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All six candidates running for Mount Pleasant City Commission have CMU ties


Six candidates for two open seats on the Mount Pleasant City Commission will learn their fate on Election Day.

The City Commission will welcome its two newest members after the Nov. 7 election.

The six candidates running for City Commission are Damian Fisher, William Joseph, Kristin LaLonde, Rick Rautanen, Amy Perschbacher and Marni Taylor.

City Commissioners Jim Holton and Mike Verleger are not seeking reelection. Their replacements will each begin their three-year terms starting Jan. 1.

Here is some background on the candidates ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Damian Fisher

Damian Fisher

Fisher is a Central Michigan University student of Industrial Technology, a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and an attorney at GraySky Associates PLLC.

Fisher, who is also running for Tribal Commission, wants to build bridges among the various communities in Mount Pleasant including the city, the tribe and CMU.

William Joseph

William Joseph

Joseph is a CMU student, a former Student Government Association member and a current member of the Planning Commission.

Joseph enjoys the job of local government. He’s served on various committees at CMU and said he wants to expand Mount Pleasant’s recycling program, ensure the stability of local infrastructure and bring residents and students together.

Kristin LaLonde

Kristin LaLonde

LaLonde is a CMU graduate student, a health sciences librarian at Mid-Michigan Health and a member of the Isabella County Human Rights Committee.

LaLonde describes herself as a problem solver who wants to improve the walkability of Mount Pleasant and work to clean the Chippewa River. She said a city commissioner has the opportunity to unite people who are often working toward a common goal.

Rick Rautanen

Rick Rautenen

Rick Rautanen is a former CMU student, a former city commissioner and the current general manager of the future Holiday Inn on East Pickard Road.

As a former city commissioner, Rautanen often gets asked why he wants to serve again. He said there was a time when a common attitude was the city versus students, the townships and the tribe. He worked to change that attitude.

Amy Perschbacher

Amy Perschbacher

Perschbacher is a former CMU student, a downtown property project manager and a mental health therapist at Ronan Psychological Associates.

A mother of four adult children, Perschbacher said now is the time to get involved. She came to Mount Pleasant and fell in love with the town, and said her experience as a student and business owner is what the commission needs.

Marni Taylor

Taylor could not be reached for comment for this story.

At a City Commission Candidate forum on Oct. 7, Taylor said she is a CMU graduate who has experience in the human services field.

Taylor said improving connections and building relationships are crucial to some of the issues involving Mount Pleasant, such as revitalizing downtown and improving city-student relations north of campus.