The Mayor



Tony Benavides, who as Lansing City Council President, ascended to Mayor in 2003 after then-Mayor David Hollister joined newly-elected Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration. He was subsequently elected Mayor of the City of Lansing the following November to complete the balance of Hollister's unfinished term.

As Mayor, his priorities have focused on the City's economic development, the revitalization and restoration of traditional neighborhood marketplaces, heightening neighborhood security, improving the quality of life throughout Lansing communities, and streamling and improving municipal operations and services.

The theme of Mayor Benavides’ administration has been -- and continues to be -- “YES WE CAN.” This reinforces his belief that the City’s residents continue to promote Lansing as a "Family Friendly City" where people want to live, work, and raise their families.

Among Mayor Benavides’ initiatives are the "One Book, One Community" Literacy Campaign in the Lansing School District's middle schools, and the restoration and reusability of a brownfield site for redevelopment. He also spearheaded the City's "Low-Income Tax Assistance Program" which helped the Lansing ’s low-income residents file tax returns and establish eligibility for qualified refunds.

The Mayor's ongoing initiatives include the task of re-establishing the East Grand River Avenue, South Cedar Street, and South Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard corridors as attractive and vibrant commercial districts. He also hopes to revitalize development at the City Market in the downtown area.

Tony Benavides previously served as Executive Director of Cristo Rey Community Center – one of Lansing’s largest human service organizations – for more than three decades. As Director, he implemented programs that served countless children, youth, families, and senior citizens. He helped establish much-needed medical and mental health clinics that continue to serve low income and immigrant families, and he initiated one of the most successful employment and training programs in Lansing's history.

His family originally migrated from Mexico in 1952 and -- with his parents and 12 siblings became part of the Lansing community. Tony’s parents set high expectations for their children, but they reinforced these expectations with the personal attributes of honesty, respect, and positive work ethics. Among the primary lessons he learned from his parents were the importance of personal pride and community participation and commitment.

To supplement his family's modest earnings as migrant farmworkers, Tony worked as a bagboy at Schmidt Brothers' Hometown Markets and, when not attending Sexton High School, as a farmworker himself. He went on to attend and graduate from Michigan State University with a degree in public administration and management. He also completed coursework at Lansing Community College and Lansing Business University.

The Mayor’s dedication as a longtime public servant have earned him numerous accolades including a Special Tribute for Community Service from former Gov. James Blanchard, J.W. Sexton High School’s Distinguished Alumni Award, the MSU Institute for Children, Youth and Families Award, the Commission on Spanish Speaking Affairs’ 25-Year Community Service Award, and the Monsignor Maceachin Diocesan Award. He has, throughout the years, served on multiple boards and commissions for many organizations, including the Michigan Department of Corrections, the National Conference of Catholic Charities, the Capital Area United Way Executive Directors' Council, Lansing City Council, the Greater Lansing Urban League, and the League of Women Voters.

Mayor Benavides and his wife, Carmen – a retired Lansing School District educator – have been married for over 40 years and have four adult children and five grandchildren.

The Leader You Know... The Leader You Trust

Mayor Tony Benavides Campaign Headquarters
414 East Michigan Ave. Lansing, MI 48933
Phone (517) 316-2100

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