Student a frontrunner for Marquette Commission

If elected in November, NMU student Andrew Lorinser will become the first enrolled student to serve on Marquette City Commission.

On Nov. 5, Marquette will elect two Commissioners out of a field of four, including Lorinser, Evan Bonsall, Sally Davis, Nina van den Ende, and two write-in candidates. After a successful primary election, Lorinser is hoping to build upon the momentum of his summer campaign to help shape municipal policies that affect NMU’s population.

“Being active on campus has its advantages, but my campaign is more about the advantages students and staff have with me as a candidate,” Lorinser said. “NMU gives me a better generational perspective. I want to serve and represent as many constituents as possible, and our university is a huge player in our community.”

Lorinser, 34, a junior, majoring in public relations, currently works as the pro-motions coordinator at NMU’s Center for Native American Studies (CNAS). He is a member of NMU’s Muslim Student Association, and through CNAS he frequently works in collaboration with the Native American Student Association. Along with his involvement with numerous student associations, Lorinser also provides pro-bono public relations services for numerous non-profit organizations.

“We’re facing unprecedented change in the city,” Lorinser said. “It’s hard to find affordable housing, good paying careers and the passions of the younger generations—the ones inheriting problems—are at risk of becoming diluted in government, so I felt compelled to step up.”

After graduating from Marquette Senior High School in 2003, Lorinser was actively involved on campus with presidential and state political campaigns until 2005. During an academic hiatus, he launched a career in media production as a small business owner in downtown Marquette. Lorinser then worked in local journalism and directed public relations activities at Beacon House in Marquette.

“My work with non-profit organizations definitely helps shape my policies,” Lorinser said. “I think we often get inundated with our own experiences. Being exposed to different populations helps build empathy and compassion. I don’t just want to represent one group of people, I want to make Marquette more inclusive for everyone–including some of the City’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens.”

Four major issues which Lorinser is running on include: affordable housing, shoreline and trail protection, responsible development and Community Benefits Agreements. This would give a citizen coalition a voice in approving large scale development projects and advocate for local union work on city projects.

“This has been my home and my love for over 30 years,” Lorinser said. “There is no city on the planet about which I care more than Marquette, and I want to translate that adoration into good policies that make the city an easier place to live.”

Lorinser said there isn’t a topic he shies away from on the campaign trail. Beyond his four major issues, Lorinser has used his local platform to advocate for cannabis commercialization, the LGBTQIA+ community, Climate Change solutions, Indigenous people, school-safety and women’s rights. He believes that because these are all issues that affect the local population, they’re local issues.

“There’s movement we can make, as leaders, on several of these fronts,” Lorinser said. “City Commission is important. Nothing is too nominal or too big. Policies we shape are equally about road maintenance as they are about climate change mitigation and preparation. It’s all connected, and nothing is off the table.”

Transparency, government accountability and constituent engagement are three major underlying philosophies for which he hopes to advocate, according to his website. Some, he said, come with controversy.

“Government isn’t supposed to be a secretive machine,” Lorinser said. “This country was designed to elect representatives of the people, by the people, and for the people. I appreciate our City’s successes, but to sustain them and to do ‘big good things’ in the future we need to be open and transparent about our opinions and views.”

He said his primary goal during the campaign is to be a good listener, but his allegiances are known. Lorinser is endorsed by the U.P. Labor Federation, Mayor Pro-tem Sarah Reynolds, along with numerous local leaders and organizations. With another top tier candidate, 23-year-old Evan Bonsall, Lorinser serves on the executive board of the Marquette County Democratic Party, and both have been active behind the scenes in local politics for years.

Andrew Lorinser, one of four candidates for Marquette’s City Commission, hopes to build on momentum from summer campaign.