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25-Year-Old East Lansing Mayor Resigns to Go Back to School


The 25-year-old mayor of East Lansing, appointed to the position in 2020 during a year of turmoil for the city, is resigning in August in order to further his education.

“My program begins in late August, so I will be stepping down from my position as mayor, and as a member of the city council, because I will be unable to attend four regular and two discussion-only meetings before my term is over,” Mayor Aaron Stephens said in a Facebook post.

He’ll be leaving East Lansing to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Star News Education Foundation Journalism ProjectStephens said he would be offering his official resignation Wednesday, and that his resignation will be effective August 11.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this city,” the letter said. “Over the past four years, I have been blessed and lucky to have worked with some of the best people that I’ve ever met, and the best damn community a mayor could ever ask for.”

He was appointed to the role last July, following the resignation of then-mayor Ruth Beier. She left office after the city council voted to end city attorney Tom Yeadon’s contract.

Stephens, who sat on the city council for three years prior to becoming mayor, stepped into the role facing the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic. He implemented a city-wide mask mandate, including outdoors.

He noted the challenges of the pandemic, replacing Yeadon, and appointing two new members to the city council during his brief stint as mayor.

“As I walk downtown, or I speak to someone about the tough conversations that we’ve had, and the hard decisions that East Lansing had to make over the past year, I am reminded of where we were and where we are now,” he said in the letter.

“East Lansing will always be my home,” the letter ended.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to
Photo “Aaron Stephens” by Aaron Stephens. Background Photo “Downtown East Lansing” by GD333. CC BY-SA 4.0.