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Fourth Ward candidates address issues at forum

July 25, 2018 GMT

Three Fourth Ward candidates stepped to the stage of the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce and Ludington Daily News candidates forum Tuesday night to introduce themselves to the Ludington community as they vie for the votes of residents.

Each candidate was allowed a brief opening statement to introduce themselves to the crowd.

Cheri Stibitz-Rozell told the crowd she is a life-long resident of the Fourth Ward, where she lives with her husband Jeffrey.

“I look forward to serving the community,” Stibitz-Rozell said.

Kandi Fugere said she is a long-time resident of the Fourth Ward as well. She said she is an organized person and has her masters degree in psychology. She gave praise to her opponents.

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“I think all three (candidates) are great,” Fugere said.

Jeff Caspersen said he graduated from Scottville High School in 2003 and is a life-long resident of Mason County.

“My desire to serve public office has always been there my whole life,” he said.

Fugere was asked the first question of the evening, about her thoughts on the charter amendment proposal to extend the option for the city manager’s contract from one year to three.

“I think it’s a great idea. I think we need to amend the charter to allow for new growth in Ludington and I think moving with the times is what we need to do,” she said. “There’s no stopping that technology around us is getting better and better daily, and we need to follow that path.”

Caspersen was asked if he had a plan to clean up blight within the Fourth Ward.

“I would have to meet and discuss with those on the planning commission,” he said. “What can we do to encourage business owners to open business in the Fourth Ward?”

Stibitz-Rozell was asked what she would change about Ludington if she could.

“I think that we need more sense of community and the Fourth Ward is a great place to start that,” she said.

Fugere was then asked what she would do to encourage growth within the Fourth Ward.

“We have to keep getting people to come in and see what valuable property there is there,” she said.

She made mention of the Fourth Ward Market succeeding in the ward.

“I want to see more things like that come through,” she said.

Stibitz-Rozell was asked what prompted her to run for office.

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She made mention of her family’s rich history within the Fourth Ward and that she wanted to give back to the community as her family and ancestors did before her.

Each candidate was allowed a closing statement after questions.

Caspersen said he was honored for the opportunity and wants to work for the people.

“The city seems to focus primarily on agendas and projects to encourage tourism. I think it would be nice if the city looked at what benefits the residents,” he said. “I am really honored to be here and to have this opportunity.”

Fugere talked about her background and history in the Forth Ward.

“I have deep roots there. I have a lot of love not just for the Fourth Ward, but for Ludington,” she said. “Who could not love this?”

Stibitz-Rozell gave thanks to all who attended the forum and wants to make sure that citizens exercise their right to vote.

“I just want to thank all of you for being here, because what you are doing is making an informed decision,” she said. “We are still Ludington, Michigan, United States of America, and that is our job to go vote, because our opinions are important.”

She said she is ready to build on a foundation of the Fourth Ward.

“I truly believe on building on the current traditions we have and it will create a better tomorrow,” she said.

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