This story was corrected on June 23.
Editors note: For the next five weeks, City Pulse will profile each City Council candidate in the 1st Ward and At-Large races leading up to the Aug. 2 primary election.
1st WardPhilip Damico
Sparrow employee wants to see more tourist attractions in the city
Lansing City Council 1st Ward candidate Philip Damico said that when he looks around the city, “It’s not the Lansing I remember growing up in. It seems like there was more production, people were happier then.”
So the 36-year-old laboratory technician at Sparrow Hospital decided to run for the City Council to do something about it.
Damico is a lifelong Lansing resident and has worked at Sparrow for 11 years. He is running as a “servant of the people” and a “mediator” on Council.
“It’s too divided. There’s Team Bernero and Team City Council. It’s very frustrating to watch down there,” he said. He said he doesn’t know Bernero personally, having met him only twice.
“The first time I went to shake his hand and he stuck his business card in my hand,” he said. “I think he wants to move on to bigger and better things. That’s cool. I have nothing against him personally — I voted a straight Democratic ticket last time around.”
Damico also said Council member Carol Wood — who is a known opponent to Bernero and is up for re-election — has been “very inspirational.” The fact that Wood and Bernero have been political enemies for years is not lost on Damico, but he won’t choose sides.
“It’s no secret. You can tell. It’s gonna be quite clear when I get in there that ends,” he said.
Damico believes the city needs more “draws,” or tourist attractions, such as an indoor water park with a “tasteful little casino.” Damico called an independent plan to bring a tribal-owned casino downtown a “temporary Band-Aid.”
Damico is running as the anti-politician and a man “of the people” who until the Aug. 2 primary says he will be knocking on doors to instill a “common sense” doctrine.
“People are getting it done, clearly local government isn’t. There’s no common sense,” he said. “If I pull it off, don’t call me a politician. I’d rather be a servant of the people.”
A potential ‘swing vote,’ promoting Lansing’s arts and culture
John Krohn sits in his Cherry Hill neighborhood living room on Friday as a Kalamazoo-based band puts the finishing touches on an album upstairs that Krohn is helping them record and promote.
The 30-year-old At-Large Lansing City Council candidate talks about the city’s thriving arts and culture scene — an “energy that appealed to me” — and the need for change on the Council.
“I spend my time not only promoting Lansing artists and culture, but through mentoring, volunteering and trying to help the community,” he said.
The Michigan State University graduate in interdisciplinary social sciences has a full-time AmeriCorps position at the Ingham County Family Center, where he is a 4-H youth garden coordinator. He also owns Lower Peninsula Recordings, which produces and manages local music.
“I’ve just been involved in trying to leverage those resources of creativity and fun and attracting people,” he said. “Along the way I became interested in politics.”
Krohn’s interest also was piqued when he “saw two Council members I most disagreed with — Derrick Quinney and Carol Wood — were up for re-election.”
Krohn said he has “no connections to developer people” and has “never met the mayor,” and that those qualities of perhaps more experienced politicians are beneficial “purely from a getting elected standpoint.”
When asked what he sees when he watches the Council, Krohn said a group of people that “love Lansing and want to help,” but who are “a little caught up in personality conflicts.” He added that he thinks he’d be seen as a “swing vote” if elected — “Not a sure thing for Bernero, not a sure thing for anti-Bernero.”
As for a few of the issues, Krohn supports putting the sale of a portion of Red Cedar Park on a ballot for Lansing voters and is against raising property taxes — which a majority of Lansing residents voted down in May — to support police, fire and roads. He thinks that while the 4-mill property tax increase would have had a five-year sunset on it, the city would have been unlikely to lower the millage rate afterwards.