Small business owner Jessy Gregg, is running for East Lansing City Council. She is currently serving on the Ingham County Parks Commission as well as the East Lansing Arts Commission and thinks she is ready to make the jump to city council.
Three seats are up for grabs to six candidates and each are four-year terms. The candidates running are Mayor Pro Tem Erik Altmann, Mayor Mark Meadows, Lisa Babcock, Jessy Gregg, John L. Revitte and Warren Stanfield III.
This is part three of the candidate series, so far The State News has featured Michigan State student Warren Stanfield III and Mayor Pro Tem Erik Altmann.
Business owner and former reporter seeks to step up local involvement
Gregg worked as a reporter covering city government for East Lansing Info and attended city council meetings regularly. After going to the meetings for awhile, she decided that she would like to do more.
“There’s only so many long, four-hour long, city council meetings that you can sit through as a passive observer,” Gregg said. “I want to be on the other side of that table.”
Gregg is the owner of Seams Fabric and Mercantile in East Lansing. She thinks that her insight as a small business owner offers a perspective not currently present on the council. During this time of developmental growth downtown, she feels her voice is essential.
“I don’t think anybody’s working against businesses downtown, but I think they’re working without a complete set of information,” Gregg said.
One of the things that Gregg would like to do if elected is update the city zoning policies. She said the policies are outdated at over 20 years old. She recognizes the challenge this would present, but believes it would be well worth the effort.
“Although that would be a very time consuming process to do the whole city-wide code, I do think it would be worth it,” Gregg said.
There is momentum within the city government to drastically modify the city's downtown code. The planning commission has a committee focused on bringing recommendations to the council, tentatively planned for sometime this month.
Gregg said she would like to continue the city’s effort to go green. She is in favor of switching to electric powered city vehicles, solar powered street lights and solar panels on city buildings.
“There’s always room for more improvement and I think in terms of environmental stewardship, overcorrecting is better than under correcting,” Gregg said.
Gregg believes the city of East Lansing and Michigan State need to work better together. She said it presents a unique challenge for a city of 20,000 people to have 50,000 temporary residents, but that the two entities need to come together.
“Casting it as some sort of adversarial relationship is not going to do anybody any good,” Gregg said. “It’s got to be more cooperative and more mutually beneficial.”
Gregg says student needs are a key part of legislating in East Lansing. Among the changes she would like to see are more apartments close to campus and a change in infrastructure that would allow for more travel by foot and bike.
Gregg is an avid supporter of arts and holds a degree in fine art from Hamline University. If elected, she said she would work to make sure art is made a priority in the city.
“It’s usually the last item on the checklist. You’ve got police and fire safety ... art is kind of somewhere down here,” Gregg said. “I don’t necessarily think that’s the right idea.”