Marquette City Commission candidate profile: Jermey Ottaway


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 Jermey Ottaway.

A long-time resident of Marquette, a graduate of Marquette Senior High School and a graduate of Northern Michigan University with a degree in political science, Jermey Ottaway made his first run for the Marquette City Commission three years ago.

“I felt like I was someone who had something to offer and wasn’t doing enough,” explains Ottaway. “I really love our community. So, it made a lot of sense for me to start doing something.”

Speaking on the phone with Local 3’s Korinne Griffith, Ottaway outlined his current work within the city.

“I’m actually the Vice Chair for the Board of Zoning and Appeals for the city now and I’m also on the Executive Board for the Downtown Development Authority. So, it’s kind of weaned me in a way of…even if I don’t get elected, that’s okay, because I’m still contributing and I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to make sure that my voice is actually heard,” says Ottaway.

One of the most common topics brought up by voters is affordability in Marquette. Ottaway says he understands the struggle of living in Marquette with a young family, as he has three kids himself.

“I understand the struggles of living in Marquette as a younger person and trying to maintain an income that will keep you here with the rising cost of housing and everything else,” adds Ottaway, “And, you know, kind of get some of those ideals out there and represent people that are not necessarily along the same stance of what we’ve had representative for, for a long time.”

Ottaway also spoke about a delay in projects within the city.

“We are spending money, a lot more than we were in the past, and we have projects that are kind of being put on hold. I can attest to that with my time at the DDA, we’re seeing things being put on hold because of projects going on around town like Lakeshore Boulevard, for instance. That’s taking a lot of money to do that project that has to be spent now due to a grant.”

Ottaway is speaking of a proposed project to move Lakeshore Boulevard further away from the shoreline in order to cut down on damage to the roadway from storms. More information on this project can be found here.

Another common complaint brought to Ottaway’s attention from community members is construction and work done to roads.

“Roads being fixed appropriately in neighborhoods aren’t being done and it’s understandable, but that really upsets people. As someone that lives in south Marquette, I’m upset that Altamont Street hasn’t been fixed in like 20 years. They’ve fixed sections of it but people that live in that neighborhood are upset and well-aware with the same situation.”

Ottaway also spoke about what he felt was one of the commission’s largest and most important jobs, which is working alongside the city manager.

“We have a city commission that needs to work as a team to basically work as a check and balance to our city manager and kind of work off of him. When you talk about what the city commission does and the most important aspect of their job, in my opinion, it’s keeping the city manager in check and hiring a new city manager when needed.”

Lastly, Ottaway made a point to say that he is in Marquette “for the long haul”. He says he has no plans or desire to leave Marquette to move on to a higher political office. He also spoke about his desire to always be available to members of the Marquette community.

“If you’re getting elected to the city commission, your number one job is to represent the city and the constituents living here. I think it’s really important to do some things, like some of our commissioners do, set regular office hours in town. If I’m elected, I’m going to set office hours once a week in different locations and make it known on social media and at the commission meetings that if people would like to come and talk, I’m always available,” explains Ottaway.

For more information on Jermey Ottaway’s campaign, you can follow his Facebook page here. You can also reach out to him via email at 

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:

Andrew Lorinser

Evan Bonsall

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