On Tuesday, Nov. 2, East Lansing elected three people to fill positions on the five-person city council.
Incumbent Dana Watson and new-elect George Brookover will be serving the city in four-year terms, while incumbent Ron Bacon will hold office for two years.
Watson, Brookover, and Bacon have replaced the vacancies left by Ruth Beier and Mark Meadows, who both resigned from the council a year ago, and former Mayor Aaron Stephens, who recently announced his leave to continue his education at Harvard Kennedy School of Public Policy. They will join Mayor Jessy Gregg and Lisa Babcock on the council.
Voters selected two of five candidates at the polls. Watson received 48% of the votes, with 2,275, and Brookover received nearly 44% of the vote, with 2,063 votes. Bacon beat out his one opponent for a two-year term with 78%, or 3,682, of the votes.
Equity, housing and environmental issues are some of the reasons why Watson, the current mayor pro-tem under Gregg, ran for office. Watson has been deeply involved in the East Lansing community after attending MSU for her undergraduate degree.
“I've been involved in East Lansing communities since moving back in 2008, and I've always been a community activist and just evolved with what's going on,” Watson said in an interview with The State News.
Watson has served on the city council for a year but has many more plans she wants to accomplish in the next four.
“I think it’s time to broaden the walks of life of who’s elected for city council, and I think that the voice that I have to offer is something that’s important for our community and belongs with the city council,” Watson said.
Brookover was born and raised in East Lansing. Brookover said that his primary reason for running for city council is his dissatisfaction with the effectiveness of the city government.
“My sense of things is that there’s not a great sense of direction with the city,” Brookover said in an interview with The State News. “I think that the city has not been very effective at being responsive to the needs of citizens and taxpayers the last few years.”
Brookover aims to improve upon the city’s budget, decreasing involvement in litigation and plans to get involved in city planning.
Bacon is a current member of the East Lansing City Council and has won a two-year term. In addition to serving on the council, Bacon is an assistant football coach to the varsity team at East Lansing High School and serves on the MLK Commission of Mid-Michigan and the East Lansing Educational Foundation.
Bacon’s main causes include the city’s infrastructure — including the Hannah Center and the library, improving housing and strengthening the city’s relationship with MSU.
“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 in an interview with The State News. “East Lansing is open for business."
Shortly after the election, the new council will be expected to vote for Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem.
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