Voters in the city of Fenton will go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 5 to choose who they want to represent them on the City Council for the next four years.
Three incumbents — Nancy Draves, Pat Lockwood and Cherie Smith are being challenged by newcomers — Brad Jocob, Sean Sage and Damien Siwik.
Each were asked two questions. The following are their answers:
Nancy Draves (incumbent)
Length of residency: 50 years
Occupation: Retired school teacher, former business owner
Education: Bachelor’s degree from MSU
Family: Married to Jim. We have three daughters and seven grandchildren
What is your most important reason for seeking re-election to the Fenton City Council? I want to continue being involved and help where needed. I have spent my adult life giving back to the community, serving on boards and doing my part to make Fenton a better place to live and work. I love Fenton and it’s been a wonderful place to raise a family. There are a couple of big things I would like to accomplish in another term on the City Council. I find great joy in giving and contributing.
What qualifies you for the job? In addition to four years as a member of the City Council, I have served on the Fenton Planning Commission, Arts Council Board, Adopt-A-Pet Board and helped set up the F.A.R.R. (Fenton Area Resource and Referral) store. I owned a retail store for many years. I spearheaded the team that created the dog park on Thompson Road in Fenton Township. I currently serve on the Library Board, Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Fenton Cultural Commission and the Fenton ArtWalk Committee. I believe that council members need to represent everyone and make decisions based on facts, not personal opinions.
Pat Lockwood (incumbent)
Length of residency: 47 years
Occupation: Public policy advisor
Education: Fleming Fellow Leadership graduate, 2001, Washington, D.C.; Michigan State University; Leadership in Public Policy, 2000
Family: Married to Ron for 52 years; three children, Heather and Dan Gundry, Brad and Laurie Lockwood, and Brooke and Steve Page; 10 grandchildren
What is your most important reason for seeking a re-election to the Fenton City Council? I wish to continue to be the voice of the residents and businesses as we address numerous issues the city is facing, such as declining revenues, increased demands on public safety, aging infrastructure in which priorities should be placed on our deteriorating neighborhood roads and sidewalks. My vast experience and successful connection to the needs of our community encourages me to continue my commitment to the city.
What qualifies you for the job? My 28 years of public service has allowed me to bring that experience and knowledge of public policy to assist in the decision making that positively impacts our residents and businesses. My volunteer commitment and experience as chair of our Fourth of July and Jinglefest events, serving on the Fenton Education Foundation Board, the Beautification Commission and chair of the building of Fenton Veterans Freedom Park and the City of Fenton Arts & Culture Commission, along with numerous state and county committees, has given me the opportunities and tools necessary to continue to make Fenton a community that respects the past, loves the present and prepares for the future.
Cherie Smith (incumbent)
Length of residency: 27 years
Occupation: Former business owner, insurance agent, dietician EMU-BFA (bachelor fine arts) U of FL
Education: Eastern Michigan University, bachelor of fine arts; University of Florida
Family: Widow (married to former Fenton City Councilman Ben Smith for 42 years until his death in 2014)
What is your most important reason for seeking a re-election to the Fenton City Council? It’s essential to work together to make our city stronger and better by continuing to be a family oriented community and keep the momentum moving ahead, yet maintain our small-town feel. Cooperation and inclusion between council members is key to moving the city forward in a positive and productive direction. Cuts in state-shared revenue has had a profound effect on our budget. Local road funding has been hit hard. The solutions aren’t easy, however, we need to present more available options in order to maintain and repair them. I’d like to facilitate more technology by live streaming meetings so residents have easy access to information that affects them. I feel citizen and student advisory positions could be implemented to have a fresh perspective and keep us connected to the grassroots of Fenton.
What qualifies you for the job? I have served four years on the City Council, four years on the Cemetery Board, 14 years on the Beautification Commission (12 years as chair), three and a half years on Parks Board. Past president and member of the Fenton Optimist Club. I was a member of original JingleFest Committee and volunteer for many community events, including Fenton Village Players, Gus Macker Basketball Tournament, Shiawassee River Clean up and more.
Length of residency: 15 years
Occupation: Machine builder
Education: Eight years post high school, Mechanical Drafting at Baker College, Criminal Justice at Mott Community College, and Social Work at U of M
Family: Married to Beth Granger; two daughters, 20 and 11
What is your most important reason for seeking a seat on the Fenton City Council? I want to see our streets fixed. Clearly, this is the number one concern for our residents and businesses. I favor a comprehensive yet realistic approach that is fair to everyone. Piecemeal repairs are inefficient and expensive, and I am willing to have the tough conversations about how we get there. I will continue to help raise awareness about the seriousness of our predicament.
What qualifies you for the job? I’m honored to have served on City Council for two terms, from 2009 to 2017, out of recession to positive growth. I’ve served on a variety of boards and commissions for the city, including Parks and Recreation, Museum, Library, Fire, Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption Board, and presently the Zoning Board of Appeals. I’ve also served as Fenton representative and founding board member for the I-69 Trade Corridor, Michigan Economic Development Corporation. I also am chairperson of the Keepers of the Shiawassee, a non-profit river advocacy group. My work experience includes 30 years as a union carpenter and machinist. My broad educational experience has served me well when learning about and discussing the wide variety of subjects that the council must consider.
Length of residency: 16 years
Occupation: Manager at Kirby Steel, Inc.
Education: University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Family: Wife: Karey Sage; children: John, 14, Aidan, 13, Teaghan, 11, and Rowan, 9
What is your most important reason for seeking a seat on the Fenton City Council? I believe that I have a skill set that is under-represented on the board and would be valuable to the city. And, because my family is from Fenton, because I live here, and because my children are growing up here and call it home, I feel a responsibility to play any part I can in its continued success.
What qualifies you for the job? I am experienced in the city (Zoning Board and Parks Board), and I have experience in construction bidding, contract law, scheduling, and a small business understanding that will be valuable on the council. I have also worked with children in a domestic violence shelter in Ann Arbor, been volunteer of the year at the Genesee-Lapeer chapter of the American Red Cross; coached youth sports, sit on the board of Kidz Theatre Kompany; and have volunteered with many other groups in town. These eclectic experiences have taught me that there are many individuals in this city with many individual concerns, and that it is important to bring a voice to issues, but equally important to be willing to listen to opposing opinions and vote in the best interest of the city instead of my own ego.
Length of residency: Six years
Occupation: Administrator with the University of Michigan
Education: Masters of Public Administration, from the University of Michigan-Flint, 2017
Family: Married to Pornsiri Siwik with three daughters: Elizabeth, Catherine and Marita
What is your most important reason for seeking a seat on the Fenton City Council? My most important, personal reason for seeking a seat on council is to transition from a career of national service in the U.S. military and to carry on that legacy here in Fenton though community service. Since retiring and moving to Fenton, my family integrated and enjoyed the benefits of our community. I want to give back.
What qualifies you for the job?
Three qualifications I have for service on City Council are experience, education, and perspective. During a career as a U.S. Army Medic, I faced and overcame many obstacles through critical thinking, leadership, and determination. I learned the goals, functions, and policies of city administration while completing a Masters of Public Administration degree. Having lived in communities all across our nation, I have a broad overview of how successful and failed city governments operate. Based upon my experience, education, and observation, I can add a fresh perspective to Fenton City Council.