Promises Made, Promises Kept
I have spent the past 3 years working as hard as I can to make sure that Marquette remains a great place to live for all City residents. On the City Commission, I have been a champion for affordable housing, government transparency, environmental preservation, and sustainable economic development.
In 2020, I worked with the Mayor to create the Ad Hoc Housing Committee, serving as its Chair and helping write its Final Report and Recommendations, which the Housing Committee unanimously approved in 2021. In November 2021, the City Commission voted to accept the Housing Committee’s Final Report, and the City is now working on implementing its many recommendations, including reforming the City zoning code to promote incremental “missing middle” housing development and partnering with local public and private developers to produce more affordable housing, among many other things. Most of the Housing Committee’s recommendations cannot be implemented overnight, and many will not be universally popular, but if I am re-elected, I will spend the next 3 years working hard to implement those recommendations to ensure that working-class families can continue to afford to call Marquette home for many years to come.
When I was running in 2019, I promised to preserve our public lakeshore, trails, and forestlands, take local action on climate change, and bring back glass recycling. Over the past 3 years, I have kept those promises. In 2021, after 3 years with no glass recycling option for City residents, we brought back glass recycling in the City of Marquette. I have voted to permanently preserve 578 acres of the Heartwood Forest, sell the 25-acre Heartwood Parcel 13 property to the Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN), add more than 6 acres and 1,100 feet of shoreline to the City’s public lakeshore, and create a Climate Action Work Plan to eliminate the City of Marquette’s carbon emissions by 2050. I also voted to fund the Lakeshore Boulevard project, which when fully complete will create dozens of acres of new public parkland, wetlands, dunes, swales, and both sand and pebble beach while protecting our lakeshore from erosion and coastal flooding.
When I was elected, I promised to be the most transparent City Commissioner that Marquette has ever had, and I have stuck to my word. I have shared detailed public explanations of every single substantive vote that I have taken on the City Commission since being elected, the first City Commissioner to ever do so. I hold biweekly constituent office hours on Facebook Live where I answer live questions from the people of Marquette, and I do my best to respond promptly to constituent concerns. I have also advocated for efforts to expand access to voting, like opening a satellite City Clerk office on NMU’s campus during the 2020 election. If elected to a second term, I will advocate for preserving and expanding ballot access for all eligible voters, strengthening ties with tribal governments and the NMU student government, and creating a Marquette Youth Commission to give young adults a voice in our City government. I will also continue holding my office hours and explaining every single one of my votes.
These achievements have come despite the significant economic and fiscal challenges facing the City of Marquette. After many years of declining tax revenue, unsustainable infrastructure expansion, and the closure of K.I. Sawyer in 1995, the Empire Mine in 2016, and the Presque Isle Power Plant in 2019, it has become clear that the fiscal can that has been kicked down the road by previous City Commissions has finally landed squarely in the current Commission’s lap. The time has come to put the City back on a sustainable, fiscally responsible financial path. I believe that the City Commission needs to work with City staff and residents to create an efficient, responsible plan to balance our City budget and maintain our aging roads, water and sewer systems, and recreation facilities. We need to find new revenue to make our insolvent City infrastructure funds financially sound now and for generations to come, without placing an unmanageable financial burden on lower-income City residents or repeating the financial mistakes of the past.
Over the past 3 years, I’ve kept my promises to the people of Marquette. If I am re-elected, I will continue to keep my promises, and I will spend the next 3 years working as hard as I can every day to make real progress on the critical issues that affect the lives of everyday Marquette residents.