Three city commission seats open up for election

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Sam Rush/NW

Jesse Wiederhold

Election season is steadily approaching and locally there are three seats opening up for election in the Marquette City Commission. Among the six candidates for City Commission, two are currently serving and are running for a second time. Those two are Paul Schloegel, and Fred Stonehouse. Also in the race are Margaret Brumm, Jessica Hanley, Cody Mayer and Michael Plourde. 

All potential positions are nonpartisan and all candidates were asked the same questions for the purposes of this article. The candidates were given an opportunity to speak for themselves based on how they can help NMU students in particular. In addition to that, they were asked their qualifications for the City Commission, as well as any plans they have for Marquette.

Local elections will take place synchronously with the presidential election occurring Tuesday, Nov. 3 2020.

Paul Schloegel

First up is a look at Paul Schloegel. Schloegel is an NMU alumni who graduated with a degree in Public Relation and Political Science. Schloegel aims to provide access to an amazing community, including shoreline maintenance, and keeping up parks and small businesses. Schloegel added that he wants to “support the sports, arts and culture and countless other organizations on campus.” One of Schloegel’s main reasons he wishes to be in office is to give back to the community.

“My parents said to me at a very young age, ‘if you want to have a say in your community you need to serve, give back,’” said Schloegel. “I love Marquette and everything it stands for.” Schloegel has served on the city commission previously, as well as the Presque Isle Advisory Board, the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Planning Commission for Marquette.

Fred Stonehouse

Stonehouse currently serves on the city commission. Something Stonehouse would like to do is replace existing infrastructure, he said that “some water/sewer lines are over 100 years old.” Pure drinking water for the people is very important to Stonehouse. 

Stonehouse occasionally teaches as an adjunct professor at Northern, so he is aware of “city related challenges students sometimes face.” Stonehouse said that he will “continue to work to grow this special NMU-city relationship to the benefit of all.” As an NMU graduate, retired US Army Corps of Engineers officer and having nine years of city commission service (including being mayor) under his belt, Stonehouse is confident in his capabilities to further serve the Marquette community.

Margaret Brumm

Margaret Brumm, nicknamed “Mickey,” learned to swim on the beach between Picnic Rocks and McCarty’s Cove. That being said, she is local and knows Marquette. To keep utility bills low for NMU students, Brumm aims to “continue the city’s investment in improvements in the Marquette Area Wastewater Plant to keep Wastewater and Stormwater treatment at state-of-the-art levels.” She said this process includes actively seeking out grant money from private organizations, as well as public ones. 

“I would also support the activities of the Board of Light and Power that keep electricity flowing with state-of-the-art technology to minimize the carbon footprint of [Marquette],” said Brumm. She said she has a “genuine interest in productive, proactive and transparent city government.” With experience as a Registered US Patent Attorney, ample time spent at 95% of City Commission meetings and work sessions since January 2018 and being a fifth-generation Marquette resident, it appears Brumm wishes to help continue building the city that built her.

Michael Plourde

Plourde served previously on the city commission from 2015-2018, giving him hands-on experience in the office. Plourde says he knows how the city government works, and wouldn’t need to take up time learning the ropes if elected. He and his wife both graduated from NMU, as well as their son, so Plourde is very pro-Wildcat. 

“I want to strengthen that relationship [between NMU and the city], and make the students feel welcome and a part of our area,” said Plourde. Part of this “area” includes Marquette’s gorgeous shoreline. Of which, Plourde aims to protect and stop further intrusions on it. “I would like to extend South Beach … I’m not looking for any more [commercial] development on the water, at all,” Plourde added, in regards to what will happen to the Shiras plant down by South Beach. He instead wishes to protect the coastline and keep it natural.

Jessica Hanley

Another candidate, Jessica Hanley, a former NMU student herself, understands that it can be difficult to navigate odd Marquette housing laws. She wishes to change ordinance #529, which limits more than four unrelated people from living in the same unit. This would be a rent-saving change for college students. Hanley’s message to students and Marquette residents is the following: “I will listen. Too many people join commissions with agendas and a feeling of knowing everything.” Hanley aims to do better.

“I am running for City Commission, because one day I realized how unfair it is in this city,” said Hanley. “Young people, and NMU students specifically are brought to this beautiful town and made to fall in love with it … then we realize we can’t live here.” Hanley wants to “work to make this city an option” for NMU students after graduation, providing more opportunities for futures in Marquette.

Cody Mayer

Finally, another potential electee for Marquette City Commission is NMU graduate Cody Mayer. Mayer “has devoted his life to serving his community and country.” At 17, he enlisted in the National Guard, and has been an enlisted soldier for five years, gaining the title Sergeant. Mayer also formerly served as NMU student body president and was once the vice-chair of the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, responsible for remediation of old commercial sites in need of construction.

Mayer is “committed to finding long-term solutions to keep utility bills reasonable,” he said. “This is a priority to me and I am focused on making Marquette more financially feasible for young families, students and workers.” Mayer knows what it is like to raise a family at a younger age, and aims to make that possible for others, too. 

For more on local elections and information about the city, check out the Marquette City Website.

Remember, if someone is voting in Marquette, there are a few new guidelines and processes to vote this year. There is a major new opportunity allowing for university students to legally cast their vote using their college address. This is worked out through the Marquette City Clerk’s office. Remember to call ahead when requesting papers or registration from the City Clerk, located at 300 W Baraga Ave. The Clerk’s office can be reached at (906) 225-8667. There is also a drop-box for absentee ballot voting at the Clerk’s office for those who have filled out their ballots already. 

Also, straight from Democracy Works, a voting information website specific to the state, Oct. 19 is the cutoff for online voters registration. Mail in registration must also be postmarked the 19. In person registration runs through Nov. 3, but remember that it will only get more busy come Nov. 3. Call ahead to make an appointment when doing in-person voting or registration in Marquette at the phone number above.

Finally, Absentee ballot requests must be made by Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. online. Mail in absentees must be postmarked by Nov. 2, or returned in person Nov. 3 no later than 8 p.m. Early voting is also an option, and takes place at the City Clerk’s office by appointment only Sept. 24 through Nov. 2.