LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The first Lansing City Council meeting of the year also means new leadership.

Councilmember Carol Wood returned to the president’s spot. She said she’s ready to end her time in city government by focusing on the needs of the community during 2023.

She has held the position several times since first joining the council in 1999. At top of her mind, she said is making people who live in the city feel heard.

“Most important things are transparency, so the public knows what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and accountability. Whether it is accountability from the council or administration, the people that are doing the work in the different departments; often times feel people that when they have issues, people aren’t listening to them,” said Wood.

Joining Wood is second ward council member, Jeremy Garza. He was picked as vice president. With five years of experience, he said he’s honored to step into the role.

“This is my city, I was born here. I’m not a typical politician, I’m a plumber pipe fitter, I work with my hands,” said Garza.

On policy, Garza said he looks to address housing needs and building conditions.

“I’d like to look at changing up some of the ordinances regarding our housing and holding these landlords accountable for safe housing for the tenant here in Lansing.”

Along with housing, Wood hopes the next year brings improvements to infrastructure and roads, and better recruitment for the police and fire departments.

“We need to make sure that people feel good about living in the city of Lansing. Feel that this is a safe place. That this is a great place to raise a family and be part of this community,” said Wood.

The council also welcomed a new member representing the first ward on Tuesday night. Ryan Kost won the seat in November from Brian Daniels. Daniels was appointed to the role after councilman Brandon Betz resigned a year ago.