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Crowded field in city commission race

May 10, 2012
By KYLE WHITNEY - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE -The city of Marquette will hold an August primary election to whittle down a list of city commission candidates after six residents filed petitions to run for two open seats.

The filing deadline for city seats was Tuesday.

Sara Cambensy, Amy R. Conover, J. Michael Coyne, Craig T. Miller, Benjamin H. Stanley and Tony E. Tollefson are running to fill the two seats, which are being vacated by Mayor John Kivela and Commissioner David Saint-Onge.

Saint-Onge opted to not run for re-election, citing personal reasons, while Kivela, who is serving his second term on the commission, will be leaving office due to term limits and decided in August to enter the race for the 109th District seat in the state House.

Many of the candidates will be familiar to Marquette voters.

Cambensy is a former planning commissioner and is a member of the Marquette City Charter Commission. Coyne is a former mayor and city commissioner and is also a member of the charter commission. Tollefson is a former commissioner and mayor and ran unsuccessfully for a county board seat in 2008 and a city commission seat in 2009.

Conover is pursuing a master's degree at Northern Michigan University and describes herself as being "very interested in promoting and moving our community toward being resilient and family friendly." She has lived in Marquette for all but four years of her life.

Stanley is the president of the Associated Students of NMU, the university's student government.

Miller, a longtime resident of south Marquette, said he wants to focus on limiting "foolish spending" and pare down the city's debt.

If there are more than two candidates running per seat, the city must hold a primary election to trim the number. August's primary will cut the number of candidates to four for November's general election.

Three others are also running for two open seats on the Marquette Board of Light and Power. Karen Kimar Johnson, John H. Prince and Laura M. Nagel have filed nominating petitions for the two seats, which are currently held by Johnson and Prince.

The City Elections Board is scheduled to meet this afternoon to verify the petitions.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.



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