Voter Guide for City Commission: 4 candidates, 4 questions

Voter+Guide+for+City+Commission%3A+4+candidates%2C+4+questions

North Wind Staff

Evan Bonsall

What made you run for City Commissioner?

Marquette is my hometown. I grew up in a working-class family, went to Marquette Public Schools and earned a degree in government at Harvard University on a scholarship. I love Marquette, I believe strongly that we need a new generation of leaders pushing for progressive change in our communities, and I realized that I needed to run now because the decisions the city makes in the next five to six years will shape Marquette’s future for the next 50 or 60 years.

What do you hope to accomplish if elected as City Commissioner?

Housing is rapidly becoming unaffordable in Marquette. We must change our zoning code and the way we manage our public housing to encourage new affordable and middle-income housing development, and require that new developments expand the supply of affordable housing. I also believe that we need to preserve our lakeshore, trails and forestlands. After all, those unique assets are why people want to live in Marquette in the first place. You can learn more about my platform at evanbonsall.com/issues.

How does your stance differ from other candidates?

I have a detailed and realistic plan to expand the supply of affordable housing in the city, and my plan is unique in that it won’t cost a single taxpayer dollar. I have pledged to post a public explanation of every significant vote I take if elected, to support city funding for the construction of a permanent homeless shelter and to support the sale and distribution of marijuana. These stances set me apart from some of the other candidates.

Why should specifically the students of NMU vote for you?

If elected, I would be the only commissioner who is a renter and the only commissioner under the age of 30, and I was a student until this spring, so I know that students need affordable housing, reliable public transportation, and quality long-term employment opportunities. Right now, many NMU students can’t find any of those things in Marquette, and I have detailed plans to address those needs. I would also create a Youth Commission which would include NMU student representation.

Sally Davis

What made you run for City Commissioner?

The commission is vital to the management of our essential public services, our quality of life and our city’s future. I am running because I have a strong interest in the issues that come before the commission—particularly those that involve strategic planning and budgeting—and in setting priorities for future generations. I believe that my skills, knowledge, and experience will complement the diversity of the current commission and of the city staff.

What do you hope to accomplish if elected as City Commissioner?

The budget is a primary responsibility for the commission, and without strategic thinking we will not be able to afford basic community services or the unique features that make Marquette incredible. Improving the tax base and identifying additional funding sources is paramount. As decisions are made, I will always consider the effects on environment and preserving our fresh water, access to recreational resources, safety and security of the citizens, job opportunities and infrastructure for the future.

How does your stance differ from other candidates?

I applaud previous commissions and understand the commitment they have made for the greater community good. Strategic planning, with the flexibility to adapt to new influences, is important to me. It allows the city to build on previous successes and envisions a resilient future. Strengthening our ability to attract small and mid-side business is particularly important for job creation and economic stability. With significant experience in management and leadership, and in small business ownership, I am well-prepared to meet the challenge.

Why should specifically the students of NMU vote for you?

What sets me apart from other candidates is my years of experience in management and in service to the community. I have a proven track record to comprehend difficult issues, understand various sides of issues, create innovative solutions, assess complex budgeting and make thoughtful decisions. Networks I have developed over the years will add to the talents and strengths of the other commissioners. The commission needs to lay a strong foundation for Marquette’s future, and in doing so, experience matters.

Andrew Lorinser

What made you run for City Commissioner?

Marquette has given me so much and I’m compelled to give back. I’m eager to serve my community. Over the next few years, the commission will shape policy that will affect the direction and identity of Marquette for the next half-century. I want a seat at the table. I want to be part of the conversation. I have loved Marquette as home all my life. Now it’s time to lend my voice to citizens, listen and be an instrument of change.

What do you hope to accomplish if elected as City Commissioner?

Together we can accomplish so much. I hope to address affordable housing, rental rates, shoreline and trail protection, environmental sustainability, cannabis commercialization and more. I want to work on creating a more sustainable, inclusive, future-oriented city. Marquette can lead the U.P. in renewable energy, tech-innovation, business enterprise, environmental protection and be creative in how we generate revenue that alleviates the burden on our homeowners. There’s no challenge too big for this term and I’m excited for all the opportunities ahead.

How does your stance differ from other candidates?

I am running on change, but I also hope to build upon the city’s successes. I have a clear, distinct vision for the city mandated from citizens. Our platform was developed, published and revised with significant citizen input. We’ve built a vision for Marquette together and when elected, I intend to implement it. For too long citizens have felt ignored by local government, cast aside to developers and corporations. I want to bring the conversation back to people and their families.

Why should specifically the students of NMU vote for you?

Vote for the candidate that shares your passions. I work at NMU’s Center for Native American Studies and study public relations. I want your vote not just because we share this school, but because I understand and share your issues. With me you have a liaison to local government. Choose a candidate you can hold accountable, someone to whom you have access, and who has the ability to represent you. I hear you. Your voice matters and I’m listening.

Nina van den Ende

What made you run for City Commissioner?

 I have been serving on the Traffic and Parking/Pedestrian Advisory Committee for the city for five years, which made me want to do more and therefore run for city commission. I have knocked on many doors and listened to what people are saying.   Many citizens feel they “don’t want Marquette to become another Traverse City.”  I feel that I can help with that.  Also, I think more women and mothers need to get involved in politics.

What do you hope to accomplish if elected as City Commissioner?

We all enjoy the great beauty and recreational opportunities in Marquette.  I want to preserve these qualities by keeping large building developments away from the lakefront. We do need tax revenue and I am not against development. We have nine miles of public waterfront access in Marquette. I would like to keep it that way. I would continue the progress that is being made to improve infrastructure. I would like to improve communication between the commission, citizens, students and faculty at NMU.

How does your stance differ from other candidates?

My stance differs from other candidates in that I realize the specific duties of commissioners. Commissioners are elected to balance the budget, pass ordinances, select and hire top administrators. Commissioners also set local tax and utility rates. I paid for my own college and proudly graduated from NMU.  As a nurse, I worked ICU for most of my career.  Decisions I made directly affected someone’s life.  I was a member of the RN union. Currently, I am a Nurse Practitioner.

Why should specifically the students of NMU vote for you?

Like you, I attended NMU and received a great education! I swam for NMU in the early 1990s. What makes NMU great place for an education is its location in the city of Marquette. I will be an advocate for affordable housing/services for NMU students and a safe community where you can thrive. Upon graduating, I want you to find a job in Marquette or start a business that will contribute to our community.  I will always be accessible to you and work hard for you.