Tuesday, August 6
The City of Cedar Springs will hold a primary election next Tuesday, August 6, for City Council. The city must hold a primary when the number of candidates running is twice the number of open seats. This year five candidates are running to fill two four-year terms. One seat is being vacated by Mayor Pro-Tem Charlie Watson, who decided not to run again, and trustee Pamela Medford-Conley’s seat is also up for reelection. The election will be held at the Cedar Springs City Hall, and a runoff will be held in November.
About him: “I am 24 years old and have been for the last 14 years (I’m really 38.) I currently reside in Cedar Springs and am originally from the Palo/Fenwick area. I’ve been working in the area since 2006 and moved here in 2010. I own Kin of Hope Natural Health and Perry’s Place LLC for herbs, teas, and more. I also work part time at Meijer in Cedar Springs.”
Primary reason running for office: “I believe that if you don’t get involved, then you have no right to complain about how things are. If I can make the community I live and work in a better place, then I should do my best to do so.”
Other experience: Perry is currently a board member on the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, the DDA, the Planning Commission, and Community Action Network (CAN). He also is an active member of subcommittees for the CSACOC on all community events, including the Founders Day event, Halloween Spooktacular, Mingle with Kris Kringle, and is currently working with the library, museum, and Kent Theatre on possible upcoming fundraisers.
Main strength he brings to the position: “I am community involved and have interest in what’s good for the community. I am dedicated in what I do. I am open-minded, and look forward to improving our town.”
The major challenge he sees facing the district and what would he do about it: “The biggest challenges I see our community has is that many members of the community have a bad taste in their mouth over our town’s image. Many have given up and have the opinion nothing can get changed or done because no one will help. I will address these challenges by listening to the citizens, business owners, and other community members and make a voice for them. I will pass my vote for what I think will encourage them that yes, we can improve our community’s image, and yes we can grow, and yes, we can do it!
About her: Pamela Medford-Conley is 43 years old, and has lived in Cedar Springs for 14 years. She holds degrees and certifications from Montcalm Community College, CMU, and GVSU in child development, speech pathology, theater, dance, history, secondary education, communication, and argumentation. She teaches policy debate, communication, and academic tools for Forest Hills Central High School. She is married to Clint Conley who is a teacher for KCTC. She has two children–a daughter, Abbi Conley, will be a senior at Cedar Springs High School this fall and her son, Caelun Conley, will be entering first grade at Cedar Trails.
Primary reason running for office: If re-elected this would be her second term on City Council. “I am looking forward to continuing to represent my fellow citizens and be what I hope they feel is a true representative of their concerns,” she said. “One of the biggest issues the city will face in up-coming years will be our aging water system and continued funding cuts brought by Michigan’s state government.”
Other experience: Past experience includes serving 6 years on the Board Of Education for Cedar Springs Public Schools, where she held the positions of Treasurer and Legislative Representative and made multiple trips to Washington DC and Lansing to advocate for kids in Cedar Springs; 5 years on the Library Board including part of that time as Vice President; one year on the PTO Board of Directors; one year on the Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors; 10 years in the Garden Club with 6 years as President; and 13 years as co-discussion leader of the Cedar Springs Book Club.
Main strength she brings to the position: “I believe what I bring to the office is experience, the desire to always seek information before making any decision, and an open mind to listen to all positions and represent all citizens.”
The major challenge she sees facing the district and what would she do about it: “The major challenges I see on the horizon are dealing with our aging water system, and resolving the issue with the Red Flannel Festival regarding the use of logos and doing this with dwindling resources as Michigan’s State Government – both the legislative and executive branches continue to add mandates and restrict funding.”
Gerald Hall (No photo available)
About him: He was raised here and has lived in Cedar Springs for 64 years. He is retired from the City of Cedar Springs, where he was formerly the Superintendent of Public Works.
Primary reason running for office: Gerald believes his experience will help the future of the city.
Other experience: His experience includes serving on the City Planning Commission and six years on the Cedar Springs Board of Education.
Main strength he brings to the position: Gerald said the main strength he will bring to the position is his knowledge of the city.
The major challenge he sees facing the district and what would he do about it: He said the major challenge facing the city is a shrinking budget.
About him: “I moved to Cedar Springs from Muskegon last June 2012. I am an operations management professional who most recently worked for Huntington Bank and before that the Federal Reserve Bank. I am now an entrepreneur.”
Primary reason running for office: “I found myself complaining about some of the outcomes in the council meetings. My momma taught me to get involved and do something to improve the situation and get off the bench and into the game. Complaining about something never makes it any better and according to my momma it actually contributes to making it worse. We have so much potential here in Cedar Springs.”
Other experience and main strength he will bring to the board: “Twenty plus years of operating businesses and business units up to 7 billion dollars, making tough budget decisions, negotiating contracts, sales and marketing, continuous improvement implementations, innovative and outside the box vision, and a can do attitude are just the tip of the iceberg of previous experience that will be beneficial to the City Council position.”
The major challenge he sees facing the district and what would he do about it: “Residents and businesses need to know that City Hall is here to assist them to get ‘er done. Whatever that may be. I would have the attitude of if it is a good idea that will benefit the community I would find a way to accomplish that thing and do all in my power and ability to do just that. Can’t is not in my vocabulary.”
Other: “Contracts for services needed by the City should go to residents of Cedar Springs if at all possible. Keeping the money local is a good thing, even if the local quote is $37 more than the out of town quote. It would also be nice to have Cedar Springs be the Red Flannel Town that the Clipper Girls gave us and we have enjoyed for 70 plus years. And just how much has been spent on attorney fees for this situation? And we don’t have any money is the line that is put out there. But the cost of the attorney fees says something different. Just sayin!”
About him: “All in all I have lived in the City of Cedar Springs for 20 years. I met Donna at what later became known as Jordan College on Pine Street in 1972. I graduated from Jordan College that same year with a B.A. and then from Andrews University in Berrien Springs in 1975 with my Masters. I received my teaching certification from Aquinas College in 2007. We lived in Oklahoma, Donna’s home state, and then in Israel from 1988 to 2000. In 2000, I was hired by Creative Technologies Academy, where I am currently employed as the Director of Operations and Maintenance.”
Primary reason running for office: “I would like the opportunity to work for the good of my community; to make a practical, positive difference; to offer workable solutions as challenges and issues arise. I want to be involved.”
Other experience: “While living in Oklahoma I served as a volunteer fireman for eight years in a department with three full-time firefighters and twenty volunteers. I served three of those years as a captain of a five-man team. I completed training as a second level EMT. Mustang’s population at that time was 10,000. Through the last 12 years since we relocated to Cedar Springs I have volunteered on many occasions at Creative Technologies Academy beyond my regular work duties and have helped Donna with many details to do with library programs and fundraising, such as helping to load and unload tables and books for Friends book sales, etc.”
Main strength he will bring to the board: “I was raised on a farm and have a strong work ethic. I keep up on the news both locally and around the world and feel that my various experiences will help me identify with the citizens of the community and hopefully make choices balanced between necessary regulation/expenditures and those offering greater personal/business opportunities to Cedar Springs citizens.
The major challenge he sees facing the district and what would he do about it: He said the major challenge is rebuilding community good will, especially regarding the Red Flannel Celebration. Also he would work to provide activities and opportunities for our youth to discourage drug and alcohol dependency.