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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Sault Sainte Marie, City Commission {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The following candidates are running for City Commissioner, a 4 year term. Note: Caine Vandermolen and Nichole Causely are write-in candidates.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Abby Baker Restaurant/Bar Manager

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    Daniel Campbell Manager - Weir Package & Freight

  • Bob Casey

  • Nichole Causley

  • Greg Collins

  • Shane D Miller

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    Tim Talentino office salesperson

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    Kathleen Twardy Small Business Owner

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    Caine Vandermolen Grocery manager

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Biographical Information

What do you hope to accomplish if elected to the city commission?

What is your opinion of the proposed low-to-mid level housing development for downtown Soo? How do you think this would impact the city?

Do you think the city should work with other communities to promote and grow the economy of the EUP? If so, how do you see this being accomplished?

What do you think could be done to make the Soo more bike and pedestrian friendly?

Campaign Phone (906) 322-2406
Age 38
My main goals are focused around economic development. I hope to accomplish this through revitalizing our Parks and Recreation Department and other natural resources to enhance the tourism market.

I would like to address the abundance of vacant commercial buildings, and work to encourage local entrepreneurship through continued work with the EDC.

I would like to explore and encourage new revenue streams focused on keeping market shares local, including but not limited to development of the high school’s career center. With all these goals, I will promote the Main Street mentality where residents have a sense of pride and inclusion in our community. This can also be done by promoting events that are enjoyable to residents and tourists and support and promote our downtown businesses.

I would also like to address the issues surrounding opioid addiction, and working with law enforcement and health entities to promote education, prevention, and rehabilitation.
I am able to see positives and negatives surrounding the housing development for the downtown. I am concerned for families with small children, in the capacity that the downtown area is pretty high-traffic at times, which poses a safety concern, in addition to the lack of green space. After attending an informational meeting with the property management company, I understand they will have a manager on site to monitor activity.

The income-based structure will be graduated, not exclusively low-income based, which I believe is a common misconception among local residents. I do think that the development has the potential to drive the local economy through increased foot traffic, as well as encouraging development of downtown businesses with an increase in residents. Overall I am excited to see the development of a beautiful building in our downtown area, which will hopefully encourage future developers to do the same.
Yes, the city should work with other communities to promote and grow the EUP economy. Collaboration with surrounding communities could help to draw more tourist market share, as well as encouraging local investment. I believe that we trive bet as a region. We can avoid having events on competing weekends, as well as generate new ideas for new events, and share best practices that work to promote economic growth. Also, I would like to explore ways to bring more Canadian business in our market that has recently declined. We all see Canadian customers in our big box stores, but I would like to find ways to draw them into our local economy. One idea I have been developing is an International Beerfest, which will utilize the growing craft beer industry as a way to bring attention to our local economy. However, with this type of event, local and state legislation would need to change.
I believe in safe streets. As a mother with a young child I want to be sure bikers are safe. I think there should be continued efforts with bike paths and bike friendly neighborhoods, as well as installation of bike stands and street signs indicating bike and pedestrian safety.
Campaign Phone (906) 748-0974
Age 33
Sault Ste Marie has the potential to become the area's premier recreation destination. We need to work on becoming and embracing a healthier community. To accomplish this the City must partner with LSSU, local business' and utilize State programs and funds. The old Tannery site is a diamond in the rough, it needs to finished and developed. A paved bike path around and through the city is another attraction that could be easily installed. I believe the City Commission needs younger voices if our city is to attract younger professionals.
Anytime someone wants to spend $12 million dollars in developing our downtown, I believe, it's a good thing. However, I do wish that the development wasn't income restricted. We've seen in a number of studies and from trends around the country, that young and older people alike, want to live and be downtown. Having 60+ units in the heart of our downtown won't be a bad thing.
All of the communities in the EUP should work together to attract, not only tourists, but industry and commerce. Each community has something different to offer and we're all connected by I-75. To accomplish this goal, quarterly meetings, brainstorming sessions, and marketing campaigns by community leaders would be necessary.
A bike and pedestrian friendly city is as much an ideal as it is paths and right of way. Educating the public will go a long way. Fostering a culture of exercise and healthy living will promote more bike use and pedestrians. A paved path system around and through the city would greatly improve the current situation.
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Campaign Phone (906) 440-5021
Age 50
As someone whose job it is to travel around town and talk to other business owners and employees, I hear what our residents’ concerns are. Tourism is important to Sault Ste. Marie, so we need our city to look clean and well cared for. We have some good things happening, like SUP Day last summer and Oktoberfest downtown. But we also have an abundance of empty buildings that are becoming unsightly. Our local government needs to be proactive in finding good uses for these empty buildings or removing them if they become dilapidated.
Sault Ste. Marie has young families living in poverty, so we do have a need for affordable housing, but there is not a waiting list for our public housing. What we have now seems to be meeting those needs. What we do not have is enough housing available at market value. West Pier Apartments is full and has a waiting list. Newly hired government and hospital employees are having difficulty finding rentals. This is the type of housing our city currently needs. Increasing the market value housing in our city would have a positive impact by drawing people to live within the city limits rather than beyond Three Mile Road.
Yes, anything that helps the economy in the EUP ultimately promotes the growth of the Sault. One example of this that’s happening now is the millage that passed recently to create more career technical programs in all the high schools in the EUP. Sault High will be adding a public safety/law enforcement class next year that will certify young people in this field. They will then be able to get jobs in corrections, our city police, tribal police, and county sheriff’s office. We need more ideas like this that will help our young people find good paying jobs allowing them to stay in our area and earn a living, while also helping fill jobs with qualified local people.
The bike lane just added on Easterday Ave. by Lake State is a good start. More non-motorized trails and paths can be added. They are less costly and pretty easy to provide. They don’t have to be paved and can be gravel or have a limestone base. If we could have trails that connect to the downtown area, this would help draw the outdoorsy tourists to our area, like Petoskey and Marquette typically draw. The abandoned railroad line that goes from the Ashmun Street bridge along the canal to the International Bridge could become a bike path that connects our downtown to the snowmobile trail heading to Brimley. I’ve heard that Cloverland is working on a plan for this trail. The city could certainly be doing whatever it can to help make this, and other ideas that are similar to or expand on this, happen.
Campaign Phone (906) 440-0883
Age 48
As a current City Comissioner, I have collaborated on many different projects ranging from the sale of city property to helping to remove blight and improving community parks and recreation within the city. The. City commission works as a single non partisan group to review and set policy while assisting the city manager to improve the quality of life within Sault Sainte Marie. A few of the ideas that I have brought forth recently are the creation of a safety patrol officer in front of the Sault area middle school before and after school to assist children and students get to school safely. The second most recent idea I have brought forth was reviewing the current finance rate to community members for the assessment to street construction projects. The current rate is 6 percent and with the commissions approval, I would like to see if we can lower this rate, saving the community money.
Initially I was opposed to this project as the city was originally pitched the project to include more market rate apartments. At the most recent special meeting, I was in favor of removing the certain clause which would make it difficult for the developer to receive funding. As i stated during the meeting, it is not the city's position to block the sale of private property nor is it the city's position to block the development of any new business or housing development.
Currently the city has a very active EDC, or Economic Development Corporation run by Jeff Holt and Tracey Laitinen. The EDC is very involved in the creation and development of business within the city of Sault Sainte Marie. The group works very closely with different EDC groups around the state and Soo, Ontario. Jeff Holt continues to bring updates to the city commission meetings helping keep us in the loop with the changes that are happening.
For the last two years, one of the main goals of the city commission and city has been helping the Soo become more bike and recreation friendly. Currently as streets are reconstructed, we will be adding bike lanes. The city is also working on a biking and walking trail on the south side of the power canal from Ashmun to Johnston Street. Continuing to work on road diet programs and including bike lanes will help the city become more bike friendly. As far as pedestrian friendly, it is all a city goal to complete a mile of new sidewalk on an annual basis. There have also been recent crosswalk painting projects that have helped. At a recent city commission meeting we approved the purchase of 4 new blinking cross walk signe for placement in heavily traveled areas. During the winter months, the commission has continued to ask DPW to stay active of keeping crosswalks clean of snow and sidewalks on school routes and the business spur to also stay clear helping to improve walkability.
Campaign Phone (906) 630-0470
Age 24
Ideally I’d like to gather enough volunteers and resources to arrange a youth center in town. However realistically this is very difficult. It’s something I’ve researched on and off over the years, but it remains my #1 idea.

Beyond this and more realistically I’d like to aid in more development downtown and hopefully see more events in the downtown area. I’d like to see small music events on the weeknights of summer days. Little things like this that can encourage more foot traffic.
I believe that the housing in that area will not necessarily be the best for the business owners in that location. While they may receive more foot traffic they will be losing greatly on parking. However, for the city overall I think it will be a benefit. Overal the Bell has already been rung on this and a deal has been struck so regardless it’s going to happen.
Cooperation is always preferable. I think that things are different from one situation to the next but anything we can do to help each other is a good thing.
I served on the community service board for several years, and for some time as it’s chair. I think it’s slmething we will have to take in small steps. It’s something quite a few people want but if it’s done poorly then it won’t benefit anyone. I don’t have an exact idea in mind, I think t would be best to look at the most thought of locations and take it a little bit at a time converting areas to make it accessible to those modes of transport.

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