The State News endorses Beier, Stephens for city council seats
East Lansing’s local government has been in the spotlight for several months now — from Country Mill Farms’ court case against the city to the income tax proposal — and the importance of a strong city council is as necessary as ever.
With the local election taking place on Nov. 7, The State News endorses Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Beier and Aaron Stephens for the two available seats in the upcoming East Lansing City Council race.
Beier has the financial background the city needs. She graduated from MSU with a degree in economics and received a master’s degree from Duke University.
She’s experienced in her field — she’s worked as an economist for the Michigan Education Association and was appointed deputy treasurer for taxation and economic policy for the state of Michigan by then-Gov. James Blanchard.
She initially ran for city council in 2013 because she wanted to help the city manage its finances. The city needs that interest and determination in managing the budget — now more than ever.
Beier is well-equipped to handle the results of the income tax proposal, whatever happens. If it is to pass, Beier will be able to implement the tax effectively. If it fails, Beier will be a leader in working with appropriate city leaders to find the $3 million needed to fund pensions.
Beier has been active in decisions to approve Brownfield redevelopment projects and make downtown businesses more diverse and active. One of her original campaign goals was to bring in new business to the Park District buildings, and she said for the next term she wants to bring a new developer in to complete that goal.
Furthermore, Beier represents the permanent residents of East Lansing very well. She makes an effort to connect with residents by knocking on doors, talking to students and more. Having a government that listens to its residents is vital, and Beier does her best to make sure that happens.
Though Stephens, a political science senior at MSU, is running for his first time, he has experience working on national campaigns. He worked with both the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton presidential campaigns.
As a student, Stephens can bring a different perspective to the council. One of his goals is to work closer with the university, and he knows the actors within the administration to make that possible.
His passion for politics is noticeable.
Throughout the campaign, he’s emphasized his goal to stay in East Lansing past graduation and be a politically active community member. By showing a genuine interest in solving these local problems, voters can take Stephens by his word and believe he will stick to his goals.
Support for Stephens is evident.
He was endorsed by Rep. Sam Singh, the Michigan House minority leader who was on the East Lansing City Council for 10 years. Stephens also raised more than $10,000 for the election.
Stephens wants to make downtown development a priority and is not picky about who applies to develop. In a previous State News article, Stephens said he would let the market decide what comes downtown.
Beier is a candidate students and residents alike can trust to make tough decisions and engage the community. Stephens is a newcomer with genuine ideas and a student’s perspective. The two are equipped to handle anything the council needs, which is why The State News endorses Beier and Stephens for East Lansing City Council.
The State News Editorial Board is made up of the Editor-in-Chief Rachel Fradette, Managing Editor McKenna Ross, Campus Editor Brigid Kennedy, Features Editor Sasha Zidar, Sports Editor Sam Metry, Copy Chief Blair Baeten, Staff Representative Madison O'Connor and Inclusion Representative Souichi Terada.
City Editor Riley Murdock did not sit for this editorial.