Three candidates will fill the three open spots on city commission
A new face and two familiar ones are running for election to fill three spots on the Mount Pleasant City Commission.
Incumbents Jon Joslin and Rick Rautanen are looking to continue their work with the commission, while newcomer Matt Sous hopes to bring something fresh to the table Nov. 6.
“I’m just running for city commission because I can work to represent some of the voices not represented currently — the voices of the younger people,” Sous said. “I’ve always been an advocate for getting the younger people to participate in politics, and I’ve literally registered hundreds of students to vote.”
Sous has lived in Mount Pleasant since 2005 when he arrived as a Central Michigan University student. He graduated in 2009 with degrees in history and political science.
After graduation, Sous began working in Mount Pleasant, and now works for the American Federation of Teachers, which has two unions at CMU — the graduate student union and the union of teaching faculty.
Sous said he would like to see more graduates staying in the area to find jobs in the city he loves.
“I’ve managed to stay because I found work, but I should not be the outlier,” he said. “It’d be great to get grads to stay, and hopefully we can find jobs for them to stay. We have a lot of opportunities to make this a place where grads can find work.”
Although both Sous and Joslin have degrees from CMU, Joslin has been in Mount Pleasant much longer.
Joslin was born and raised in Mount Pleasant, and studied accounting at CMU. He now works at Advance Battery Concepts in Clare and also runs a temporary Halloween store in the fall.
Joslin has been involved with city government for 15 years and has been on the city commission for 12 years.
Staying in Mount Pleasant was always what Joslin wanted for his kids.
“The small-town feel I grew up in was the environment I hoped to raise a family in,” Joslin said. “(Mount Pleasant) still has that small-town community aspect, but it continues to grow. Having the university adds to the excitement around here, but we will maintain a safe community and I stay involved to help keep it that way.”
The other incumbent, Rautanen, has been on the commission for less than a year, after taking over mid-term when Erik Robinette resigned in January.
He first ran for a seat on the city commission in 2009, but was not elected and instead worked for two years on the Mount Pleasant Planning Commission.
When a spot on the city commission opened in February, Rautanen was asked if he was interested in stepping up.
“… I actually think I was fortunate I didn’t win the first time,” Rautanen said. “My time on the planning commission really opened my eyes and helped me prepare for now.”
Rautanen manages the Four Points by Sheraton in Saginaw, having been working in hotel management for 20 years.
A genuine care for the community is what drove Rautanen to get involved in local government.
“I’m a resident of Mount Pleasant, I’ve been part of the business community for 20-plus years and I have a vested interest in what happens to the city,” Rautanen said.
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