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VOTE411 Voter Guide

City of Mt Pleasant Commissioner {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Mt. Pleasant City Commission consists of seven citizens elected at large for staggered three-year terms. Candidates for the City Commission must reside within the city limits. City Commission duties and responsibilities are set forth in the City Charter. The City Commission elects the Mayor and Vice Mayor from among its members at the first meeting each January.VOTE FOR TWO
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Candidate picture

    Damian S. Fisher Lawyer & Business owner

  • Candidate picture

    William Joseph Student

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    Kristin LaLonde Health Sciences Librarian

  • Candidate picture

    Amy Perschbacher Mental Health Therapist, property manager, and adjunct faculty at Jackson College

  • Rick Rautanen

  • Candidate picture

    Marni Taylor Gratiot/Isabella Great Start Collaborative Coordinator

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

Expand on an issue(s) of importance to you and list your priorities should you be elected.

Are you satisfied with rental housing within the city? Do you think there are enough units that satisfy the needs of young families and older adults? Is there a way to encourage landlords to serve this market?

Concerts, family activities, new businesses are drawing people to the downtown area. What ideas do you have for attracting more businesses and more shoppers to Mt Pleasant's downtown?

What, if any, steps should the city take to support the efforts of local churches and businesses to provide services for Mt Pleasant's homeless population?

What is your opinion of "sustainable cities"? (cities designed with consideration of environmental impact, i.e., meeting the needs of the present without compromising needs of future generations. The concept involves minimization of required inputs of energy, water and food, and waste output of heat, air pollution- CO2, methane, and water pollution.")

What would you do to improve the city's relationship with the student population? How would you encourage student participation in local government?

How can the city and university work together to keep our downtown and our neighborhoods viable and safe for all who live in our community?

Education AA Economics, AS Business Administration, BA English, JD Law
Facebook Page http://fish4commish
Background/experience Law practice in community and economic development, Operates a full service marketing company, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Member, father, navy veteran.
Bridge building begins with establishing sustainable communication pathways between units of government with common interests. City, Townships, County, State and Tribal governments must meet regularly to identify issues of common interest and work together to create solutions that leverage the unique contributions that each can bring to bear on such collaborative solutions
Housing is not mere shelter. Moreover, it is vital in defining the quality of life for our community. We can incentivize responsible development that both satisfies existing demand and achieves our goals of building sustainable neighborhoods and stable property values.
Community and economic development depends on stable and certain market conditions. Investment in infrastructure and incubating local innovation will initiate sustainable growth across all business districts and neighborhoods. Encouraging creativity and facilitating innovation means listening, leaving the door open, suspending disbelief and allowing for possibility.
“We the People” defines Government as being of the people by the people and for the people, but government is not a person, it is a process. It’s a process that facilitates people helping people by properly encouraging pathways for meaningful communication and facilitating real connections between those in need, and those with means.
Sustainable cities begin with responsive and responsible development. Taking time to understand the needs and demands of a community, and to know the difference, automatically compels us to consider with diligence, all these factors when making thoughtful decisions.
The city is best when it does what cities do best: be true to itself and maintain its identity with authenticity. We need vibrant and eclectic downtown spaces, we need efficient and safe urbanized corridors, we need quiet and busy neighborhoods, we need green spaces and we need gathering places. When we do that students will be naturally attracted to participate in many diverse ways in the greater community beyond CMU's campus.
Community building starts with knowing your neighbor. Safety is more a matter of rejecting fear than of providing sanctuary. Breaking down barriers to communication, acknowledging unique neighborhood identities and encouraging resident participation in events and functions builds bridges that bring people together.
Education Class of 2017 B.S. Majors in Mathematics and Political Science
Background/experience 1+ yr Planning Commissioner, 1+ yr Water Dept, Citizens Academy, 1 yr of Student/City Liaison Committee 4 yr at CMU Student Government, 2 yr CMU Academic Senate, 2 yr Police Oversight, 1 yr Libraries Committee
Reaching out to the Student and young professional community to make sure their priorities are represented. Making Mt Pleasant a more desirable place to live for young professionals who continually leave every year after graduation. Expand recycling availability to all residents especially to those who rent. Make downtown a more vibrant place and essential to the Mt Pleasant experience. Recognize the unique international community that resides here and ensure respect and dignity for all.
The city needs to encourage landlords to build quality rental facilities. High density occupancy and barrack style rental facilities in town have led to the conflict between students and longer term residents. Young families and older adults find it difficult to find rental housing without close proximity to rental facilities meant for students and young adults. The new development on Parcel B and the opportunities that the new Character Based Code will aid in the relief of this issue.
The city and downtown businesses need to coordinate together to bring more events downtown. We have a great base of arts and cultural events but they need to be more frequent and need to appeal more to the younger crowds. More coordination with groups affiliated with the University and Saginaw Chippewa Tribe are starkly absent from many downtown events. Enticing these groups with events downtown especially in the spring and fall will bring many benefits.
The city should be willing to offer financial assistance to build a more permanent homeless shelter. Mt Pleasant should seek assistance from the county and surrounding communities. Taking care of our less fortunate brings everyone else up and if the city continues to ignore the situation it invites more problems such as theft, drug abuse, neglect of those with cognitive and emotional medical conditions.
Mt Pleasant should have the goal to be the most sustainable city it can be. Our long term survival depends on this. Ensuring the city, businesses and institutions who reside here are kept to a high standard of low environmental impact is common sense policy. Technological innovation to achieve responsible use of resources and quality infrastructure is not only good for the environment but our pocket books.
More integration between these two groups is paramount, The divide between the city and the student population is decreasing with community and university leaders who are devoting efforts to the issue. I would encourage City staff to visit CMU and talk to professors and students about potential internships and career avenues. Events and causes that both groups can share increases exchanges that will bring them together.
Alcohol related crime is a culturally motivated issue that Mt Pleasant like any other college town must currently face. The University is currently requiring freshmen to complete and drug and alcohol awareness training. City police and code enforcement efforts have led to less problems during high volume weekends. The problems will be persistent given our culture and its attitudes towards alcohol but I strongly believe were on the right track.
Education Beal City High School, 2003. BA: Political Science & History - University of Michigan - Flint, 2008. Masters of Library & Information Science - Wayne State University, 2011.
Background/experience Kristin is currently serving on the Isabella County Human Rights Committee and represents the City of Mount Pleasant on the Isabella County Recycling Center Advisory Board. In April 2017, Kristin completed the 2017 Mount Pleasant Citizen's Academy.
I will expand the city’s commitment to non-motorized transportation. We need more bike lanes and slow down/ reduce congested traffic on Mission. Secondly, Mount Pleasant needs to be more proactive about environmental issues, particularly with E.coli in the Chippewa River. There needs to be a priority to work with the surrounding institutions to tackle this issue head on. And thirdly, I will work to improve economic stability in our city. A small group of developers should not control our future.
We have too many rentals that are classified as Boarding Houses and not enough single family rentals or traditional apartments. Right now, landlords have few incentives to change as properties classified as Boarding Houses are more profitable. Changes to our zoning that will limit how many boarding houses are allowed in areas will require landlords to change their business model and result in more traditional apartments/ rentals.
Making Downtown a destination, where people spend several hours shopping, eating or hanging out is the ultimate goal, especially if they’re walking or biking there. A City Commission that is willing to allow for special events downtown that take over whole streets and parking lots will go a long way. As well as a City Commission willing to spend funds on branding and promotion to potential business owners outside of the region.
The City should assist the Restoration House board in finding a permanent home within the city so that they can provide more services that serve their mission like showers, mail box access, navigation of government and non-profit resources and employment assistant. Eventually, when the organization is ready to proceed, the City should assist in finding longer term temporary housing solutions so that homeless individuals will have a stable residence while they work to turn things around.
I believe that elected officials and government bodies have a responsibility to make changes that are sustainable and act as stewards of our precious natural resources. Mount Pleasant needs to work with the Michigan Municipal League to participate in their Michigan Green Communities program as a jumping off point, to learn best practices and get examples from other cities who have successfully implemented sustainability projects.
While Public Safety is doing a great job building relationships with our students, our city’s leaders should be extending a welcoming hand as well. This can be done through showing up at student run events and talking in front of student groups. To get students more involved in local government, City Commissioners should seek out organized student groups and talk about opportunities to serve on committees and boards. Letting them know that their input is valuable and welcome.
The relationship building being done currently is having a positive effect and expanding this relationship building to include elected officials would go even further. The City should work on neighborhood development and help host events that will get the permanent residents and students to meet each other and interact positively. Additionally the University letting students know what behavior is not tolerated under their code of conduct and enforcing that, has a significant impact.
Education Bachelor of Science in Psychology - CMU Master of Arts in Counseling - CMU
Twitter @APerschbacher
Background/experience I am a former small business owner, current downtown property manager, and mental health therapist. I have worked on church boards, small town committees, township boards, and have organized numerous events in the area.
Mt Pleasant should evolve without diminishing the land, water, air, natural & cultural resources that support us. As we develop it is important to support policies that increase the availability of affordable single-family housing and community relevant multiple-family dwellings. Traffic flow & the safety of residents should be explicitly addressed in new developments/redesign projects. In summary, I am a longtime supporter of sustainable communities.
I live in a rental property. I like the house I live in and I love my neighborhood. Perhaps because I rent, I’ve become aware the statistics regarding homeowner/occupant status. There are some things the City Commission could do to increase the availability of acceptable and affordable housing. For instance, a more determined focus on maintaining single-family housing areas in the city might help to increase the availability and affordability of single family housing.
We have a great downtown & existing resources have able to attract some amazing businesses. I have, however, spoken with individuals that work in the downtown area who struggle to find parking that allows them to work without worrying about receiving a parking ticket. While I am open to a variety of strategies that could help further develop the downtown business community, we may have to address the parking issue if we expect to be successful in fostering and maintaining new business ventures.
There are many factors that cause & maintain homelessness. Because of the complexity of the problem, a more robust solution that entails the input of local medical, mental health, law enforcement, religious, and businesses leaders. The City Commission is uniquely positioned to foster fruitful dialogues amongst these varied constituents. It is only through such a joint effort that we are likely to be able to access state and federal funds that can help to develop a sustainable approach.
I believe the City Commission could be a force that encourages the optimal use of all the resources we have available to ensure Mt Pleasant is a sustainable community that respects the interdependence of economic, environmental, & social issues.We have the potential to evolve without diminishing the land, water, air, natural & cultural resources that support us. We can decrease our footprint while increasing our abilities to grow economically.
The majority of university employees & students I’ve talked with want a town that is growing, vibrant, and safe- just like the non-university affiliated residents. We have at our fingertips a level of knowledge & cutting-edge research, as well as a potential student volunteer force, that most towns would pay dearly to access. I believe that the city can utilize this wealth by having 2 city commission meetings on campus, inviting the students to attend & voice their concerns & interest.
The values of the students & the residents of Mount Pleasant are not very different. We all want a community that is safe and inviting. Working with students from CMU and MidMichigan along with our police departments, the city can create a task force that can develop and maintain relationships that encourage community safety.
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Education BS in Sociology and Family Studies from Central Michigan University
Background/experience I have sat on many boards and committees.
I feel that quality early childhood environments for our children is necessary for our community to take seriously. With the impact of so many changes to our society, quality early childhood learning is diminishing. Families are struggling more. This greatly affects our future economic forecast as well as the interest in moving to the Mt Pleasant area.
I am not satisfied with the rental housing in Mt Pleasant that serves young families and older adults. Definitely needs to be more low income housing. 46% of Isabella County is barely making ends meet or not making ends meet (2017 UW ALICE Data) I feel that there needs to be community built within these environments in order to support families that move to them. In doing so they can hold each other accountable, provide resources for each other and support each other in times of need.
Developing and promoting more family activities. If something is created for kids to attend, parents will take them. Downtown seems to be a very “Adult” place to go however, it seems there needs to be more activities or businesses with a child focus. Ie: Ice cream shop, toy store, dollar store, gymnastics, karate, etc.
While I have volunteered at the soup kitchen many times, I am not aware of the causes for homelessness in our community. I believe that first and foremost we need to understand what is causing this problem in our area……what are the unique contributors.
It is my opinion that every person plays a role in “sustainable cities”. However, without a plan or infrastructure to do so makes it more difficult for all to participate. I believe it to be in the cities best interest to lead the way, role model and provide the plan and the infrastructure.
Over the past year, I believe that the student voice in government has increased. One thing that would support this would be to hold government meetings on CMU and MMCC Campuses. Hugely promote the meetings and find student groups that would help to promote to students.
Give ownership to the students and the university. Plan events around CMU students. Get fraternities and sororities involved in events.

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