BY AJ Trager
Michigan voters came out to the polls Nov. 3 to vote on a number of proposals and elected official positions. Based on the results of the vote, big change is set to stir up Lansing and Kalamazoo, and Southfield will welcome its first openly gay mayor.
Kenson Siver won the bid for Southfield Mayor with 57 percent of the votes over former city commissioner Sylvia Johnson. Siver’s background includes 14 years as a city councilman and 45 years as a teacher and administrator at Southfield Public Schools. Campaign signs for Siver were littered with anti-gay graffiti late last month with phrases such as “fag,” “rapist” and “racist.” Southfield police say they nabbed the campaign sign vandal.
In very surprising news, Mayor of East Lansing Nathan Triplett lost his bid for a third term on the East Lansing City Council and thus his position as mayor. The council was seeking to fill three seats. Triplett, the only incumbent on the ballot, finished fourth and lost his council seat to former state Rep. Mark Meadows, Shanna Draheim and Erik Altmann. The mayor and mayor pro-tem positions are appointed by the elected council.
“Tonight’s result wasn’t what we had hoped for. I’d like to wish the Council members-elect the best of luck as they take office later this month,” Triplett said on his Facebook after the results came in.
“While I won’t be seated at the City Council table come Nov. 17, you can all rest assured that I’ll do all I can to keep East Lansing moving forward,” he continued.
Former executive director of Equality Michigan, Emily Dievendorf, lost her bid for a position on the Lansing City Council to incumbent Carol Wood followed by Patricia Spitzley.
“This was a community supported and driven campaign,” Dievendorf said on her campaign page. “Together, we proposed a positive and lasting future for Lansing — and while I will not be able to advance it from the City Council — I know that all of us are in this for the long haul.”
Michigan State Director for Enroll America, Erin Knott, won her bid for Kalamazoo City Commissioner and received 3,961 votes. Knott is a longtime progressive and LGBT activist.
Joining Knott on the Kalamazoo City Commission is Shannon Sykes who received 3,604 votes. Sykes, 33, served as the African-American constituency director for state Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, in his 2014 campaign and currently serves as board member of CARES, an HIV/AIDS service organization in Southwest Michigan.
Bay City voters elected their first openly gay man to the Bay City Commission. David Terrasi is to replace Commissioner Elizabeth Peters to the 2nd Ward Bay City Commission. Terrasi, 46, married his partner of 12 years this year following the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. He has 20 years experience as a school psychologist with the Saginaw Intermediate School District and works as an adjunct instructor at Saginaw Valley State University.