East Lansing City Council Election 2021: Meet the Candidates


Liz Nass, News Reporter

EAST LANSING- City Council Elections are right around the corner and many students are unsure of what or who the platforms for the city of East Lansing are about, yet candidates on the trail around the city have been pushing their message for both the older residents and the college crowd. 


To make your decision this election day, voters should be mindful of the candidates’ stances and their part in the community. Voters need to focus on what matters to them and the people in their neighborhood, such as their relationship with MSU and youth engagement as well as diversity in the community. Luckily, the frontrunners in the races sat down with Impact FM to explain their most critical beliefs and stances in their campaign to highlight why they should be on the council and represent every voter in this unique population of East Lansing. 


Dana Watson, the current Mayor Pro Tem and city council member, is searching for East Lansing’s public support again in this election in the four year seat category. She boasts a good relationship with the ASMSU community and wants to focus on their priorities for the MSU Student Body in town. 


Dana Watson


You help drive our economy and your peace and positive experience matters to me,” Watson shared about her goals for the students of her alma mater. 


Her platform focuses around safety in all areas such as housing, environmental issues, and public safety. She wants to work towards harm reduction in the city. She is also a reproductive health advocate, which she believes gives her a perspective other candidates in the race do not. 


“Student voice is important because you live, learn, work and play here,” Watson said about her main goal and focus of her campaign. 


The next candidate running for the four year seat is George Brookover, a lawyer in the city of East Lansing, providing his expertise in the field of politics instead of the courtroom. 


George Brookover


“I want to be continually vigilant in how we use taxpayer dollars. I want to give taxpayers a bang for their buck,” Brookover stated as one of his most important stances in his campaign. 


Other important platforms in his campaign include sticking to a comprehensive plan when it comes to infrastructure planning and zoning, protecting the neighborhoods and downtown, and enhancing diversity in both the city and the council. 


Dealing with MSU, Brookover also has concerns for the students. He has expressed disinterest and astonishment with the campus trying to create an “off-campus code of conduct” for students, claiming he would not be in favor of that. He also wants to see more students volunteering for commission boards and coming out to vote to show their support for government actions. 


“My main focus is to take care of active voters. I want to plan ahead and make the city more efficient for our multi-generational city of adults and college students. I want to interact with college students and make sure that the city is safe for everyone,” Brookover concluded on his campaign.


Chuck Grigsby is also running for the four year seat, using his hard work on commission boards and non-profits as a stepping stone. He fights for transparency in government to improve city communication and awareness with citizens of city affairs. 


Chuck Grigsby


“When I was knocking on doors and speaking to citizens, I found that a lot of citizens did not feel connected to decision making, and I want to change that,” Grigsby said. 


He also, like many of the other candidates, wants to expand the relationship between the city and Michigan State University. He believes that COVID opened up this communication, but he wants to take this and make it consistent and regular communication.


Grigsby also emphasizes the importance of addressing the budgetary issues with Legacy costs in East Lansing. He believes it should be a focal point of the city council and wants to find a way to get away from the growing debt on infrastructure needs. 


His end goal is to be a representative of the community, including the students, to build the identity of East Lansing, and grow along with the excitement of living in a college town. 


Adam DeLay is also a contender for the four year seat in the City Council Election as well. He has many progessive stances that he brings to the table in the race. He wants to bring about police reform including distribution of their budget to other issues in East Lansing such as poverty and mental health. He also stands for government transparency in their affairs and the use of renewable energy and resource consumption. 



Adam Delay


For students, DeLay wants to build a better relationship with MSU and advocate for fair housing rights for every student. He also wants to reduce city housing prices.


“I believe we have the opportunity to make great change right now,” he stated about his goals from his campaign. 


The last candidate running for the four year seat is Daniel Bollman, an expert in architecture. With this knowledge he wants to expand the diversity of the neighborhoods in East Lansing with efficient zoning ordinance modifications. He also believes in streamlining the development process by reducing application requirements in student housing. 


Daniel Bollman


“I want to be able to retain and empower the city staff in every sector of the community. I also want to critically review all budgets and create a balance to employ public resources,” Bollman explained his priorities.  


He also wants to strengthen the relationship between the City Council and the university and its board to make decisions with students being involved such as the ASMSU. 


For East Lansing, my goal remains ensuring that we remain a progressive, engaged city that welcomes the entire community,” said Bollman. 


There are also two year seats on the council open as well in this election. One of the people running in this campaign is Ron Bacon, who is appointed to City Council now. His main focus of his campaign includes finding a happy medium between growth of infrastructure in the city and environmental sustainability, affordability and attainability of housing for students and new families in the area, and more options for housing in the city of East Lansing. 


Ron Bacon


“One of my biggest concerns is retention of students in the area. I want to make the city more attractive to build a career or business here rather than just where their college is and then leaving town. I want to create a supportive community to incubate the path from college to professional life,” Bacon shared on wanting to be more ahead of the curve of creating opportunities for graduates in town. 


However, he also realizes that the two year seat is a short time for change in the government, so he wants to enact attainable goals for this time period that can create real change. He wants to move quickly and not let anything languish in space.


“Student populations don’t have time for long-term goals, so we must be proactive in the city government,” Bacon said. 


The other candidate running for the two year seat is Mikey Manuel, who is a business head in East Lansing. He claims that he wants to represent people who want a change in government by advocating for less political running of the council, such as people who do not have a background in politics letting their voice be heard such as himself. Manuel also advocates for creative ways to raise funds for the city and reinvest money into projects the public cares about. With this care for public good and support he has also shown his support for grassroot movements and organizations coming into the public light. 


Mikey Manuel


“I want to demonstrate stability and balance in our City Council, and not just use it as a political stepping stone to other jobs and projects,” he commented on his dedication to the council. 


Manuel also emphasizes the economic importance of Michigan State University to the city, but also sees students as more than an opportunity for financial growth. 


It’s important that our city not be looked at as an opportunity to take advantage of students but a city that gives students opportunities,” he said. 


There are a lot of stances and names to keep in mind when visiting the polls on Tuesday, yet it only matters that your vote is counted and your voice is heard. Especially in City Council local elections, your individualized perspective is much more accessible to the politicians making daily decisions, with every opinion changing the legislation and projects relevant to you and your community. Voting is your way to dictate how government and politics affects you and you are in the spotlight, so don’t let Tuesday pass you by.