Negaunee council to change
Of four candidates vying for two seats, Mike Van Straten, a former city council member, had the most votes with 613, while current Councillor David Kangas garnered 468 votes to win re-election to his seat.
Negaunee Planning Commissioner Jonathan Becker was a close third with 419 votes and current Councillor Nick Visser had 253 votes.
Van Straten was elected to the seat held by Toby Smith, whose term expires on Nov. 30.
Van Straten and Kangas will serve three-year terms beginning Dec. 1.
Paul Maino, also a former council member, will fill a third seat on the non-partisan panel beginning Dec. 1. Maino will serve a partial term that will expire Nov. 30, 2018.
Maino garnered 555 votes, Gary Sjolund got 210 and sitting Councillor Toby Smith received 174.
Visser was appointed to the position in December 2016 after Martin Saari stepped down in November after completing 11 months of his term. An individual appointed by the council can only hold the position until the next regular election, according to the city charter.
Maino said the fact that he and Van Straten received the most votes, indicates residents are ready for a change in city government.
“Naturally, I have to thank the voters for their overwhelming support. It tells you the mood of the city — that they want some change,” Maino said.
Kangas said he appreciates the support he has received as a council member over the years.
“Thanks to the voters of Negaunee,” Kangas said. “I am looking forward to the future. People elect you expecting that you will work in the best interest of city residents. I will do my best in helping with those efforts.”
Maino said a city council united in the interest of the residents can get the necessary work done.
“The major problem we have in the city is we need a city manager on board. We need a captain to right the ship,” Maino said. “We need to get the city council to work together better. There is some division there I would like to see healed. If we work together we can get the city in great shape like it was a few years ago.”
Van Straten could not be reached for comment before press time today.
The Marquette County Board of Canvassers was to certify the results at 1 p.m. today.
Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.