Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Cockrel, Jr. Kenneth

Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr. was first elected to the Detroit City Council in 1997. At this time he was the youngest person to ever be elected to that body.  Both his father, Ken Cockrel, Sr., and step-mother, Sheila Cockrel, have been members of the Detroit City Council. Cockrel graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism and from the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University. Cockrel is also a graduate of the Program for State and Local Government Officials at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Before joining the City Council, Cockrel worked as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, the Grand Rapids Press and the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Cockrel was re-elected to the City Council in 2001, earning the second highest number of votes in the general election, making him President Pro Tem. In 2005, he was re-elected and this time he received the highest number of votes, making him Council President.

Cockrel has worked on numerous issues during his time in office. He is dedicated to improving city neighborhoods and to expand drug-free zones around schools and parks. Every year Cockrel gives out more than 500 turkeys to needy families and senior citizens through his Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway.

After the resignation of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, Ken Cockrel, Jr. became the city of Detroit's 61st Mayor on Friday September 19, 2008.  On May 5, 2009, he was defeated in a mayoral election by businessman Dave Bing and returned to his former position as president of the Detroit City Council.  He was re-elected as a City Council Member in November 2009.

Cockrel and his wife, Kimberly, have five children. They have two sons, Kenneth III and Kyle Vincent, and three daughters, Kennedy Victoria, Kendal Imani, and Kayla Lanette.