MARQUETTE - Mike Conley, a retired physician, 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.
Conley, 64, was asked three questions by The Mining Journal that have been asked of all the candidates.
Why are you running for the city commission?
"I have lived in and loved the city of Marquette for 34 years. I have served the city on the board of the Peter White Public Library and as a member and current chairman of the Harbor Advisory Committee. I also have board experience on the boards of the local March of Dimes, and the Upper Peninsula Medical Center, serving as its president.
"I want to continue to contribute to the city as a member of the city commission. I feel that I can help maintain fiscal responsibility, a common-sense approach and responsiveness to the citizens."
What are the city's strengths?
"We have the privilege of living year-round in a beautiful city where many others can only come for short-term vacations. We have world-class recreation within the city limits, great educational opportunities, excellent medical care and most of all, citizens who love and care about their city.
"We have enjoyed excellent leadership with an actively involved city commission that has continued moving the city forward."
What are the city's weaknesses?
"The biggest weakness is the uncertainty of the tax base in light of possible changes by major taxpayers and the possible reduction in tax revenue by the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
"The challenge will be to maintain essential services and many of the other services that provide a high quality of life and that we have come to expect, to continue to replace infrastructure and to do this within our current tax rates."
One of the ways this can be accomplished, Conley said, is to encourage economic growth and development using such tools as the SmartZone.
Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.