From left to right: Erik Altmann, Shanna Draheim, Mark Meadows, Steve Ross, Jermaine Ruffin and Nathan Triplett
It was a full house for last night’s City Council Candidate Forum at the Hannah Community Center. The event was organized by the League of Women Voters (LWV) of the Lansing Area, and moderated by LWV member Camilla Davis, of Dewitt.
Campaign finance has become a perennial “ask” of ELi’s readers. Here we report on what we know so far about who is donating to the six people running right now for three spots on the East Lansing City Council. If this work matters to you, please take a moment to donate to support our work.
Which candidates are disclosing early, and which are not?
Note: This article was corrected on September 1, 7:45 am, because Steve Ross's press release and statements to me by phone during our interview misrepresented Shanna Draheim as having specifically committed to his particular plan. While Draheim has decided to do early disclosure, she has not specifically agreed to the plan proposed by Ross because of the grassroots nature of her campaign, as noted in her statement below.
East Lansing City Council candidate Jermaine Ruffin has been a resident of East Lansing for over a decade and is a graduate of MSU. Married with three children, Ruffin works as a Placemaking Project Specialist with the State of Michigan with a focus on assisting communities statewide with promoting and leveraging their unique attributes to retain and attract residents.
City Council candidate Mark Meadows is familiar to many East Lansing residents due to his years of public service.
Meadows began his career as an Assistant Attorney General in the Michigan Attorney General's office. During this time, he worked on cases where he represented the Departments of Social Services, Mental Health, Natural Resources and the State Police. He also served in the Environmental Protection Division.
We’ve heard loud and clear from our readers that you want ELi to continue to be a reliable, nonpartisan source of information about local elections and local political campaigns. If you’ve been with us for the last two election cycles, you know we’ve been doing regular reporting for you on issues like the parking lot sale ballot question, the marijuana charter amendment, and the land sale charter amendment, as well as on political campaigns (who is behind them, who finances them, candidate positions, etc.).
In our continuing series introducing the candidates for City Council, our next candidate is Shanna Draheim. Draheim first lived here as an MSU student, and is now a homeowner living with her husband and three children.
A reader asks: How will this year’s City Council election work on Tuesday, November 3?
The basics: The East Lansing City Council has five members in total. Each serves for a four-year term.
The terms of three Councilmembers are ending in November: Mayor Nathan Triplett, Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris, and Councilmember Kathy Boyle. (Boyle will not have served a full four years because she was chosen by Council to replace Don Power when he resigned shortly into his term.)
Image: East Lansing City Council’s first of two meetings this week
This Tuesday, there were two Council meetings, one “work session” and a “regular session.” This Council Capsule combines the two.
Present: Mayor Nathan Triplett, Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris, and Councilmembers Ruth Beier and Kathy Woods were present, with Beier arriving about ten minutes late to the work session. Councilmember Susan Woods was absent from both meetings.
The question this week: Who funded Diane Goddeeris’ last campaign for City Council?
The quick answer: Nobody. Goddeeris raised no money and spent no money on her last campaign (for November 2011). If you want to see a direct comparison of the campaign financing for all five of our current City Council members, click here.
Image: Nathan Triplett and Susan Woods during the Council debate last November on campaign donation disclosure
As ELi previously reported as part of our regular, in-depth City Council coverage for our readers, last November the current City Council debated “how, if at all, it should work to make sure East Lansing citizens know from whom Councilmembers have taken campaign contributions.”