TRAVERSE CITY — The city commission is guaranteed to add new faces this year, and some could be considerably younger than the current cast.
Four people whose ages range from 28 to 45 obtained nominating petitions for three city commission slots that will be up for grabs in November. Two current commissioners, Mike Gillman and Mary Ann Moore, said they will not seek re-election.
“We’ve done our time,” Moore said. “It’s time to make room for the young ones.”
John Reid, 28, Bradley Matson, 28, Gary Howe, 40, and Tim Werner, 44, obtained nominating petitions for the commission, a precursor to securing a spot on the November ballot. Howe and Werner are members of the city’s planning commission; Matson and Reid have no prior political experience.
“I love the town and love the city and just want to bring a little bit of a younger opinion to the board,” said Reid, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran and sales manager for a sign company.
Matson, a Traverse City native who recently returned to the city after working in Arizona, is part of the group Think TC that’s focused on making Traverse City attractive to young families. The group wants to see some younger voices on a commission where Jim Carruthers, 50, checks in as its youngest member.
“I think the more diverse the group the better, and the lack of younger people is a major drawback,” Matson said.
Carruthers said its “cool” that some younger people have stepped up.
“The city commission’s old guard has always been mostly people who are retired,” Carruthers said. “We are always trying to get younger people involved, so I think it’s interesting that people are putting their names forward.”
Matson, a web page developer who runs a cooperative office space downtown, said his group is weighing different candidates and he’s not yet committed to running.