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VOTER GUIDE Lansing City Election


Voter Guide

Lansing City Election

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Polls Open: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The League of Women Voters of the Lansing Area offers this Voter Guide with biographical information about the candidates and answers to questions about issues. It includes information on ballot proposals and candidates

running for:

• Lansing Mayor

• Lansing City Clerk

• Lansing City Council

The League is a national organization, working since 1920 to encourage citizen participation in government. It never supports or opposes any political party or candidate but does take action on issues after careful study by the membership.

The Voter Guide: The information in this publication is printed as submitted by the candidates to VOTE411 and has not been edited. The League of Women Voters does not take responsibility for the views or the facts as stated by the candidates. The words “Did not reply in time for publication” after the candidate’s name indicate that no response was received by the deadline.

Camilla Davis and Beth Moore, Co-Presidents League of Women Voters of the Lansing Area

The League of Women Voters Making Democracy Work: Membership in the League of Women Voters is open to all men and women over age 16. For information about joining or to contribute to the work of the League, please visit our website at http://lansing.mi.lwvnet.org

League of Women Voters of the Lansing Area P.O. Box 971, East Lansing, Michigan 48823 Phone: (517) 624-9224

Judi Brown Clarke

Campaign Email: judi4mayor@gmail.com

Campaign Website: https://www.judi4mayor.com

Education: Bachelors - Audiology & Speech Sciences; Masters - Education; Doctorate - Public Policy & Administration

Andy Schor

Campaign Email: andy.schor@gmail.com

Campaign Website: www.andyschor.com

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, University of Michigan

What special qualifications would you bring to the office of Lansing City Mayor?

I was voted onto the Lansing City Council in an At-Large seat (citywide) as vice-president for two consecutive years (2014 & 2015) and President in 2016. I value regionalism and am the current chair of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, and the chair of the Capital Area Michigan Works Administrative Board. Both leadership roles have provided me with invaluable insight and a tremendous vantage point on regional key challenges. I understand blending education/workforce development and science & technology to create new innovation economies that attract new global businesses and grow residents.

I am a true believer in Lansing, which is why my wife and I chose to live here 20 years ago. I am serving my third term as State Representative, where I have worked in a bipartisan way to champion issues affecting Lansing and all Michigan residents. I served as a County Commissioner where I chaired many committees and, as Finance Chair, passed a budget during tough economic times that avoided cuts to important programs. I worked for the Michigan Municipal League where I learned the intricacies of city government throughout Michigan. I have the leadership style, vision, and experience to lead Lansing into the future.

What issues do you want to address, if you are elected mayor?

As Mayor of Lansing, my key priorities are to address: • Infrastructure improvements, specifically roads & sidewalks • Education & workforce development • Neighborhood & business corridor development I will continue working with the Financial Health Team to address the unfunded pension and healthcare shortfall, which is well over $600 million. Bankruptcy is a possibility if we do not continue the fiscal prudency of the Hollister and Bernero Administrations. I would not sell the BWL because we would be sacrificing a long-term, sustainable revenue source for a short term, one-time payment.

My comprehensive plan has four main areas and is online at www.andyschor.com. (1) Neighborhoods will be safe, inviting, and strong with amenities for youth and families like good parks. (2) Economic and community development will address commercial corridors as well as downtown, focusing on growth and job opportunities with common sense regulations and talent retention. (3) Roads and sidewalks fixes will be prioritized neighborhood-byneighborhood, and police and fire will be a budget priority. (4) The City will work with Lansing schools to ensure and show that children can receive a great education in Lansing.

Residents are concerned about maintaining city services and balancing the city’s budget. What can be done to ensure that city services are maintained?

My vision is to create and sustain a city where people want to live, work and invest by promoting an environment conducive to attracting, retaining and nuturing businesses.

This is accomplished through strategic policies, performance measure, and implementation procedures that enhance the City’s fiscal capacity. This also includes creating activities that contribute to a diverse economy that builds on knowledge and technology innovation. Collectively, this creates a sustainable economy that is resilient and responsive to change.

We have limited resources and must have a balanced budget. I will use priority-based budgeting to ensure we fund the areas most important to Lansing residents- police, fire, roads, code compliance, and other human services. Special millages will continue to focus on parks and police/fire/roads, while state gas tax dollars will help fix roads and sidewalks. We will also attract and retain talent by funding city services that help Lansing grow and thrive through placemaking and amenities. To address unfunded liabilities and legacy costs, we will work with all interested and affected parties to create a long term plan.

Chris Swope

Campaign Email: voteswope@gmail.com

Campaign Website: www.ChrisSwope.com Education: B.A. in Financial Adminstration from MSU

Jerimic Clayborn III

Did not reply in time for publication

What can be done by the Lansing City Clerk to increase voter participation in elections?

I have 12 years experience working to make voting easier. We actively inform voters over 60 of their ability to get an absentee ballot; and have greatly increased the number of people on the permanent absent voters list. We use social media, City TV, public service announcements, newsletters, and paid ads to make the public aware of their voting rights. We have worked cooperatively with many organizations on voter registration drives. We do outreach at numerous events throughout the year to raise awareness of voting. We have implemented mock election ballots for “kids of all ages” to practice voting.

What issues do you see that need to be addressed if you are elected as the City


The biggest issue facing the office is implementation of the medical marijuana regulations recently enacted by the Lansing City Council. The new ordinance places a great deal of responsibility with the City Clerk and it will be a huge undertaking for me and my staff. We are already working on the application which has 26 requirements. The ordinance allows 5 different types of licenses and has complex regulations for each.We successfully implemented new voting equipment in August, but there are still more issues to address as we gear up for the much higher turnout we will have in the Gubernatorial Election in 2018.

Kyle Bowman

Campaign website: www.electkylebowman.com

Kathie Dunbar

Campaign email: kathiedunbar@gmail.com

Campaign website: www.kathiedunbar.com

Guillermo Z. Lopez

Campaign website:


Peter Spadafore

Campaign email:

peter@peterspadafore.com Campaign website:


What special qualifications would you bring to the office of Lansing City Council Member?

I have served with the State Police for 22 years and am currently the state’s security operations commander. Throughout my career, I have brought people together from all walks of life to address critical issues that affect the lives of everyday citizens. In 2009, I was appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm to serve as the state’s homeland security adviser. In that role, I was the state’s primary point of contact on counterterrorism issues with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. I am ready to put my problem-solving skills and experience to work for Lansing citizens as a member of the Lansing City Council.

In both the nonprofit and public sectors, I have a strong record championing programs and policies that reflect my commitment to social justice, community and economic development, environmental stewardship, urban revitalization, citizen engagement, and fiscal responsibility. I’m a passionate, outspoken advocate for those less fortunate in our community. As a nonprofit director and council member, I’m continually engaging and collaborating with a large, diverse network of citizens and community leaders to improve quality of life for everyone in Lansing.

I have a very good knowledge of how the City of Lansing works. In my thirty year career with the City, I became aware of how to navigate the city process and procedures on behalf of residents who needed city services. Also, I have served on the Lansing School Board of Education for nearly seventeen years. This gives me a good understanding of parliamentary procedures as well as a wealth of knowledge regarding how to evaluate budgets, reports and applicable state or federal legislation. Additionally, my bilingual ability, English ans Spanish, will help me personally serve a large segment of our community.

I’ve served on the Lansing School Board for the last six years–three as president and two as secretary. Through those experiences and more than a decade of working in policy I’ve balanced budgets, worked collaboratively toward shared goals, and made tough decisions on behalf of the residents of Lansing–including developing our strategic plan and helping the Lansing Pathway Promise Bond become a reality for Lansing’s children. I believe I bring a demonstrated ability to collaboratively craft a shared vision for our residents and achieve those goals. We face big problems–we will only solve them together.

What issues do you want to address, if you are elected as a City Council Member?

If we are going to attract new jobs and investments to Lansing, we must improve the quality of our infrastructure. As a Lansing City Council member, I will make fixing our crumbling roads and sidewalks the city’s No. 1 budget priority. In addition, with my decades of experience as a sworn trooper, I understand the importance of protecting our neighborhoods from criminals who prey on children, seniors and families. If elected to the City Council, I will fight to give our police and firefighters the tools they need to keep Lansing safe.

My first priority is growing our local economy and continuing to create good paying jobs for Lansing residents. Studies show that strategic development supporting mixed use development, increased urban density, diverse housing and transportation options, focus on arts, culture, and recreation attracts new business and residential investment and reduces the likelihood that current businesses and residents will leave. All of these factors help improve the city’s financial outlook, providing more resources to address other priorities, like fixing our roads and reducing unfunded pension liabilities.

If elected In no particular order, I will address the following issues: • Neighborhood empowerment, development, and quality of life, • Closer relations and cooperation with the Lansing School District • City Economic wellness • A city workforce that reflects our community and workplace quality of life for City employees.

Roads & infrastructure, local economy and good governance. Lansing residents deserve more than a Band-Aid approach–they need good roads and sidewalks. We must develop a long-term plan to fix our infrastructure that prioritizes all roads, not just a few visible streets. Lansing must focus on our neighborhoods and improving quality of life beyond the few blocks around the Capitol. It’s time we mean it when we say we value our neighborhoods. Today’s Council climate is too focused on infighting instead of building a stronger Lansing. I’ve demonstrated a strong ability to build consensus and execute a shared vision.

What could the city council do to provide affordable housing and enhance livability across the city?

If we are going to continue giving tax breaks to developers, we must ensure the our tax dollars are wisely invested in development projects that benefit everyone — not just millionaire developers To that end, the city should work with property developers to create affordable housing opportunities in the new development projects that come before the City Council. City leaders must also put forth a stronger effort to create good jobs for local workers, so that people can afford their mortgages or rent.

32% of Lansing residents living at or below the poverty level, so it’s imperative that council members support development (and closely monitor quality) of affordable housing. After the 2008 housing crisis, many residents (families, seniors) lost their homes to foreclosure, increasing the need for affordable housing in the city. I’ve consistently supported development projects that offer a mix of affordable and market-rate units in areas with access to public transportation and social services because. From a socio-economic perspective, living in economically diverse neighborhoods improve outcomes for lowincome youth.

In my view, the city needs to provide resources to our residents regarding available programs to rehab current home or to guide s towards programs that provide affordable loans to those wishing to purchase a home in the city. Further, the city should work to partner on affordable single home development throughout the city. As to livability across the city, the administration needs to do whatever it can to fix our roads and sidewalks. Also to take care of our green spaces so that residents can use them more frequently. in addition, the city needs to continue to work on making Lansing an age friendly city.

City Council must develop a long-term plan that increases access to adequate and affordable housing solutions for residents of every income level and promotes programs like the Lansing Down Payment Assistance Program and Ingham County Land Bank that expand homeownership opportunities. Stable housing and increased ownership leads to safety, security, more community involvement, better schools and economic prosperity. If elected to city council, I will focus resources on strengthening neighborhoods and fight for smart development policies that put the needs of Lansing citizens first.

Jeremy Garza

Campaign Email:

Garzaforcouncil@gmail.com Campaign Website:

www.votejeremygarza.com Education: J.W. Sexton High school graduate. 5 year L.C.C. Plumber/Pipefitter apprenticeship program graduate. Currently enrolled in my 3rd year of UA Instructors Training Program (5 year program) at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor.

Tina Houghton

Campaign Email:

houghtonforlansing@gmail.com Campaign Website:

www.houghtonforlansing.com Education: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a minor in International Business from Northwood University and Master of Science in Administration Degree with a concentration in Leadership from Central Michigan University.

What special qualifications would you bring to the office of Lansing City Council Member?

I am the Safety Director for my local plumber and pipefitters union, I have also been on the city of Lansing plumbing board for the past six years. I possess the right leadership skills it’s going to take to stand up against the rich developers and corporate special interests that have been running the show at Lansing City Hall. I think regular working people need a voice on city council, and that’s why I’m running.

I have not only been on council for nearly 8 years, but I’ve also been an active member of the community for over 25. During my time on council, I’ve advocated for strong local progressive governance, which is especially important now to counteract the circus of our statewide and national politics. From sponsoring a resolution to keep Lansing part of the Paris Climate Agreement, to supporting our human rights ordinance, to fighting every day to keep the city a safe place, attract investment and create more and better jobs, I’ve proven myself as the best person to give the 2nd ward the representation it deserves.

What issues do you want to address, if you are elected as a City Council Member?

Investing in Lansing’s priorities, like fixing our crumbling roads, improving public safety and cleaning up our neighborhoods and commercial corridors. We must get back to basics and spend taxpayer dollars wisely on infrastructure improvements that will benefit everyone. We need a city government that puts people before special interests. We also need a fair economy that works for all Lansing residents. The City Council has given away tens of millions in taxpayer dollars to corporations without requiring them to give local workers a fair shot at the jobs that their own tax dollars are helping to create.

Some of my top priorities are: Creating jobs- Lansing should strive to be the region’s leader in economic development, utilizing smart, regional decision making and decisive publicprivate partnerships to continue to redevelop our economy for today’s Market. Medical Marijuana Ordinance-I will work hard to pass and implement an effective and public safety conscious medical marijuana ordinance that will serve to make our community a better place. City Infrastructure–Making streets/ sidewalks safe for all users, ensuring seniors can safely age in place, kids can walk to school, and accessible commuting options for all.

Residents are concerned about maintaining city services and balancing the city’s budget. What can be done to ensure that city services are maintained?

We need to take a good look at our city’s budget from A to Z and ensure that we are investing in Lansing’s priorities, like fixing our crumbling roads, improving public safety and cleaning up our neighborhoods and commercial corridors. We also need to generate more revenue so we can property fund our retirees. Part of that means start making developers and corporations in our city pay their fair share of taxes. It’s unfair to expect city taxpayers and retirees to carry the burden while allowing rich developers and campaign contributors to get out of paying their taxes.

Thankfully, Lansing has had four straight years of a budget surplus which has eliminated the need to cut city services. In fact, we have been able to add back some much need human capital that we lost during the Great Recession.

We have also increased efficiencies, increased our rainy day fund, begin to address our long term legacy costs and infrastructure needs. By listening to residents and gaining their feedback on city services is a major factor when voting on the annual budget.

What could the city council do to provide affordable housing and enhance livability across the city?

We need to take a good look at fixing up our existing housing stock, which helps raise property values in our neighborhoods. We should be closely partnering with the Ingham County Land Bank to create affordable housing throughout the city, as opposed to warehousing lowincome citizens in housing complexes.

Housing diversity matters the same way that age, racial and other forms of diversity do to keep our city vibrant. Knowing that about one-third of our residents live near the poverty line it is imperative that we proactively address the affordable housing crisis. We should be supporting creative solutions by supporting developers that provide quality affordable housing options coupled with access to resources, mixed income level housing options and repurposing large houses into small affordable units. If we do not increase our stock of affordable housing, we will always have homeless and precariously housed people.

Brian T. Jackson

Campaign Email: brian@brian4council.com

Campaign website: www.brian4council.com

James M. McClurken

Campaign website: www.facebook.com/forcitycouncil

What special qualifications would you bring to the office of Lansing City Council Member?

I worked as an assistant Lansing City Attorney and represented Lansing in a variety of matters. I used the City Charter and the Code of Ordinances frequently and understand the rules that govern the Council’s role in the City.

I was also born and raised in Lansing and am active in the community in many ways, including direct work with “at-risk children. Also, I work well with others and will not let personal differences slow us down.

For more than 30 years I have worked in national politics, owned a small business, and served my community. I am a consultant to Native American Tribes who work with Congress, the Interior Department, and federal courts to protect their treaty rights. I have knowledge of small businesses from running my own companies. I am a socially active member of my community and understand the needs of people who live in Lansing’s Fourth Ward and have energy to work toward community goals. I have no political aspirations beyond serving the Fourth Ward and will make decisions that focus on their welfare.

What issues do you want to address, if you are elected as a City Council Member?

When I am elected to Council, I will balance the need for development, with revitalization of our neighborhoods. In the past, Lansing’s leaders focus has been on improving downtown and attracting new residents.

Development is important, but we need to do a better job to assist our current residents and not ignore the neighborhoods. I want to bring balance in those areas. Also, I want to work with the new administration and residents to fix our roads because they are dangerous and a matter of public safety. Residents have already identified this issue as most important, therefore, its a top priority for me. When I am on Council, I will search for the best solution that actually makes a noticeable improvement and not just a temporary fix.

Lansing has not done enough to make our neighborhoods safe and walkable places. I want to work with our new mayor to make real change. Those changes include: repairing our streets and sidewalks; enforcing city codes to compel absentee landlords to repair their holdings and making them responsible for damage done by problem renters to stop the declining value of housing stock; increasing the number of police on our streets and in our neighborhoods to make sure that police and neighborhoods work together to increase livability. I will work with the Lansing School Board to make schools better and stop the proliferation of charter schools.

Residents are concerned about maintaining city services and balancing the city’s budget. What can be done to ensure that city services are maintained?

We can focus on continued growth so that we do not need to reduce any city services. When I am in Council, I would consider ways to make our city services better and sustainable. One option could be consolidation with other regional agencies where its practicable and beneficial for the City.

The best way to assure a balanced budget while maintaining services is to encourage residential and business development within city limits. Construction of high density and single family housing that emphasizes ownership by mixed-income residents will increase collections from income tax and raise property values. At the same time, developers who wish to avail themselves of city or state resources for the construction of their projects should be asked to commit to creating work spaces so that city residents can work where they live, further increasing the income available for balancing budgets.

What could the city council do to provide affordable housing and enhance livability across the city?

City Council could ensure that all new housing or apartment developments had affordable housing units included. Many developers want incentives and tax breaks to build in Lansing. Council should only consider these options is there is affordable housing or a real plan on how to improve the area around the project and the quality of life for Lansing citizens.

City Council can provide affordable housing and enhanced livability by increasing residential density that best uses the limited space of the urban environment with grocery stores and small businesses within walking distance of residences. Young developers are already making this happen with plans for and investment in mixed price condos and apartments within walking distances of amenities, schools, and services. City Council can work with developers to encourage this vision of urban design, work with the School Board to enhance education to families who wish to live in the city, and work with our police to create safer neighborhoods.

Who Can Vote:

You must be registered to vote in Michigan by October 10, 2017. You can register if you are a U.S. citizen, a Michigan resident and you will be at least 18 years old on Election Day. If you are a first-time voter and registered by mail, you must appear in person to vote in the first election in which you wish to participate. You can also obtain an absentee ballot only if you personally apply for the ballot with proper ID at your clerk’s office.

Voter ID Requirement: When you arrive at your polling place to vote, state law requires you to either show picture ID or sign a statement attesting that you are not in possession of picture ID. You’ll then be able to vote.

Absentee Ballots: Absentee ballots are available from your local clerk for all elections. You may vote by absentee ballot if you are: 1) unable to go to the polls without assistance, 2) 60 years old or older, 3) expect to be out of town on election day, 4) in jail awaiting arraignment or trial, 5) unable to go to the polls due to religious reasons, or 6) appointed to work as an election inspector.

You can ask your clerk for an absentee ballot application in person with a photo ID or get an application on line at www.Michigan.gov/elections to submit to your clerk. An absentee ballot application must be submitted by 2 p.m. the Saturday before the election and the ballot returned by 8 p.m. on election-day.

For more information about voting and elections, go to www.vote411.org, or www.michigan.gov/vote.


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