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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

City commision seats up for vote

With the presidential election in three weeks and the debates between the candidates sparking the interest of millions of Americans, local politics tends to be overshadowed, but the City of Marquette is asking voters to select candidates for the city commission.

There are seven seats on the city commission with two open for election. The candidates for Marquette city commission are Sara Cambensy, Amy Conover, Mike Coyne and Tony Tollefson.

“The commission sets policy for the entire city, including the university, ordinances that control law enforcement, planning and zoning, parks and recreation and all kinds of other things,” city clerk David Bleau said. “The routine things they do include adopting budgets, paying bills, activities in the community and a wide range of things from routing to the unusual.

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It includes the university and can impact many things for anybody who lives or works there.”

According to Bleau, candidates must be registered voters dates must be registered voters within the city of Marquette, they cannot be indebted to the city and cannot have a felony.

Conover is a full-time graduate student at NMU and the assistant manager of the Studio Gallery at Presque Isle.

“I want the commission to be more involved in things going on in the community and the decisions being made,” Conover said. “I want to be a part and help other people become more involved. I want to increase transparency, help other people understand the decisions made and the process that goes behind those decisions.”

Conover said being a commissioner is about having to make tough decisions to do what is best for the city, not just economically, but for the health and growth of the city.

“I think there are a lot of opportunities for the city and Northern to work together, because we’re inextricably linked,” Conover said. “Marquette would not be the city it is without Northern and vice versa. Rather than hiring expensive consultants not familiar to the area, the work of students and professors would have the same quality and collaboration while providing them hands-on learning.”

Tollefson has previous experience not only being on the commission in the past, but also being a former mayor of Marquette.

“It’s a process of providing for the city’s services, making sure of proper accounting of the budget and meeting needs and services of people in the most appropriate manner,” Tollefson said. “I understand how important Northern is in doing business within the city and positive relations between the city and Northern need to continue.”

Tollefson is currently the coordinator for International Students and Scholars in NMU’s International Programs Office.

“I’m not sure about what the other candidates stand for, but I know that I have the experience to fulfill the job,” Tollefson said.

Cambensy has been a lifelong resident of Marquette. She has been involved in the city planning commission and is on the city charter commission.

“[The commissioner] is a steward of the city, who puts the best interest of the community at heart,” Cambensy said. “It’s about being informed, educated, putting time in and doing a good job. I’m someone who has a good idea what the community wants, to see Marquette develop and grow, and a good grasp on things that need to be looked at and considered.”

Cambensy graduated from NMU with a master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on local and state government. She is currently the director of the Kaufman Auditorium and the Adult and Community Education Program.

“[NMU] students are some of the best and brightest community members with new information, new ways to do things and great ideas,” Cambensy said. “I’d like to see them have a way to get info and ideas to us, and to do that we need to look for new means of communication with the public as we go forward technologically.

Coyne has served on the commission for nine and a half years, as well as been mayor of Marquette three times in the past 30 years.

“I’ve been in public service to the city of Marquette since the 1980s and I really enjoyed and had a good record while doing so,” Coyne said. “I’m presently serving on the charter revision commission and doing that has me interested again in city government.”

Coyne was previously a physician but is currently retired.

“[The job of the commission] is representing the citizens and having to listen to what people have to say and their concerns,” Coyne said. “I’ve been a part of building the city into what it is and my record, reputation and listening ability, along with my experience, sets me apart. I think the university, the students and the city are interconnected, not isolated.”

Election day for city commissioners is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Those who have questions about the election can contact Bleau at (906) 228-0430 or [email protected].

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