The city of Grand Ledge has a spirited three-man race for mayor, with three longtime residents with a background in public service all facing off to lead their city of 7,786 people.
The Mayor’s Office opened as a competitive seat after former Mayor Kalmin Smith, who’d served since 2007, resigned and moved to Texas. The new mayor will serve three years, through 2022.
Thomas Sowle, who had served on the Council as mayor pro tem, was elevated to the mayor’s seat when Smith left office.
Sowle touts the new city amenities and development along M-43 that have occurred in recent years as the pitch for an elected term. The city has a new splash pad for children, a handicap-accessible kayak launch and a new bandshell for outdoor concerts.
He’s being challenged by a pair of Michaels: Mike Coll and Mike Doty.
Doty is giving up a Council seat to run for mayor. He accused City Manager Adam Smith of creating a hostile work environment and wants to run to support the city employees. After serving on the parks and recreation board, he also believes Smith treats the committees as superfluous and ignores real community input. “It’s the good old boy network and I’m trying to break it up here,” Doty said.
Doty owns Doty Audio & Video. His father had been a City Councilman and his grandfather was an Eaton County commissioner.
Coll, a 24-year Army veteran who spent much of his military career overseas between the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars, served on the Council in the ‘00s and on an elected committee to rewrite the city’s charter, moving elections to even years. This will be the last odd year election for Grand Ledge. “I have a lot of experience in how a city should be run,” Coll said.
He strikes a middle road between Sowle and Doty — pushing for economic development in the industrial park and downtown, while believing he can find waste in the city budget.
Grand Ledge also has a Council race in Ward 2, pitting Lynne MacDowell, owner of MacDowells Fireplace, against retired special education teacher Betty Miclay.
Other Eaton County races:
Charlotte has one competitive at-large Council race for a four-year term:
Potterville City Council, four-year term (pick 4):
Loren R. Smalley, Jr.