Karen Weaver

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Karen Weaver
Karen Weaver in 2018
Karen Weaver in July 2018
93rd Mayor of Flint
In office
November 9, 2015 – November 11, 2019
Preceded byDayne Walling
Succeeded bySheldon Neeley
Personal details
BornFlint, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Wrex A. Weaver
ParentsT. Wendell Williams and Marion Coates Williams
EducationTougaloo College (B.A.)
Long Island University (M.A.)
Michigan State University (Psy.D)

Karen Williams Weaver[1] is an American politician who was the mayor of Flint, Michigan from 2015 to 2019. [2] She was the first female mayor of the city.[2]

Weaver is a member of the Democratic Party,[3] although local offices in Flint are officially nonpartisan.[4] She is also a member of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and Governor Rick Snyder's Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee.[5][6][7]

In her short time as mayor, Weaver twice visited the White House and met U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.[8][9][10] She oversaw the city's role in the recovery from the ongoing Flint water crisis, the most dominant issue during her tenure as mayor.

Her term ended on November 11, 2019. She was defeated in her re-election by Sheldon Neeley the previous week.[11]

Early life and education[edit]

The youngest of three children, Weaver was born in Flint and grew up on the city's north side.[1] She graduated from Flint Northern High School in 1977.[1] She holds a bachelor's degree from Tougaloo College, a master's degree from Long Island University, and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Michigan State University.[2][12]


Prior to being elected mayor of Flint in 2015, Weaver served on a number of committees in the city, including the Hurley Medical Center Board of Managers, Priority Children and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.[12]

In the mayoral election of November 3, 2015, Weaver received 7,825 votes (55%), defeating Walling, who received 6,061 votes (45%). Weaver took office on November 9, 2015.[2]

Shortly after taking office, she declared an emergency in the city due to the water crisis in the area.[13] She also pushed for a similar declaration by state and federal authorities, which were granted by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on January 5, and President Barack Obama on January 16, 2016.[14] According to Weaver, this declaration means that the federal government will now be responsible for disaster relief efforts, rather than the state of Michigan, as had been the case before.[13] On January 19, 2016, Mayor Weaver visited the White House and met President Obama.[9] On February 10, 2016, Weaver testified before the U.S. House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on the water crisis.[15]

On February 12, 2016, she fired Flint Police Chief James Tolbert, Fire Chief David Cox, and City Administrator Natasha Henderson.[16] Tolbert said her explanation was, "she wants to make some changes."[17] The city council and state Receivership Transition Advisory Board approved her appointments for their successors (Tim Johnson as police chief and Raymond Barton as fire chief) later that month.[18] On May 9, 2016, Henderson filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming she was fired from her position as city administrator after reporting Mayor Weaver may have been telling staff to direct water crisis donations to her own personal funds.[19] Two days later, the city hired an attorney to investigate the claim.[20] Weaver said Henderson's claims were "outrageously false."[21] The case was dismissed on August 8, 2017.[22]

On March 24, 2016, Governor Snyder appointed Weaver to an eight-year term on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's executive committee.[6] Mayor Weaver was also appointed to Governor Snyder's Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee which is attempting to alleviate the problems caused during the Flint water crisis.[7]

Mayor Weaver endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election and briefly spoke about the water crisis at that year's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.[23][24]

On March 15, 2017, Mayor Weaver met President Donald Trump to discuss funding for infrastructure and public safety for Flint[8] and met with officials at the White House for further discussion of Flint's water infrastructure later that year.[10][25]

Mayor Weaver survived a recall election on November 7, 2017, with 53% of voters supporting her to stay in office.[26]

In November 2019, Weaver lost her bid for reelection to Sheldon Neeley, a member of the Michigan House of Representatives.[27]


  1. ^ a b c "Karen Weaver Biography". Flint City website. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Fonger, Ron (4 November 2015). "Karen Weaver makes history, elected Flint's first woman mayor". MLive.com. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  3. ^ Foxnews.com (19 January 2016). "Blame game erupts over Flint's toxic water, Dems target GOP gov". Fox News. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  4. ^ Louis Jacobson, Who's to blame for the Flint water crisis?, Politifact (February 15, 2016).
  5. ^ Nearly 160 mayors join to secure more money for Flint lead pipe work The Flint Journal via MLive, March 10, 2016
  6. ^ a b Flint mayor appointed to MEDC executive committee The Flint Journal via MLive, March 24, 2016
  7. ^ a b Ron Fonger, Gov. Snyder signs executive order to create new Flint water committee, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 11, 2016).
  8. ^ a b Flint Mayor to meet with President during MI trip WNEM-TV, March 17, 2017
  9. ^ a b Obama meets with Flint mayor; EPA says reviewing its role CNN, January 19, 2016
  10. ^ a b Flint mayor to meet with White House leaders over city water infrastructure The Flint Journal via MLive.com, October 18, 2017
  11. ^ Sheldon Neeley beats Karen Weaver to become Flint’s new mayor The Flint Journal via MLive.com, November 5, 2019
  12. ^ a b Fonger, Ron (31 July 2015). "From business to campaign, Karen Weaver aims to be first female Flint mayor". MLive. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  13. ^ a b Smith, Lindsey (17 January 2016). "Who's To Blame For Flint's Water Problem?". NPR. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  14. ^ Barrett, Joe (16 January 2016). "Obama Declares Emergency in Flint". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  15. ^ Flint mayor, doctor to testify on water crisis The Detroit Free Press, February 10, 2016
  16. ^ Flint Mayor Karen Weaver fires police chief, fire chief and city administrator WJRT-TV, February 12, 2016
  17. ^ Flint mayor fires police and fire chiefs, ex-top cop says The Flint Journal via MLive, February 12, 2016
  18. ^ RTAB board OKs hiring of Flint's new police and fire chiefs RTAB board OKs hiring of Flint's new police and fire chiefs Michigan Radio, February 26, 2016
  19. ^ Lawsuit accuses Flint mayor of diverting water crisis donations to PAC The Flint Journal via MLive, May 9, 2016
  20. ^ Flint hires immigration attorney to investigate claims against mayor The Flint Journal via MLive, May 11, 2016
  21. ^ Roberto Acosta, Flint mayor calls claims by ex-city administrator "outrageously false", MLive (May 11, 2016).
  22. ^ Henderson suit against Flint dismissed WJRT-TV (ABC 12), August 8, 2017
  23. ^ Mayor Karen Weaver brings Flint water crisis to 2016 DNC The Flint Journal via MLive.com, July 27, 2016
  24. ^ Karen Weaver Speaks About Lead Contamination C-SPAN, July 27, 2016
  25. ^ Flint mayor, employees head to White House over water The Flint Journal via MLive.com, November 16, 2017
  26. ^ Flint Mayor Karen Weaver survives recall vote with landslide victory The Flint Journal via MLive.com, November 8, 2017
  27. ^ Chandelis, Duster (November 8, 2019). "Flint Mayor Karen Weaver loses reelection bid". CNN.com. Atlanta, GA.
Political offices
Preceded by
Dayne Walling
Mayor of Flint
Succeeded by
Sheldon Neeley