BRIDGMAN — Bridgman voters will decide three open City Council seats Nov. 8, and five people want to serve the nonpartisan body.
Current members William Boyd and Kathleen Ramso cannot run because of term limits. Susy Barnes is not seeking re-election.
The candidates are Rick Fuller, Linda Gedeon-Kuhn, Vince Rose, Georgia Gipson and Jan Trapani.
Fuller, 3729 Stelter Farm Drive, a 1963 graduate of Bridgman High School, said he is prepared to work hard for Bridgman’s future. He has been involved through the City and Citizens Cooperating Partnership, which helped establish the Rambo memorial clock and seasonal decorations for the city planters.
“There is a time for talking and policy-making, and then there is a time to buckle down and get to work,” he said. “A primary role of leadership at any level is ‘setting a vision’ for people to support. The vision must gain a consensus of agreement and capture the enthusiasm of the people. The goals must be attainable and rewarding for the community and the individual.”
After leaving the area for college, the military and subsequent careers as pilot, international negotiator and businessman, Fuller and his wife, Anna Kozak, have returned to the area and are investors in the Sandpiper Gift Shop and coming Hoof-to-Hanger fiber mill.
He is president of the Friends of the Bridgman Public Library, a member of the Bridgman Planning Commission and teaches government and physical and human geography classes at Lake Michigan College.
Gedeon-Kuhn said retaining existing businesses and attracting new ones is important to Bridgman’s continued growth. Gedeon-Kuhn, 67, 9791 Niagara Row, is seeking to return to the council she served for 14 years. ending in 2000.
She is recording secretary of the Planning Commission, which she has served for 25 years. She is a trustee and secretary for the Bridgman Foundation for Educational Excellence and a volunteer at Bridgman Elementary school.
“My belief is that when living in a community it is very important to contribute. Each individual achieves that in a different manner. I volunteer and get involved. I figure that someone helped make Bridgman a great place to live before I arrived, and I should do the same for someone calling Bridgman their home now and in the future,” Gedeon-Kuhn said.
Her other community activities include founding Celebrate Bridgman, heading the Taps Rock project at Weko Beach and raising money for the City Hall clock. She is a board member of the Michigan Municipal League, the MML Workman’s Compensation Board and trustee and level III graduate of the MML Elected Officials Academy.
Gedeon-Kuhn and her husband Gerald Kuhn have three grown sons and three grandchildren.
A 30-year-plus resident, Gipson, 55, has two children and lives at 4336 Oak St. With 33 years of banking experience, she said her skills will help in attracting investment to underdeveloped areas along Red Arrow Highway near I-94 Exit 16 to bring economic growth while maintaining small town friendliness.
“I feel we have an administration that believes in moving Bridgman forward as a community,” she said. “I have a strong desire to contribute to that effort. If elected, I will serve our community with an understanding and respect for fiscal responsibility while also encouraging citizen involvement.”
Gipson is a banking officer and branch manager with Edgewater Bank. She is a six-year board member with the Bridgman Chamber of Commerce and Growth Alliance and a Lakeshore Rotarian. Other activities include the CGA Wine Fest and Brewers Festival, United Way and Junior Achievement.
Having raised two sons in the city, Rose, 9394 Red Arrow Highway, and his wife, Lori, both natives of the city, said he knows firsthand that Bridgman is a great community to raise a family.
“I think Bridgman is starting to head in the right direction, with great leadership,” he said. “I would like to be a voice for the citizens of Bridgman. As I work throughout the city, I hear many ideas and concerns. I feel I could be a great advocate for the residents of Bridgman in that way.”
Rose said he includes Weko Beach and Bridgman schools as top city assets.
Rose is self-employed in construction and was employed at Carter Lumber in Bridgman, which he managed for 18 of his 23 years there. His recent work has included projects at Weko Beach, the city parks and the Rambo memorial clock installation. He has volunteered as a floor hockey coach and member of the Bridgman Bees football chain gang.
Bridgman native Jan Trapani, 63, lives with her husband, Vincent, in the heart of downtown at 9614 Maplewood St.
Trapani said she would like to explore shared services with Lake Township for police, fire and public work services.
“This has been a long-standing discussion with many unresolved issues, but I would like to serve on any committee, board, council or focus group that would consider this a reality,” she said. “It just seems prudent in these times of high cost to work out a cooperative/sharing solution.”
Trapani, a registered nurse at Lakeland Hospital, would like to see the growth of a strong, year-round business climate with tax benefits to the city through the continued revitalization of downtown businesses and use of vacant parcels and structures along Red Arrow Highway. She would also like to see more family-centered activities, strong fiduciary management of taxpayer dollars and better communications from the city.
Trapani graduated from Bridgman High School, and has lived most of her life in the city. She has a bachelor’s of nursing degree from Nazareth College.