Ghiringhelli should be on Marquette City Commission

To the Journal Editor:

We strongly encourage the Marquette City Commission to make the democratically responsible choice and appoint Tony Ghiringhelli to the commission’s vacant seat.

Ghiringhelli earned the fourth-most votes out of a total of six candidates for three available seats in the Nov. 7 election. Of those six, two (Tom Baldini and Peter Frazier) were incumbents, and a third (Fred Stonehouse) was re-running after having previously termed out. In other words, of the three candidates who couldn’t rely on the familiarity of their names on a ballot, Ghiringhelli was voters’ top choice.

And he should have been. Many got to meet him during his campaign, when he knocked on doors, shook hands, and listened to what the people of Marquette hope and fear for themselves and their families and their city.

Sara Cambensy — whose election to the late state Rep. John Kivela’s 109th District seat resulted in the vacancy now in dispute — endorses Ghiringhelli, whose working class background would be a boon to the commission. The commission would benefit from hearing the perspective and ideas of a displaced steelworker, as vacant-for-most-of-the-year condominiums increasingly block residents’ views of Lake Superior and people struggle to find affordable housing in the city on a barista’s wage.

Commissioners would benefit to hear the skepticism of a proud union worker when big corporations like Duke LifePoint tantalize the city with promises of “profit” and “efficiency” in exchange for tax cuts, and deliver instead a health care environment at UP Health System-Marquette (as Marquette General is now known) where good-paying health care jobs have disappeared.

Where hard-working union nurses are pushed past the point of exhaustion caring for upwards of a dozen patients at a time. Where the quality of service has deteriorated so severely that many Marquette County residents take all but their least urgent concerns to hospitals down- or out-of-state.

We were gladdened to see the public support for Ghiringhelli at the commission’s Nov. 13 meeting and disappointed at the commission’s response. To see the commission appoint someone, maybe even an old friend or a familiar face, for merely filling out an application, as though a publicly elected position has no more consequence than a teenager’s part-time job, would be an injustice to the months Ghiringhelli spent campaigning and to the confidence voters chose to place in him.

Marquette voters already decided, in early November, that they believe Ghiringhelli would represent them well. We do too.

Zach Jay

For Marquette Area Democratic Socialists of America