Erik Altmann, Shanna Draheim and Mark Meadows are the winners of the 2015 East Lansing City Council Election. Altmann received 2,212 votes, Draheim received 2,239 votes and Meadows received 2,821 votes.
Draheim, Meadows and Altmann win City Council seats
“I am so proud of the East Lansing community. I just am so proud. We stood up to a smear campaign from people who were trying to buy our election," Altmann said. "We took a guy who raised $50,000 for a City Council campaign and we sent him home. This is a huge win for democracy and a huge win for the city.”
Altmann is a psychology professor at MSU and is currently a member of the East Lansing Planning Commission.
He said he wanted to be a part of the East Lansing City Council to take on two key issues, the first being fixing the blighted area in downtown East Lansing on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road and the second being the city's finances.
Relating to finances, Altmann said taxes are very high in the city, which is impacting everyone as landlords pass those costs on to their renters.
Although taxes are high, the city doesn't seem to have any money to fix infrastructure because too few people are carrying the cost of running the city, Altmann said.
East Lansing will become a place students will want to live post-graduation if infrastructure and finance problems are fixed, Altmann said.
Former mayor and longtime council member Nathan Triplett lost to Altmann by about 300 votes.
"I hope that the new members of council will move on from this campaign and look for a positive vision to keep the community moving forward," Triplett said. "It was clearly an acrimonious campaign, a lot of harsh words and deep divisions and I think the community's got to move past that and focus on the positive vision that we tried to bring forward in our campaign."
"So excited, I am so thrilled. I have worked really hard this summer, and this fall to really talk to voters, and share my vision and hear from them and I'm just thrilled that voters have put their trust in me and have cast their vote for me," Draheim said. "I'm thrilled to be able to serve them now, I'm looking forward to to working with the folks I have been elected with to move forward on the vision that we are all laying out and to address some of the challenges and the opportunities that lie ahead for our city — so I'm just ecstatic."
Draheim has lived in East Lansing for 11 years, ever since she said she "fell in love" with the wonderful community, charming neighborhoods and MSU as an anchor of the city while she was a student at MSU.
She said she envisions East Lansing as being a truly world class university town.
Draheim has a strong background in environmental sustainability.
She said she would like to use this background to help bring recycling to multi-family complexes in the city that lack on-site recycling. Working on bringing improvements in the operation of the city's fleet and the types of vehicles purchased as a council member would also be a priority, she said.
"The City of East Lansing is in a unique position, particularly as a college town, to really be a leader in climate change and what local governments can do," Draheim said.
Draheim said she brings an expertise and hopes the people who elected her have trust and in faith in their decision.
“You know I connected with people. I really enjoy going door to door, that’s my favorite part of campaigning," Meadows said. "I enjoy being around people, and if you don’t you probably shouldn’t be in politics."
Meadows was on the city council from 1995 to 2006 and was mayor for eight years. He was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives for the 69th District, serving in that position from 2006 to 2013. He is currently a member of the East Lansing Housing Commission.
He said his experience can help move the city forward to achieve its rightful place as a diverse and economically stable 21st century city with strong relationship ties to its neighborhoods, regional partners, citizens and the students who attend MSU.
"I believe I can make recommendations as to what has happened in the past and how we have dealt with that to make sure we have a better balance in the community, and a better support for the decisions made by the City Council," Meadows said.
Meadows said after being elected by the community so many times he hopes not to betray its trust.