Applicant interviews to fill a vacancy on the East Lansing City Council, following the resignation of former Councilmember Lisa Babcock, were conducted at a special council meeting, the morning of Jan. 14.
Mayor Ron Bacon, Mayor Pro Tem Jessy Gregg and Councilmembers Dana Watson and George Brookover took part in interviewing all five candidates: Nichole Biber, Abigail Tykocki, Noel Garcia, Mikey Manuel and Daniel Bollman.
Biber, a Michigan State University alum and librarian at Pinecrest Elementary School, said she has a passion for environmental sustainability.
If elected to the council, she said she would like to see East Lansing reap the benefits of comprehensive climate action. Biber also cited affordable housing, crime and safety and water infrastructure as other pressing issues facing the city that should be addressed.
“I’d like to see us rise to the occasion to prove that transformation can happen,” she said.
Tykocki is an MSU alum holding degrees in theater and arts, entertainment and media management, and is currently employed at the university where she works in the Arts, Cultural Management and Museum Studies program.
Tykocki said she is most concerned about city finances, inflation and bigotry within the community.
If elected to City Council, Tykocki said she hopes to be of service to the citizens of East Lansing and improve their quality of life by using the data and expertise of the city's workers.
Garcia, holding a bachelor's and master's degree in criminal justice from MSU, said if elected to City Council, he would hope to continue his work with the Independent Police Oversight Commission. Garcia said his main concerns are diversity and inclusion within the community, police and community relations and economic development.
“There’s a lot of work to be done and I want to see some of that through,” Garcia said.
Manuel is serving his second term with the East Lansing Parks and Recreation Committee and also volunteers with the East Lansing Environmental Stewardship program.
Manuel said the most pressing issues the city is facing are housing and environmental challenges, specifically the flooding seen in the community.
“Understanding and learning about community issues are the major key to any government success,” he said.
Bollman, an architect and University of Michigan alum, has participated in several planning and zoning related advisory boards and was a member the Nonconforming Use Committee.
Bollman said affordable and inclusive housing is one of the biggest issues facing East Lansing.
“If I’m not appointed, this issue will ring pretty strong," he said.
Bollman also said one of his concerns is public safety and cited the gunfire reported on Albert Ave. as a reason as to why public safety should be a top priority for the council.
The East Lansing City Council will reconvene Jan. 17 at the Hannah Community Center to decide which of the five candidates will serve on the council.