Two new faces, one incumbent shore up Fraser City Council

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published November 15, 2017

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FRASER — Voters in Fraser welcomed two new individuals to represent them on City Council Nov. 7.

Suzanne Kalka, David Winowiecki and Michael Lesich earned the three available four-year seats on Fraser City Council, receiving 29.3, 25.3 and 22.3 percent of the votes, respectively. Lesich was an incumbent. Kalka came in first by nearly 400 votes.

Candidate Aaron Hanke received 14 percent of the votes, and candidate Matt Hemelberg, who was ousted from his council seat earlier this year following sexual harassment allegations, received 9 percent of the votes.

According to the Macomb County Clerk’s Office, Fraser experienced the highest voter turnout in the county at 36.2 percent.

“It’s always good to win an election, and I’m happy to be serving another four years,” Lesich said. “I’m thrilled with Suzanne Kalka and David Winowiecki — exactly the people I want to be working with. They’re smart, committed and passionate. They’re about this community.”

Lesich said he has always tried to be open, direct and responsive to residents’ questions as a means of transparency and keeping them informed on the issues facing their city.

Kalka said she was “incredibly humbled” to receive the most votes, and she noted that she had been knocking on doors since July, meeting residents and understanding where they stand on issues that affect the city.

“We cannot make everyone happy, but I want to listen to the residents,” Kalka said. “In the first 60 days, we are picking a mayor, tackling the budget, and I’d like to begin setting up committees for our industrial park and commercial businesses to find out what ideas they have for our city.

“I want to attend our city planning and zoning meetings in early December to get moving with my plans to promote change.”

Winowiecki, who was a runner-up in the city’s 2015 election by fewer than 80 votes, said it felt great to join the council. He has a history of working with finances.

“In talking with a lot of people (on the campaign trail), they felt I had a good business sense,” Winowiecki said. “My years of experience dealing with large numbers and budgets, also the amount of time I spend in the city.”

He is a past president of the Fraser Athletic Boosters, and he and his wife have been heavily involved with Families Against Narcotics for many years. He has also been affiliated with groups inside and outside Fraser, including the Fraser First Booster Club and Rising Stars Academy in Center Line, which offers special needs students an opportunity to promote self-advocacy skills.

The new members will immediately jump into the fray to deal with the ramifications of the failed 3-mill ballot proposal that failed at the polls. Lesich has supported the passing of that levy in his time on council, previously stating that he’s only one vote but that he will “make fiscal and difficult decisions to maintain city services and fiscal health.”

Winowiecki said the city is at an interesting point.

“We have a decision to make as a council: Do we continue and actually enact the 3 mills, or what do we do?” Winowiecki said. “Those are the ‘ors’ we have to go in and explain (to the people).”

“It’s a very unique time for us to come in, and we have a lot to talk about,” he said. “I do feel we’ll have a stronger and more cohesive City Council.”