Three Farmington incumbents reelected to council seats

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published November 6, 2019

 Sara Bowman celebrates her reelection onto the Farmington City Council at 1 Up Arcade Bar in downtown Farmington.

Sara Bowman celebrates her reelection onto the Farmington City Council at 1 Up Arcade Bar in downtown Farmington.

Photo by Jonathan Shead

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FARMINGTON — Three of Farmington’s incumbent City Council members regained their seats on council when the polls closed and unofficial results were reported by the Oakland County Elections Division.

Councilmember Joe LaRussa, Mayor Pro Tem Sara Bowman and current Mayor Steve Schneemann were all reelected to the council. In total, 5,868 residents voted in the Nov. 5 election.

LaRussa led the pack with 1,484 votes, or 25.29%; Bowman followed in second with 1,332 votes, or 22.7%; and Schneemann claimed the final council seat with 1,240 votes, or 21.13%. With the two highest vote totals, LaRussa and Bowman will serve four-year terms. Schneemann will serve a two-year term.

Newcomers Sarah Davies, who described herself as a community activist and a lifelong Farmington resident, and Geof Perrot, a current planning commissioner for the city of Farmington, were both outpaced by the incumbent runners. Davies garnered 922 votes, or 15.71%, while Perrot earned 865, or 14.74% of the votes.

Bowman said she’s “feels overwhelmed” by the support she’s received throughout her campaign from friends, family and residents. Meanwhile, LaRussa said he’s “excited and humbled at the same time.” He said he’s especially humbled to have the trust of voters to be elected into office for a second term.

Both incumbents said they’re ready to get back to City Council and back to work.

“I’m really encouraged to see all three incumbents get reelected. I really feel that we have just started to pick up some momentum,” said Bowman. “With the recent voter-approved millage, it’s really given us an opportunity to start digging into some of the development opportunities that we’ve wanted to and haven’t yet. … To see that momentum keep going, I think, is so important. We’re really hitting a good stride and work well together. We really are a strong council, and I think people should feel encouraged by that.”

LaRussa agreed with Bowman, saying the focus will be on some of the city’s major infrastructure projects — like the Maxfield Training Center, the Farmington Road streetscape and others items in the capital improvement plan. He also feels tasked with continuing to pursue some of the technology advancements he has been working on for the city.

“I feel like I now have a mandate from the people on the technology plank of my platform, using technology to make government more efficient and more effective,” LaRussa said. “With the municipal broadband infrastructure that I’ve been pursuing in collaboration with Farmington Hills, and all these other things, I feel like the people have said, ‘This guy has great ideas. He’s got a vision for the future, and he needs the time now to do the work to make that vision a reality.’”

Bowman said she’d also like to see a revival of an ad hoc committee that can work on properly funding the city-owned and neighborhood roads and sidewalks. She would also like to find new ways to incentivize new businesses to come to town that will provide growth for the city and a larger tax base.

Bowman and LaRussa praised the newcomers, Davies and Perrot, for their current capacity of work in the city and for putting themselves and their hard work into this race.

“I can’t understate how much work I saw put in by (the) two newcomers. They put themselves out there in an arena with three incumbents,” said Bowman. “Both of them have so much to be proud of. Both of them put so much of their effort, time and money into their campaigns. I hope they know there is always a place for people who want to be involved.”

LaRussa said he’s looking forward to working and continuing to collaborate with both of them in their current capacities as community leaders.

“For me, I just feel very grateful,” LaRussa said. “The voters have seen what I’m capable of. They’ve seen what hard work looks like. I think that they reward that and I’m blessed they saw the work I put in and the record I’ve accumulated in (my) short amount of time. It sends the message that they want more, and I’m ready to give them more.”

The city of Farmington will select its new mayor from the reelected and currently sitting council members at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Farmington City Hall chambers.

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