Buskirk, Henderson running for Ludington at-large seat.

November 3, 2016

buskirk_hendersonBuskirk, Henderson running for Ludington at-large seat. 

#MasonCountyElection

Ludington city council and mayoral election stories are brought to you by Ludington Yacht Sales, www.ludingtonyachtsales.com, 888- 231-1698.

There are three seats being challenged on Nov. 8: Mayor, councilor-at-large, and the Third Ward.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON —  David Buskirk and Brandy Henderson are running for the councilor-at-large seat, which represents the entire city, as opposed to a ward seat which represents a specific geographical area of the city.

Buskirk, 47, has lived in the city his entire life, except while he was attending college. He is a 1987 graduate of Ludington High School, attended West Shore Community College, and earned a dual degree in accounting/administration from Davenport Business College in Grand Rapids. He previously served on the city council from 1998 to 2001.

“I started running for council in 1996 during stagnant times in which I lived in the Sixth Ward,” he said. “I lost a very close race and decided to run again and was elected. I brought openness to the council, leadership and brought many ideas to the council. I had been on most of the committees at one time or another during my term. I know i can make a difference and that is why I continue to run for office.

“After being on council I have been back and forth at West Shore Community College working on the four IT degrees that the college was offering at the time. I had to quit four years ago when I was having problems sitting at a desk. I have recently had major back surgeries and working on trying to get back my back. I have been involved in all sports programs at one time or another during my sons education. I was on Emanuel Lutheran Church board for seven years. I have given my time to many friends, family and anyone that has been in need over the years. I have many talents, and the time to give and i know I can make a difference.”

Henderson, 28, has also lived in the city her entire life, except for the four years she was attending college.

She is a 2006 graduate of Ludington High School and earned a bachelor’s degree, majoring in advertising and public relations, with a minor in political science, from Grand Valley State University. Her employment history includes serving as the executive director of the Ludington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, she was also employed by the Ludington and Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce. She currently is a marketing instructor for the West Shore Educational Service District’s Career and Technical Education program.

Her involvement in the community includes serving on the downtown development authority board (Downtown Ludington), where she serves as marketing and events chair, the Love Ludington steering committee, Miss Ludington Area Scholarship board of directors. She has previously served on the Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital Foundation Board, the Mason County Economic Development Task Force, and the Habitat For Humanity of Mason County marketing committee, in addition to volunteering on many local community events. In 2011 she led the SOS campaign to keep the SS Badger in operation.

“I have worked with many of the city’s departments and staff planning community events, working with downtown businesses and serving on the Downtown Ludington Board. So, while I do not have experience serving in an official capacity with municipal government, I have a great understanding of the city’s inner workings and responsibilities.”

“I feel so lucky and proud to call Ludington home,” she said. “I want to keep working to ensure that our community is progressing forward to be an attractive place to live, work, start a business and vacation. That begins with strong leadership; leadership with ideas, creative solutions and a vision for the future. I believe my passion for Ludington and proven leadership in our community make me the best candidate for the job.”

MCP: Why do you want to be on city council?

Buskirk: I want to be on city council because it is my calling to serve the voters of Ludington in order to communicate what needs to be done and to help communicate the issues on hand. Everyone talks about transparency and i agree. When i was first elected in office in 1998-2001 we brought town hall meetings to the public, we started broadcasting the meetings on public television in order to be more transparency. I am a good listener and will bring any idea that the public may have to come up with a solution for any fixes that might need to be done.  I know how to lead when called upon and also know how to be a team player.

Henderson: I am running for city councilor-at-large because I see a need for new energy and leadership on City Council.  I am passionate about this community and want to bring a fresh perspective to its needs and concerns.  I want to tackle the problems the city is currently facing and make sure we are progressing forward with positive momentum. I have seen city council become very reactive recently. Without strong leadership and vision, we are maintaining the status quo, and I want better for Ludington and the residents.

MCP: What is your vision for Ludington?

Buskirk: My vision for the city of Ludington is to keep Ludington vibrant and alive. There is a lot going on in the coming years from moving the fire department, to waste water treatment plant overhaul, west end project at the end of Stearns Park etc. I would love to see the sidewalk walk around from Copeyon Park to connect to Stearns Park. I would also like to look into the future of installing a camera security system with a kiosk reader to gain access to the leaf corral since spring clean up does not exist any more. If it wasn’t for the whole community giving and donating there time we would not be progressing like we are today. Thanks to everyone that has ever given their time or talent to progressing the city on where we are today.

Henderson: To have a local government that is transparent and inclusive of our residents, supportive of their ideas and open to their feedback.

To have affordable housing for a workforce that needs it. Housing supports our businesses and that is important for our community.

To have neighborhoods that are not suffering from blight; to have proper sidewalks and roads that we aren’t afraid to drive on.

To have a community that is more walkable, more bikeable and has more gathering spaces for us to come together as a community.

To have a vibrant community where people want to live, work and stay!

MCP: What are the top 3 major obstacles the city faces?

Buskirk: We have many obstacles in our community but so does every town. However, I see that we have and will overcome any situation for we have great people in our community that will not let us fail. The most recent obstacle has become the waste water treatment plant overhaul. I believe we could of started planning earlier for the knowledge is out there from the DEQ that new requirements are going to be needed to process the waste that comes in. Another obstacle is dollars to do the right thing in a timely matter. The city has always had a surplus but with so many projects that need to be done are going to require dollars. In doing so i want to make sure that we can sustain the best that we can and not raise the millage. Another obstacle is keeping all the activities that goes on in our town with music festivals (Lud-Rock), arts and crafts shows, Friday Nite live, etc. and the Gus Macker tournament. However, once again the community leaders have supported another year. It would not of been done without the citizens or our leaders.

Henderson: Improve communication. Strive for a vision for the future. Strengthen our neighborhoods.

As city councilor at large, how would you plan on addressing these obstacles?

Buskirk:  I would address all obstacles with professionalism and the help of other community leaders and input from anyone that wants to give their input. I have the experience, I am older and wiser and can overcome anything. Mind over matter are the words I like to use but we all have obstacles in life. I have had more than most in someones lifetime. I can overcome anything and another chance in helping our city move forward is a vote for David S. Buskirk.

Henderson:

Improve communication: I believe the city is doing what is legally required of it to inform the public of meetings and decisions, but nothing more. We can do better. We should be using the new technologies and resources available to us to not only inform residents, but also gather feedback. That two-way communication is so important in keeping residents engaged in our community.

Strive for a vision for the future: Collaborate with organizations in our community to do our part in supporting projects and creating an environment that promotes prosperity and growth. Find creative solutions to the city’s revenue challenges that would allow the city to take a more proactive approach in maintaining infrastructure, but also tackle some of the other projects needing to be addressed.

Support creative ideas that foster placemaking in our community. Strengthen our neighborhoods.

Need to address blight. From conversations I have had and things I have heard, the issue isn’t enforcement of ordinances, but rather a lack of follow-through in the courts. I believe that is a communication issue. We need to work with our counterparts at the county level to prioritize this issue.

MCP: What are the top 3 major assets of the city?

Buskirk: The best asset we have in the city is our citizens living here who donate their time, money, and/or talent to make this town the best land locked small community. When things get tough we all try and pick up the pieces. We are rich at heart. Another asset that continues to bring everyone here is our beach and state park. Miles of open beach for all to enjoy. We have a thriving downtown that has been on the incline the past 10 years or so with addition of the children’s museum, sports hall of fame and the future of the new downtown development to bring even more people downtown. So things are looking up.

Henderson: The people, Lake Michigan, downtown.

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