Above, from left: Ruth Beier, Aaron Stephens, and Susan Woods
Scott Hirko has apparently dropped out of the race for East Lansing City Council, while the remaining three candidates—Ruth Beier, Aaron Stephens, and Susan Woods—have completed the required paperwork for candidacy according to the East Lansing City Clerk’s office. The deadline for candidate filing was today at 4 p.m., so ELi can officially announce there are only these three candidates for the two open seats.
The two open seats are caused by Beier’s and Woods’ terms ending this November. Both are seeking second terms, while Stephens is a political newcomer. The three will be running on a ballot that will also contain questions to East Lansing voters about a possible City income tax which, if passed, would be paired with a property tax reduction if voters also approve that.
ELi will be following the race closely, providing information on campaign positions and campaign finance and asking candidates to respond to questions that we will be soliciting from our readers. We’ll also continue to provide information about the two incumbents’ voting records, ethics records and campaign finance histories.
As we previously reported, Woods is Executive Director of the East Lansing Film Festival. She has told ELi that her goals include promoting fiscally-responsible dense redevelopment in the downtown, providing senior housing, promoting the arts, supporting the institution of a City income tax, following the recommendations of the Financial Health Team, obtaining a raise for City employees, and building town-gown relationships. Woods does not have a campaign website.
Beier is an Economist with the Michigan Education Association and currently serves as Mayor Pro Tem. (The five City Council members decide who among them will be Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem.) She has told ELi that, if reelected, “my goals will be to continue to: improve the city’s financial position, respond to the needs and concerns of students and residents, insist that all new developments improve our city and pay their fair share of taxes.” Since being elected, she has maintained her Facebook campaign page as a place for posting about City politics.
Stephens is an undergraduate Political Science major at MSU. According to the press release on his campaign Facebook page, “Before being hired onto Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Campaign, Stephens was a volunteer organizer for the Bernie Sanders Campaign while remaining active in the classroom.” Stephens names as “key issues” “the city’s environmental future, working with interested parties to create a locally-coordinated approach to sexual assault prevention, as well as stimulating more community engagement.”