Primary voters to pare candidates for mayor, City Council

Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 28, 2021

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STERLING HEIGHTS — In the Sentry’s coverage area, voters in the Aug. 3 primary election will narrow down fields of candidates who are running for Sterling Heights mayor and City Council.

Candidates were asked, in 75 words or fewer, to state their top goal(s) if elected. If a candidate went over the word limit, (…) replaces the rest of the answer. (I) indicates the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim.
 

Sterling Heights Mayor
Three candidates are running for two spots on the November ballot, ultimately for one four-year term. Voters may each vote a maximum of one candidate.

Charles Jefferson
Did not return a questionnaire by press time.

Ken Nelson
Age: 71
Occupation: Associate Real Estate Broker, Semi-retired
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: 33+ years
Online campaign information: Website: kennelsonmayor2021.com
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, University of Nevada – Las Vegas
Previously held elected offices: Sterling Heights City Councilman, 1995 - 1999
Top goals: My top goal is to get a handle on the uncontrolled spending and use of credit that this City has endured for at least the last six years by using Municipal Bonds and Michigan Transportation Funding to completely fund their Capital Projects and Roads projects without being able to use any Reserves (cash). The 2021/22 budget document that was approved in May 2021 states that the Total Indebtedness of the City is $202,000,000 as of (...)

Michael C. Taylor (I)
Age: 38
Occupation: Mayor of Sterling Heights & Attorney
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: 13 years
Online campaign information: Facebook.com/MayorMikeTaylor
Education: Wayne State University Law School, Juris Doctor; Kalamazoo College, B.A. Economics
Previously held elected offices: Sterling Heights Mayor, 2014 - present; Sterling Heights City Council, 2009 – 2014
Top goals: To continue improving on the high-quality services that Sterling Heights is known for. Sterling Heights is a premier city with incredible parks, great events throughout the year, the best police and fire services in the state, low taxes, and great neighborhoods. Vote for me to continue our track record of success and I promise to work tirelessly to ensure Sterling Heights remains the best possible place to live, work, and raise a family.


Sterling Heights City Council
Fifteen candidates are running for 12 spots on the November ballot, ultimately for six four-year terms. Voters may each vote a maximum of six candidates.

Steven Bahoura
Did not return a questionnaire by press time.

Eric J. Briskey II
Age: 52
Occupation: Project Coordinator, Utility Company
Municipality of residence: Resident of Sterling Heights
For how long: Since 2001
Online campaign information: briskey4council.com
Education: Macomb Community College, Construction Techniques, Land Surveying and Business Administration. Wayne State University, Engineering
Previously held elected offices: No public office held before
Top goals: I will look into the high water rates in our city. What can and cannot be done to lower the cost, including alternative storage facilities and a separate meter for outdoor use. Look for ways to reduce spending in our current budget without cutting essential services like police, fire, DPW or parks. Look for ideas to make city government more transparent and user friendly. Improve the online experience, possibly some additional staff at city hall.

Nicholas A. Cavalli
Age: 24
Occupation: Manager – Emagine Macomb
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: 23 years
Online campaign information: www.cavalliforcouncil.org
Education: BA in History from University of Detroit Mercy
Previously held elected offices: No answer given
Top goals: If I am elected to Sterling Heights City Council, my first priorities are going to be creating affordable housing for the working class people of our city, turning our city towards green and renewable energy sources, and rectifying budgetary mistakes made by our current council. I will help shape the vision of the future Sterling Heights, somewhere we are all proud to call home.

Russ Cleary
Age: 20
Occupation: Student and Grounds Crew Member
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: Lifelong
Online campaign information: www.VoteRussCleary.com
Education: High School, expected college graduation fall of 2021
Previously held elected offices: Precinct Delegate
Top goals: My top goal is to eliminate all wasteful spending in our city. This spending has led to a debt amassing over two hundred million dollars. Additionally, I will like to attract more citizens to the meetings, whether they are just watching, or if they are speaking on issues, I would love to make an effort to see more involvement from the community.

Elizabeth Hanna
Age: 71
Occupation: Retired Automotive Quality Professional
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: Over 40 years
Online campaign information: Elizabethteam2020@gmail.com
Education: BS in Chemistry, Oakland University Rochester, Michigan; Certified Quality Engineer; Certified Six Sigma Black Belt
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: Bring business principles back to the city. Stop wasteful and unnecessary spending and bring transparency to the city hall, focus on unfunded pension benefits plan. Implement warranty requirements for roads repairs. Streamline processes and unnecessary regulations to improve economic climate to attract new businesses. Support charter amendment to implement term limits. Work to establish concise method of reporting to residents. Promise to hold focus group meetings with residents to explain policy and voting decisions.

Deanna Koski (I)
Age: 80
Occupation: Retired
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights, Michigan
For how long: 52 Years
Online campaign information: www.thesterlingfive.com
Education: Associate Degree - Legal Assistant, Real Estate Broker License, Title Insurance Agent License & MML – Elected Officials Academy I, II, III
Previously held elected offices: Sterling Heights City Council
Top goals: Provide the residents of Sterling Heights with excellent Police, Fire, EMS, DPW, SAFE Roads & quality City Services, at a reasonable cost. Focusing on creating SAFE neighborhoods to live work and play. Listening to the concerns, requests & issues of our residents; taking actions & resolving issues quickly. Create a program partnership consisting of City, schools, manufacturing companies and unions to develop internships, job training for skilled trades and careers within Sterling Heights.

Paul Y. Manni
Age: 26
Occupation: Small Business Owner
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: 18 years
Online campaign information: www.PaulManni.com
Education: Studied Philosophy and Theology at Sacred Heart Seminary, currently completing Business Administration Degree at Walsh College.
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: Stop Wasteful Spending and focus on residents priorities, including fully funding our police and fire departments that keep us safe.  As we emerge from COVID we must improve quality of life for all by expanding senior programs giving them opportunities to engage with others and fully fund our parks to benefit all.  I will fight the gouging of Great Lakes Water Authority so we can lower water bills for Sterling Heights families and businesses.
Michael Radtke (I)
Age: 35 Occupation: Communications Consultant. Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights. For how long: I have lived in Sterling Heights for 24 years. Online campaign information: www.VoteRadtke.com
Education: Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science, University of Michigan;
Master of Arts in International and World History, Columbia University; Master of Science in International History and Intelligence Studies, the London School of Economics; Proud Graduate of Warren Cousino High School.
Previously held elected offices: Sterling Heights City Council, 2017-Present
Top goals: KEEP STERLING HEIGHTS SAFE
Our city has 15 fewer police officers than it did 19 years ago, but more constituents. That’s why I’ve fought to restore our department to full strength by hiring 10 more officers, so we remain one of America’s safest cities.
I know that in an emergency, every second counts. That’s why I voted to hire 6 more firefighters to man our expanded city ambulance fleet. Public Safety is my first priority.

Maria G. Schmidt (I)
Age: 58
Occupation: Health Science Voc-Ed Paraprofessional
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: almost 27 years
Online campaign information: The Sterling Height Five for City Council on Facebook
Education: Bishop Foley High School, Southeast Oakland Vocational School, and Oakland Community College
Previously held elected offices: Sterling Heights City Council
Top goals: My top goals will be: To continue to be transparent, and fiscally responsible. Keeping taxes, water, and sewer rates lower than most Macomb County communities while always making public safety a priority. Continuing to invest in our roads and infrastructure. Encourage business investment and attract and retain residents of all ages with the best city services around. Work closely with administration to wisely spend the Federal Recovery Act money allotted to Sterling Heights.

Liz Sierawski (I)
Age: No answer given Occupation: Director Of Nursing/Registered Nurse
Municipality of residence: Lives in Sterling Heights
For how long: 29 years
Online campaign information: Lizsierawskiforcitycouncil@face book.com
Education: Bachelors of science in Nursing-Michigan State. Certified in wound care, Parish Nursing, Homecare.
Previously held elected offices: Macomb County Charter Commissioner 2008-2009; Sterling Heights City Council 2016-present; Mayor Pro Tem 2017-present
Top goals: My top goal for Sterling Heights is to remain one of the safest cities in the country. I will always hold Fire and Police as top priority because at the end of the day, if we are not safe and secure, we have nothing. I will always work to fully staff and highly pay our safety personnel. Security allows us to then enjoy our freedoms and favorite past times.
Kelley Skillin
Age: 50
Occupation: Owner, Katydids Kritters, and Special Lecturer, Oakland University
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: 10 years
Online campaign information: www.skillinforcitycouncil.com
Education: PhD, Communication and Nonprofit Management, University of Minnesota; MA, Communication, Baylor University; BA, Communication, Wayne State University; AA, Liberal Arts, Henry Ford Community College
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: Increased transparency.  From revamping the website to increasing its presence on social media, the city needs to better at communicating with its residents. City council members should represent the diverse interests of their constituents. Part of that is communicating with citizens - hosting open office hours, participating in online forums where residents are voicing their concerns, and recruiting people for volunteer positions. I will make sure all voices are represented in city decision making.

Moira Smith
Age: 69
Occupation: Retired Michigan Social Security Disability Examiner
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights, Michigan
For how long: Since 1978, 43 years.
Online campaign information: E Mail: moirasmithshmi@aol.com
Education: Bachelor of Science, Western Michigan University
Previously held elected offices: Republican Precinct Delegate
Top goals: I will represent the property owners, citizens, and taxpayers of Sterling Heights. The only role of government is only to maintain an orderly community. The City Council has gone far beyond the legitimate role of local government by creating extraneous spending programs far beyond its authority. It has used taxpayer money to intrude into entertainment, food services and even the alcohol business. We need term limits, elections to fill Council vacancies, and six Council districts.

Roy Wilson
Age: 77
Occupation: Retired from corporate security. Previously a small business owner.
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: 50 years
Online campaign information: RoyWilsonForCouncil@gmail.com
Education: College 1 year. Completed EMT classes at Macomb County Community College
Previously held elected offices:  None
Top goals: There are too many permanent politicians in city hall. I want to be a fresh voice for ‘We The People.”
1)    Let citizens speak for more than 2 minutes.  Create a regular “Citizen’s Voice” forum.
2)    Reverse the city’s ever-increasing debt without raising taxes.
3)    Support police, fire and EMT. Crime is falling too slowly; it is still way too high.
4)    Prevent national, state and county problems with illegal immigration from spoiling our city.

Henry Yanez (I)
Age: 63
Occupation: Retired
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: 13 years
Online campaign information: Facebook – Friends of Henry Yanez (https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfHenryYanez)
Education: Graduate of Oakland Community College with degrees in Fire Science and General Studies
Previously held elected offices: State House District 25 2013 – 2018
Top goals:
- Maintain and Improve Public Safety     
- Maintain and Improve Constituent Services    
- Spend Tax Dollars Efficiently
- Plan and Prepare for the Future

Barbara A. Ziarko (I)
Age: 71
Occupation: Retired
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: 43
Online campaign information: Facebook.com/SterlingHeights Five
Education: Associate Degree Macomb Community College
Previously held elected offices: Sterling Heights City Council
Top goals: It will be important to monitor and facilitate the use of our $19 million American Rescue Plan funds in the next four years. I hope to be able to bring about collaboration with the county, state and other communities to leverage and amplify these funds to benefit and maintain our quality of life amenities. As a member of the Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees, I am in a position to achieve this goal.

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