Meet the candidates for Mount Pleasant City Commission: Boomer Wingard
Editor's note: In the interest of fairness, Central Michigan Life contacted Wingard's opponents, Mary Alsager, Daniel Hess and Michael Kostrzewa to interview them. Hess and Kostrzewa could not be contacted as of deadline. This article is not an endorsement.
Central Michigan University alumnus, Boomer Wingard, is one of four candidates running for two open Mount Pleasant City Commission seats in the Nov. 8 election.
Wingard said he believes he could help the Mount Pleasant community with his dedication to empathy for residents and their challenges and his desires to think globally while acting locally to solve big issues we are facing today.
Central Michigan Life spoke with Wingard to discuss his experience and reasons for running.
How would your prior work experience support you in this commission seat?
I'm a financial service representative at a local community credit union. I focus on following up with my members and listening to their concerns and finding the best solutions. One of the things I hope to do, as far as bringing that to the table, is being able to hear out constituents, finding out what common issues are hitting the community and being able to work with just stakeholders to be able to find the best solution.
But beyond that, in 2020, I had the opportunity to work as an election poll worker up in Roscommon County. It was a really great experience to be able to see and work our elections and that kind of public service where you're just working with a team of people who are committed to just helping the community move forward.
Going back further than that, I was a student at Central Michigan University. I studied political science, and what got me interested in that was just a real interest in how we solve problems as a community. That's why I studied political science and history by examining large communities. So either local towns like Mount Pleasant or like a nation, how do we tackle large problems that otherwise we wouldn't be able to solve?
If elected, what your top issues or priorities be?
Improving our water quality, having a focus on walkability and accessibility in the community and then just making smart investments in our future.
Improving our water quality is a big issue for me. Our water resources, the watershed that we're in here, is the most lasting resource that we have and to pass forward to future generations. Once you damage your water supply, really, it takes a lot of work to get that back. I think there's a lot of work that can be done to just make sure we're protecting our water and just mitigating any issues that are out there currently.
As far as walkability, accessibility, being able to get around safely in your community is not only an issue for just people being able to get out and engage, but also I think there's a real boom to businesses; it brings in a lot of people. Even working at just a credit union, I work with a lot of individuals who are elderly, who have low income, and car might not be something that they can drive anymore. I think if we can find ways to make it safer for people to get around and if we can potentially invest in partnerships with the county transportation to improve.
I'm all about making smart investments and specifically long term investments as we look to our changing climate. For example, climate change is one of the big reasons that I got into politics to begin with and why I have an interest there is because it's the ultimate problem, a communal problem. How do we address that? How do we deal with that? So whatever new developments we are building in the city, are we having good levels of insulation, reducing heating and cooling costs? Are we looking to alternate forms of energy or how can we save energy as we're building?
What makes you stand out from the other candidates running for city commission?
Amongst all the other candidates for city commission, I am definitely the youngest. I think I bring a lot of unique perspectives to the board or to the commission.
I'm not a homeowner. My partner and I, like a lot of people in Mount Pleasant, we rent. We are dependent on the good graces of whatever landlords that we're working with. We have a really nice landlord right now.
We often hear discussions in the city about how can we attract new residents, and how can we retain younger people as they are starting their professional careers? As someone who went to school and went to school at (CMU) and decided to stay here – make a home here and start my professional career here in Mount Pleasant – I think I would bring a very worthwhile perspective to the board on that regard.
As one of the oldest members of Gen Z or the very youngest member of the millennial generation, the climate change has been something that I've been learning about since the fifth grade. The discussion hasn't gone away like people said it would, so finding ways to act locally and think globally to tackle problems like this and prepare for the future.