is despite solid evidence that I did nothing wrong whatsoever. My actions as mayor have been inclusive and no one can deny that. We are the best run city in the state when it comes to police, fire, and fund balance. I will not resign," according to Fouts' Facebook post. "I will be here through at least 2019 as the people wanted me to. I will not capitulate to a rush to judgement by those who wish to take over city hall and hijack the 2015 election.
- FOX. "City of Warren will pay $500 for tips on drug dealers".
- "Warren offers $500 to residents who snitch on drug dealers".
- Pinho, Kirk. "$1 Billion Investment By GM Gives Warren the regions Highest Property Value".
- article on Warren redevelopment under Fouts
- Nov. 5, 2019 article on Fouts reelection