TRAVERSE CITY — The city commission will feature a new, younger look as voters chose Gary Howe and Tim Werner to fill openings, along with fellow commission newcomer Ross Richardson.
Richardson, a former Grand Traverse County commissioner, took the top spot among vote-getters with 2,071 votes. Werner and Howe finished close on his heels with more than 1,800 votes each to capture the other two openings on the seven-member commission.
Jody Bergman, the lone incumbent who sought re-election, finished more than 300 votes back, at just under 1,500.
“We’ve elected three completely new and fresh faces to the city commission, so it should be quite interesting,” Richardson said.
Voters interviewed by the Record-Eagle said they liked Richardson for his reasonable nature and Howe and Werner for their new ideas and energy.
“I like Ross a lot because you know where he is on issues and he’s level-headed,” said Tim Wiley.
Scott Morey said he voted for Howe and Richardson.
“Howe brings a lot of new ideas,” Morey said. “Ross is a very practical guy.”
Howe and Werner both served on the city’s planning commission and often campaigned together on similar issues that revolved around traffic safety and making streets more pedestrian- and bike-friendly.
Lisa Raymo said she liked Howe’s values and his positive thinking.
Maura Brennan said she voted for Werner because he had the support of Howe and Hans Voss, executive director of the Michigan Land Use Institute.
“He’s just kind of a young blood looking to make Traverse City accessible for families,” Brennan said.
Howe said his campaign was a great experience because he met many people in the community and he thinks they appreciate his approach.
“I’m transparent, I bring some energy, I’m a good listener and I have an eye to let’s look forward,” he said.
Among the rest of the candidates, planning commissioner Jan Warren finished fourth with 1,500 votes, with Bergman close behind. Patrick McGuire came in sixth with 1,113 votes and John Reid finished last with 267 votes.
Bergman, who served two four-year terms on the commission, didn’t voice regrets.
“My dance card is open,” she said.