MARQUETTE - Tom Baldini, a former Marquette teacher and administrator and currently an adjunct professor in the Political Science Department at Northern Michigan University, is one of seven candidates who will be listed on Tuesday's primary ballot running for a seat on the Marquette City Commission.
Three vacant seats are up for election. Mayor Robert Niemi, Mayor Pro Tem Fred Stonehouse and Commissioner Don Ryan can't run for re-election due to term limits.
Baldini, 70, chairman of the Marquette Area Public School Foundation and the Marquette Area Fireworks Committee and vice chairman of the Marquette County Community Foundation, was asked three questions by The Mining Journal that have been asked of all the candidates.
Why are you running for city commission?
"I believe in Marquette and its residents," he said. "Their willingness to be engaged is making this a good place to live and raise a family. My many years of involvement with the city as a Marquette school teacher, administrator, state and federal employee have provided me with knowledge and skills I know can be beneficial to helping our city plan for the future and the unknown challenges.
"I am willing and able to invest the time and effort to be involved and continue to move us forward."
What are the city's strengths?
"Marquette's greatest strength is its people and their willingness to be engaged," Baldini said.
He said other assets include Northern Michigan University, Marquette General Hospital and Peninsula Medical Center, state and federal offices, a thriving arts and cultural focus for the Upper Peninsula, being a recreation and retirement location and, most importantly, individuals willing to invest ideas, time and money in businesses and new construction.
"Marquette qualifies as a micropolitan area - a regional business, tourist destination," Baldini said. "We must continue to be aware of prevailing state and national political trends and revenue opportunities."
What are the city's challenges?
Baldini said Marquette is being challenged by some issues over which it has no control, including the closure of the Presque Isle Power Plant, its largest taxpayer, and the location of the new hospital.
"We need to harness the potential of our talented population, the academic community, the power of a medical center regardless of its location and continue focus on the future.
"Marquette is a community to live in, raise a family and grow a business. Our challenge is not to rest on those accolades but to build on those qualities that have made us distinct and move forward."
Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.