City Council At Large

City Council At Large 1
Mary Waters
City Council President
City Council Pro Tem

Council Member Bio

Mary Waters began her early life in the cotton fields of Alabama, but Detroit beats deep in her heart. After moving to Detroit and attending Detroit Northern High School, her love affair with the city began. She chose to further her education right at home, first attending the Detroit Business Institute for an accounting certification, then earning a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan.


Her career has been dedicated to reaching and teaching around the entire city of Detroit. She served an Instructor for the Wayne County Community College District, Ombudsman for the Wayne County Prosecutors office, and supported corporate communications for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.


Mary Waters made her mark in Michigan history by serving 3 terms in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2001 to 2006.Her leadership and perfect attendance earned her the honor of being the first African American female Democratic Minority Floor Leader. Waters has been an activist with the AFT, DFT, and UAW, as well as a former vice chair of the Detroit Charter Revision Commission.


During her time with the Michigan House of Representatives, she wasn't just talk, but action. Some notable legislation she helped pass include the foundations of the expungement laws you see today, House Bills 5393 and 4327. She tirelessly directed federal dollars into the City of Detroit, and left a legacy of integrity, honesty, and hard work behind.


At the council table, Waters approaches each decision she makes by asking how it will help children, single mothers, seniors, and veterans. She hears the cries of the community, campaigning for affordable housing, job training, and increased governmental transparency.


In her first year on the council, she made it her mission to keep families in their homes by encouraging residents to complete the Homeowners Property Tax Exemption Application (H.O.P.E.). She started the Property Tax Taskforce, which is composed of community liaisons, block clubs, community development organizations, and social services organizations who collaborate to direct residents to resources to keep their homes. 


She also championed the needs of the small and minority owned business community in her pivotal first year. As chair of the Minority Business Task Force, Waters has encouraged city departments to unite in their commitment to utilizing local, small businesses to fulfill city contracts. At the annual Minority Business Summit, procurement professionals from all levels of government host informative hybrid workshops to equip minority owned businesses with the tools to submit a successful bid. 


In her personal life, the former State Representative is a breast cancer survivor, and is a remarkable testament to the fact that early detection saves lives.  Her battle inspired her to join Sisters Network, Inc., which is the only National African American breast cancer survivorship organization in the United States. As an active member, she participates year-round in initiatives like Gift for Life BlockWalk, where members canvass their neighborhoods to provide breast cancer screening information.