Editor's note: Prior to Harbor Springs City Council elections, we offer readers an opportunity to get to know candidates through a series questions and written responses published here. This year, there are four candidates vying for two, two-year terms on Harbor Springs City Council (five candidates will appear on the ballot; Trisha Witty has, however, resigned from the race). John Cupps, who was appointed to fill the remained of Mick Heinz's term, is the only incumbent running. Cecelia Johnston, Jeff James and Chris Baughman are also running for election. The election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 5 in the city of Harbor Springs. Polls are open from 7am to 8pm at City Hall. Results from Tuesday's election will be too late for the print edition of this newspaper but will be posted on www.harborlightnews.com.
Cecelia (Cece) Johnston
How long have you lived in Harbor Springs (city limits/in area)?
I have lived in Harbor Springs since 2001. I have two daughters, five grandchildren.
Bowling Green State University, Ohio State University
Prior elected positions:
Harbor Springs City Council
Served on the board of NW MI Habitat for Humanity, presently on the board of Harbor Springs Friendship Center.
Why are you seeking a seat on the city council?
I fell in love with Harbor Springs when I first visited over 20 years ago. Since becoming a year round resident in 2001, I have developed a passion for this community and serving on city council is one way I can give back to the community.
For the past several years, Harbor Springs has been talking about how to best revitalize, protect, and preserve the city. What are your ideas about how to best accomplish this?
Any project in Harbor Springs needs careful and thorough study with no rush decisions. Ideas and various plans have been mentioned. No discussion at city council to approve any plan will occur until the public has had an opportunity to see the plan and give their input.
When you think about the next two years in Harbor Springs, what key issues or areas of concern pop up in your mind?
Harbor Springs needs a vital downtown. One that is active with more merchants open all year. Encouraging young adults and families to live in our community, in town, needs to be a priority. For those who wish to spend a day or two in our town we need a place for them to stay. We need a hotel to begin as soon as possible.
What do you consider to be some of the most important issues facing our region, not just the city?
We need to attract new businesses to this area, and with those businesses there will be more job opportunities.
If you are elected what are some of your short and long term goals as a city council member?
A merchant pointed out to me at the end of my term on City Council that I had not made an effort to meet all the local merchants. If elected in November, I will visit and talk with merchants and business people that I do not know. I will listen and consider all Harbor Springs taxpayers opinions, as well as full-time residents, to ensure I have a pulse on the community.
What else do you want voters to know about you and your philosophies toward city government?
The representatives of the citizens of any community need to first and foremost listen to the feedback on the various issues. Also, the government is responsible for making sure the city infrastructure is working properly, is up to date, and the city operates within budget.