MARQUETTE — Nine candidates are running for two open Marquette City Commission seats.
The August 6th primary will narrow the field down to four candidates before the general election on November 5th, which will decide the new commissioners.
In preparation for elections, Local 3’s Korinne Griffith will be interviewing each of the candidates to learn more about their campaign and what they hope to accomplish by serving on the Marquette City Commission. This is the candidate profile of Evan Bonsall.
Evan Bonsall, a graduate of Marquette Senior High School, is no stranger to politics. At just 22 years old he already has a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University as well as a wealth of political experience.
“I served on the Sustainability Committee, which existed at that time when I was a senior in high school. Since then, I’ve served on the Parks and Recreation board of which I’m the Vice Chair and I’m Secretary for the Brownfield Authority. I’ve also volunteered for some local political campaigns like Tom Baldini and John Kivela our former state representative,” explains Bonsall.
Bonsall says he was approached by friends and family asking him to consider running for one of the open commission seats. He ultimately decided to run to help represent the younger generation and working-class families.
“In the next five years, the city is going to have to be making some really significant decisions. How are we going to make it possible for people to be able to live here in the city with rising housing prices? How are we going to create opportunity to help young people and working-class people stay here in Marquette? What are we going to do with many of the vacant properties in town?” says Bonsall.
One of Bonsall’s major campaign platforms is creating more affordable housing in the city.
“Trying to do as much as we can, as a city government, to make housing more affordable for people here in Marquette,” says Bonsall. ”I think a great first step would be to appoint an affordable housing committee here in the city, as recommended in the current strategic plan, and I also believe there’s a lot we could be doing with regards to zoning policy, working with developers, things of that nature to try and making housing more affordable for people in the city without spending any taxpayer dollars.”
Deidre Attwell Gorkowski is a supporter of Evan Bonsall’s campaign, and she says his work to make housing affordable in Marquette is important to her.
“Growing up in Marquette, I was like high middle-class, my family did well and then the stock market crashed and a lot of people lost their jobs. So, my family struggled a lot and it was really hard for us to find housing. It was definitely a struggle,” explains Attwell Gorkowski.
While some may say that at 22 years old, Bonsall is too young to serve as a commissioner, his supporters believe that is his age is one of his strongest suits.
“I say we need someone young and a lot of people on the commission would agree too,” continues Attwell Gorkowski. “They say that they want fresh ideas, and he may be young in age, but he’s old in spirit and old in wisdom.”
Bonsall believes that having young representation is exactly what the younger generation in Marquette needs.
“I realized that my generation are the ones who are going to have to live with the consequences for the longest. So I wanted to get involved and make sure that young people, working class folks have a seat at the table as those big decision are getting made,” adds Bonsall.
Bonsall also references his extensive local government experience.
“My experience in city government is greater than that of many of my older opponents. So hopefully I can combine that fresh perspective with some experience and knowledge of how local government works and I can actually get some things done.”
We will continue to have profile pieces on all the Marquette City Commission candidates, pending their availability and willingness to participate. Stay tuned to Local 3 News for more.
View our profiles of the other city commission candidates below: