Claire Wittlief Feature

Alma College staff run for community positions




With the election season underway, all eligible voters are having candidates and policies brought to their attention in order for their vote to make the difference they want to see. Keeping this in mind, there are three members of the Alma College faculty and staff who are running for positions within the Alma community.                                                                                           

Stephany Slaughter, a Spanish and Women’s & Gender Studies professor, is running for the Alma School Board. “I am running because I believe in the value of public education and the importance of cooperation between communities and schools,” said Slaughter. “In my role as [a] parent, I began thinking about running for the Board of Education several years ago and began looking at what it might entail.”                                                                                           

Slaughter also stated how her time working at Alma College has contributed to the current campaign.

“Through working at Alma College over the last 14 years I have gained many experiences that will inform how I approach a position on the Alma School Board, including working with complex budgets, developing and implementing curriculum, serving on our Board of Trustees and working with students,” said Slaughter. “The biggest takeaway, however, is consensus building through seeking out a variety of voices on issues.”                                                     

In terms of what students on campus can do to get involved, Slaughter emphasized the importance of voting.

“I encourage students to get registered, get informed and vote their conscience,” said Slaughter. “I sometimes hear students say they aren’t planning to vote, sometimes because they don’t see themselves as political, sometimes because they don’t think it will make a difference. It absolutely will make a difference.”                                              

Running for the position of Alma City Commissioner is Bill Gorton, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science.

“I’ve been sitting on the city’s parks and recreation committee and the zoning board for a while, and so I started to become familiar with some of the issues that the city faces,” said Gorton.                        

Some changes Gorton would like to make in his possible new role include converting the old Total Petroleum site into a solar array station, creating a commuter rail service, construction of a new bike path that connects the Meijer Heartland trail and the bike path along US-127 and more equitable funding for city parks.                                                                                                  

“The relationship between the college and the city is symbiotic — or, at least, it should be. The college is one of the biggest employers in the city and its students produce a lot of revenue for local business. In turn, the college benefits from being located in a vibrant, thriving city. We both depend upon each other,” said Gorton.                                                                                                  

Also running for the City Commissioner position is Drew Bare, the Assistant Director of Instructional Technology & Support Services at Alma College.

“I feel a calling to more service to the city of Alma,” said Bare. “I live in the city with my wife and kids and it’s important to me that we have people involved in our city commission who care deeply about the success of the city and are willing to work hard towards that.”                                                         

Bare has identified ways in which he as City Commissioner can improve Alma.

“In my door knocking over the past several weeks I’ve heard a lot of concerns including the poor condition of some of our streets, funding for the library, fair distribution of funding for parks and ensuring that the city maintains a reputation of being welcoming to new residents and businesses,” said Bare.                                                                                                                                                       “So much of what I’ve learned working for the college these past 16 years would carry over to being a city commissioner. My top priority in IT through all of these years has been to help develop a reputation for excellent customer service. Serving the residents of Alma would have a lot of similarities to serving the staff, faculty and students at Alma College,” said Bare.                    

The upcoming election is being held on Tuesday, November 8 and students are greatly encouraged to vote.

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