Candidates Have First Forum

Candidates Have First Forum

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, 10/4/2011)

The League of Women Voters hosted the first forum of the 2011 election season on Monday, October 3, 2011.  The forum was held at City Hall, and each candidate was given an opportunity to introduce themselves and answer questions from the public.

Sheryl Mitchell of the League of Women Voters moderated the forum.  The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that assists communities and the Democratic process by providing objective moderators for local election forums.

Dave Coulter made his opening statement first.  He thanked the voters for supporting him in 2002 when he first ran for office, when he won the seat for County Commission. It was a bit of a “switch-a-roo” that landed Coulter in the Mayor’s Seat, with former Mayor Craig Covey now serving as County Commissioner (which you can read about here).  “I want to thank my colleagues in City Council, they appointed me in January,” Coulter said, explaining that he likes to serve the City.  “It’s not like some communities where you have a lot of bickering.”  He added that he is running for Mayor “because there is still more work to do” to bring Ferndale through these tough economic times. (View Coulter’s candidate profile here)

Raymond Willis, also running for Mayor, introduced himself to the community. “I’m obviously new to this arena; I’ve been an independent contractor in construction for the past 15 years…. I want to become learned in this area, I have a very experienced opponent, and I think more people from the general populous should  get involved and do this.” Willis said he was a troubleshooter for one of the largest construction contractors in the state and it was his job to go to other cities and make sure clients were happy.  He is now a stay-at-home dad with a special needs child, who also delivers pizza for extra income.  “I think the government should treat the residents more as customers and I want to bring that attitude to Ferndale,” he said. (View Willis’ candidate profile here.)

Mike Lennon is seeking re-election to City Council.  The 55 year old lifelong resident is a retired Ferndale Police Officer, and father of two. “I am seeking my third term on Council.  Voters have put their trust in me for two terms and I hope they do that again,” he said.  “We were able to balance the budget for the next two years while cutting 2 billion from the coffers,” Lennon added as one of his achievements on Council.  Since retiring from the Police Department, Lennon has remained working in the City as an employee of Garden Fresh Salsa. (View Lennon’s candidate profile here)

Dan Martin said he is running for City Council because he believes “in what this city has been, what it is today and what it will be in the future,” and keeping “Ferndale on the progressive path while recognizing these are troubling times.” He listed his prior community involvement, including being chair of the Ferndale Community Foundation and active in FernCare, Police and Fire Board, Ferndale Pride Committee, DDA and St. John’s Episcopal Church.  Issues important to him are “sound fiscal policies,” “protection of city through adequate police and fire services,” and “business retention and development.” (View Martin’s candidate profile here.)

Sherry Wells spoke of her campaign experience so far.  “I’ve been going door to door recently and finding that because of the cable tv— people know who I am.  I’ve been here for only 23 years,” she said.  “I was on the charter revision commission and chaired it for two years. I was accessible to people, they contacted me freely when I was on the charters, and I will be now.  I will be responsive to people’s problems.”  Wells added that she has been a lawyer for 33 years, and that being self-employed gives her lots of time for volunteering.  She too is running for City Council. (View Wells’ candidate profile here.)

After their introductions, candidates then shared their positions on topics important to the community, including:

~Downtown Noise

~Backyard Chickens

~Local Preference in purchasing

~Prior Council Decisions

~Relationship with Ferndale Schools

~Code Enforcement

~Advertising on Public Property

~Candidate’s Experience and Ability to do Job

The forum was streamed live on the City’s website and aired on local cable.  It will be replayed on Cable at 6am, noon, 6pm, and midnight from now until the election.  It will also be available online at  Watch for yourself to see what the candidates had to say.

There will be one Mayor elected between Willis and Coulter.  Among Wells, Martin and Lennon, two will be elected to Council.  The election will be held November 8, and there are several more opportunities to meet the candidates before the election.  See Candidate Forums to get you Informed for all the dates and locations.  Complete 2011 Election coverage can be found at











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