Hazel Park City Councilwoman Bethany Holland spends a moment with supporters outside Hazel Park High on Election Day.

Hazel Park City Councilwoman Bethany Holland spends a moment with supporters outside Hazel Park High on Election Day.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Hazel Park voters choose council candidates for staggered terms

Two incumbents, two challengers win election 

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 13, 2017

HAZEL PARK — The election for the Hazel Park City Council Nov. 7 was unique in that it moved the council to staggered terms. There were four seats available, with the two highest vote-getters receiving four-year terms and the third- and fourth-highest receiving two-year terms.

The top two vote-getters, receiving four-year terms, are Amy Aubry, in first, and Alissa Sullivan, in second. Exactly 12 votes separated the two, who ran together as friends. Both are challengers who first ran for council two years ago and lost. 

This time, they outpaced even the incumbents — Andy LeCureaux and Bethany Holland — who were both elected for two-year terms, taking third and fourth place, respectively. This was technically Holland’s first election, since she was originally appointed to fill a vacancy. 

City Councilman Mike Webb, running unopposed for mayor, also won. He will replace current Mayor Jeffrey Keeton, who is retiring from council. 

“I’m really excited,” Aubry said. “I feel like the work from two years ago, as well as the past two years getting more involved in the community and showing our commitment, really paid off. I’m excited to show people I’m there to work for them and to make positive changes in the community.”

Sullivan was also thrilled by the results.

“I’m full of gratitude for the people in our city who really understand that I’m here because I want our city do better, and to embrace progressive ideas in our city,” Sullivan said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but I’m excited to learn and to have this opportunity to bring my ideas to the table, and to hear what’s important to others, and to work together toward making those changes and keeping this momentum going in our city.”

The full council results are as follows:

• Amy Aubry — 20.69 percent (861 votes).

• Alissa Sullivan — 20.40 percent (849 votes).

• Andy LeCureaux — 19.08 percent (794 votes).

• Bethany Holland — 16.92 percent (704 votes).

• Charles Gladue — 12.57 percent (523 votes).

• Anja Barmettler – 9.37 percent (390 votes).

• Steve Gorsline (write-in) – 0 percent (0 votes).

• Unassigned write-ins — 0.96 percent (40 votes).

Among the promises made by both Aubry and Sullivan is a commitment to government transparency and accessibility of information. This starts with them making themselves directly available to everyone in the community at all times.

Both set up campaign numbers where they will continue to receive calls and texts. Aubry can be reached at (248) 923-1583; Sullivan can be reached at (248) 871-7572. They can also be emailed at amyaubryforhazelpark@gmail.com and at alissasullivanforhazel

Sullivan said she and Aubry supplement each other perfectly.

“We talk about each other as a yin and yang, because we approach the same problem from different perspectives, and that gives us a great opportunity to find multiple options,” Sullivan said. “She (Aubry) is very educational with a research background, while I’m more of a volunteer, outreach, grass-roots, do-a-lot-with-a-little background. It balances us well. We don’t always agree, but I think that’s important in friends and very important in city government.”

Sullivan and Aubry feel that they can identify more closely with the younger people moving into Hazel Park, which is currently undergoing a renaissance that includes the revitalization of the John R corridor with critically acclaimed new businesses like Mabel Gray and Cellarmen’s, as well as the massive Tri-County Commerce Center at 10 Mile and Dequindre roads bringing hundreds of jobs to the city with big-name tenants like Amazon.com, LG Electronics and Bridgewater Systems. 

There is also the city’s growing art scene, which includes the Hazel Park Art Fair, overseen by Aubry and Sullivan on the Hazel Park Arts Council, and the art initiative for children at the Growers and Makers Market, which they also helped implement. 

While Aubry and Sullivan bring a younger perspective, they say there’s a lot to be learned from their predecessors and colleagues on council. Sullivan thanked former Mayor Jan Parisi and outgoing Mayor Jeffrey Keeton for their advice, and she said her council colleague LeCureaux has been an invaluable tutor.

“You can’t know where you are going unless you know where you have been,” Sullivan said. “It’s so important for Andy (LeCureaux) to be a part of this continuation. His experience is invaluable. 

“I appreciate the trust that’s been placed in Amy and I to be stewards of this ship, along with the other members of council,” she added. “I can’t say the words ‘honored’ and ‘humbled’ enough.”

She said the election shows that if you stay involved and commit yourself to the community, you can earn the community’s trust and the opportunity to serve. That’s what Aubry and Sullivan did after losing the first time — they both doubled down on their community involvement and tried again. Now they’re excited to get to work.

LeCureaux said he’s eager to continue the work the council has already begun.

“I’m thankful for the voters of Hazel Park returning me to City Council so we can continue the positive progress,” LeCureaux said. “Many great things are on the horizon for Hazel Park, and I look forward to serving all of the residents.”

Holland said she’s humbled and thankful for the support. She said she plans to continue educating herself on civic service with training from the Michigan Municipal League. She also continues to be active on the Eight Mile Boulevard Association. 

“Being appointed is kind of a tough place to be, because some wonder if you deserve it. But I put the work in while I was on council and I put the work in on my campaign, and it paid off. I came in where I expected to,” Holland said. “I’ve always worked hard in the community. Coming on to council, it was challenging at first, finding a role and figuring out how to fit in. But I hit the ground running as a team player, and now I’m still on the team.”