Candidates for the Mount Clemens City Commission and mayor took part in a candidate forum at the Mount Clemens Public Library on Oct. 5: (from left) Ronald Campbell, Spencer Calhoun, Laura Kropp, Theresa Scruggs McGarity, Erik Rick and Jill Yore.

Candidates for the Mount Clemens City Commission and mayor took part in a candidate forum at the Mount Clemens Public Library on Oct. 5: (from left) Ronald Campbell, Spencer Calhoun, Laura Kropp, Theresa Scruggs McGarity, Erik Rick and Jill Yore.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Mount Clemens candidates meet public at forum

By: Dean Vaglia | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published October 19, 2023


MOUNT CLEMENS — As municipal elections draw closer, hopefuls for the Mount Clemens City Commission and mayor delivered the case for their candidacy at a candidate forum hosted at the Mount Clemens Public Library on Oct. 5.

All four candidates vying for the three open City Commission seats — Jill Yore, Spencer Calhoun, Theresa Scruggs McGarity and incumbent Ronald Campbell — were in attendance. Joining them were the uncontested Laura Kropp and Erik Rick, respectively running for mayor and a truncated term on the commission.

Campbell stated his reason for running was to continue the city’s blight and code enforcement campaign. Campbell said his dedication to improving the look of Mount Clemens comes from his time as a Chippewa Valley High School teacher and hearing negative opinions of the city.

“I thought to myself, these are the next generation of home buyers,” Campbell said. “If they’re not going to have a positive image of the city, cleaning up and having a nice, clean city was my No. 1 focus.”

Calhoun has been a Mount Clemens resident for three years and sees himself as bringing a “fresh perspective” to the City Commission.

“I would like to see us continuing the revitalization of downtown, as well as supporting our neighborhoods and continuing with cleaning up and restoring our parks,” Calhoun said. “I want to listen to resident concerns and keep the community engaged on things that the City Commission is working on, and quickly bring to the attention of the commission and the city administration any issues that residents bring up.”

Scruggs McGarity also cited her experience as an asset she believes the city needs. She has worked with Macomb Community Action for 16 years and has handled multiple positions within the organization.

“My past experience as well as what I am currently doing, which is serving the community, will be an asset to our city,” Scruggs McGarity said. “If I can do it for the state and I can do it for the county, why can’t I do it for the city? I’ve brought some resources already to this city, but I know that for a fact there’s a lot of things that’s not hard that we can do together.”

Looking to enter municipal politics from a medical background, Yore said it was a “calling” to run for office. She has been a nurse leader for 41 years.

“I feel I have an abundance of personal and professional development and experiences that prepare me well for this position, and I know I can do a good job,” Yore said.

Candidates largely agreed on the city’s major issues being aging road and water infrastructure, tax and funding issues and population growth. Scruggs McGarity stated lowering taxes is her primary concern and sees local partnerships as a possible solution.

“Even though the school closed, you still have to pay those high taxes,” Scruggs McGarity said. “We could come together to say what we could do with it before they say, ‘just shut the door,’ and that’s it and your taxes are still high.”

Yore said her focus would be on matters that affect the health of residents, primarily the water and infrastructure issues.

“Water is of utmost importance for everybody’s health and well-being, but I’m also concerned about the aging infrastructure and the safety concerns that might be associated with that,” Yore said. “I’m not going to promise to solve anything by being elected, but I will work with everyone to get to the right and best solution.

Campbell also focused on improving the infrastructure, though his concern was how it would be paid for.

“I don’t have all the answers, but working with administration, hopefully plans will be put in place like we did with the water plan to make sure we get the best bang for the bucks that we put forward,” Campbell said.

Calhoun said his focus was on increasing the city’s tax base and that he believed partnering with the county government would help with that.

“I feel especially being the county seat that we can do a lot more with the county, or rather the county can do a lot more with us,” Calhoun said. “I would really like to see that relationship grow. I think that’s a part of the solution to help us address the many issues we’d like to see fixed.”

Candidates were unanimous on the downtown scene as Mount Clemens’ biggest asset, highlighting the many events and businesses in the area. The people and culture of Mount Clemens were another common highlight, with Yore commenting about how connected residents are and Scruggs McGarity praising residents for taking part in city events.

A forum attendee asked about the possibility of expanding wind and solar power to Mount Clemens, which received critical approval from all candidates. Nobody was against having renewable energy in the city but remained skeptical as to how it would be funded.

Another audience question asked candidates what they believed was working the best in Mount Clemens and what needed the most work. Yore said she believed there was ample excitement for the city’s future and downtown developments, but that more needs to be done about vacant buildings downtown. Campbell was positive about the city’s code enforcement strength, but wanted a solution to county and state facilities in the city being nontaxable. Calhoun said he liked the activities and events downtown but did not believe residents felt like their voices were being heard in government. Scruggs McGarity stated she believes the city has been good about accountability, but that city government may not be working well for all residents, including seniors.

Mount Clemens elections will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Visit for more information.