Ron Bacon, member of East Lansing City Council, resident of East Lansing for over 10 years and assistant varsity football coach for East Lansing High School, is running for reelection this November.
Bacon, who has previously served on and chaired East Lansing’s Human Rights Commission, is seeking a two-year term. Bacon also currently serves on the MLK Commission of Mid-Michigan and the East Lansing Educational Foundation.
Bacon is originally from Jackson, Michigan, and attended school at Saginaw Valley State University. Bacon lived in the Saginaw area for around 10 years. During this time, he obtained a degree in criminal justice and a master's degree in leadership. He then moved to East Lansing where has resided for the past decade.
Bacon has also worked in the pharmaceutical biotechnology industry for around 25 years, and currently works at the biotechnology corporation Genentech.
Bacon was selected for the council in August 2020 following the resignation of former mayor Ruth Beier and former council member Mark Meadows.
“I was really looking closely at the Police Oversight Commission as my next entrée into local government, and then the openings came for the appointment,” Bacon said. “I thought it was a good opportunity to get involved on a deeper level, so I went for it.”
Bacon said that there were 23 applicants for the position. Bacon and current Mayor Pro Tem Dana Watson were selected.
One of the things Bacon was especially happy about council accomplishing while he was serving were the revisions to East Lansing’s “disturbing the peace” ordinances.
“Many of our codes in East Lansing across the board are complicated, and some of them are a little dated,” he said.
Bacon said that he hopes these revisions and updates will simplify things for both the public and for law enforcement.
City council also voted to establish an independent police oversight board, hired a new police chief and parks and recreation director, and broke ground on two development projects from MSU Federal Credit Union.
“I think it’s been a really productive council,” Bacon said.
As for the future, Bacon is focused on infrastructure, housing and the city’s relationship with MSU.
“I think we got some big infrastructure on the horizon: the Aquatic Center, the Hannah Center, fire department, library," Bacon said. "We’re in that phase next, we have just some really big infrastructure layouts to do."
In a text message, Bacon said that for the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, this means completing a project on the third floor that will allow for more usable space. Additionally, the East Lansing Family Aquatic Center will be completely overhauled to allow for a successful reopening in 2022. This includes refurbishment or replacement of slides and attractions.
Bacon said that East Lansing’s lack of available single family housing makes housing a priority.
“I think we're all aware that single family housing in East Lansing is really challenging,” he said. “At this point, we have a really full city that doesn’t have a lot of entry points for new buyers.”
Bacon said that a solution to this problem will arise from collaboration between experts, the city and the public.
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“I think we work with housing, we work with our commissions and our boards and we partner together with realtors, and with business, and with builders, and we come to a common solution,” he said. “It's going to take everybody — even public input — on how to generate more attainable housing and more access to housing in general for families.”
He said that solving the housing issue will take “all hands on deck.”
In terms of strengthening relations between the city and MSU, Bacon said that there has been great communication between the two during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that this has opened up conversations about the two entities being good partners.
“There was just really broad, strong communication ... along with the support of Linda Vail and her team, and just everyone coordinating to try to get on the same page to take on COVID-19, because it just doesn't have any borders,” Bacon said.
He said he feels that East Lansing is on firm footing, and that he wants to bring his experience to his job in order to build on that footing. For Bacon, part of this means growth and partnership with surrounding communities.
“I really am committed to being a good regional partner to the entire area — be it Meridian, be it Lansing, be it whatever — that we’re growing and our region’s growing and we’re attractive to major employers and small businesses,” Bacon said. “East Lansing is open for business."
The full candidate listing can be found on the City of East Lansing website.
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