Traverse City General Election - November 7, 2023
Our Voice is the Business Voice
Traverse Connect knows it’s important to our business community that we elect leaders who care about issues important to us. Here at Traverse Connect, as a part of our investor and voter education, we are providing information for the 2023 Traverse City Mayoral and City Commissioner election on November 7. Traverse Connect hosted a Meet the Candidates Forum event on October 12 for investors and the community to hear from these city candidates.
November 7 – City General Election – Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Voters are welcome to register up to and including the day of the election.
Voter registration information available here.
Click here for information on the 2023 City Ballot Proposals
Meet the Candidates
Traverse Connect hosted the Traverse City City Commission and Mayoral Candidates Forum on October 12. Watch to learn about the candidate's thoughts on a number of issues important to the business community.
Shea O’Brien, City Commission Candidate, experienced audio issues during the event. His answers are included below:
Why are you running for City Commission/Mayor? Are there current City policies, projects, or approaches that you are hoping to change or champion, and if so, how?
I’m running for office as someone who has lived, worked and learned in Traverse City my entire life. My parents and grandparents worked hard to create a home for me and it’s time for me to continue the work. I have a keen planning mind and always weigh any costs on us today versus the benefits to us tomorrow. I’m pragmatic, intentional and thoughtful. I currently serve on the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and as the vice chair for the Sara Hardy Farmers Market board. Something I’d like to champion is extending TIF97, to continue to make our community better for us all. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to serve my community further.
What do you see as the City Commission’s/Mayor role in addressing the gaps in the housing continuum?
The Commission’s role in addressing the housing gap is to pass the zoning amendments to allow incremental infill, continue the use of PILOTS to build affordable units and encourage the use of Brownfield dollars to build more housing. We should also listen to our area’s employers in regards to what their employees need and want as far as housing. Is it the flexibility of a rental? Or the permanence of mortgaged homeownership? How can we support one or the other or both? We only get answers when we ask the questions.
Do you support the use of tax increment financing as a tool for the region to share in the cost of the City’s infrastructure and community development?
I support the extension of TIF97 because it represents an intelligent, long-term investment in downtown, our community’s economic and cultural hub. It allows for regional contribution to our success and gives us a transparent, multi-year budget. It’s our blueprint for a thriving downtown – everyone chips in and we all benefit. An important project that will be completed with TIF dollars is the boardwalk along the Boardman-Ottaway river. I believe this will become a crown jewel for our community, not unlike the Boardman Loop.
How do you believe the City should engage with regional partners to attract more young people and working-age families to the region?
The City should engage its regional partners as a leader but with an openness to collaborate and learn. The City is doing a good job of attracting young and working class people by investing in an active transportation network, green spaces and community engagement. Housing is our pinch point and only when we work with the region to build a well planned housing network near public transit and our trail systems can we continue to attract people. We don’t have all the answers and should be willing to listen and help where we can.
Mayor (Two-year term expiring 2025)
Mair, 67, was elected in 2016 as a Green Party candidate to serve as Grand Traverse County commissioner from 2017-2018, representing what was then District 2. Mair also ran for a county commission seat in 2012, 2014, 2018, and 2022 and a city commission seat in 2019, though was not elected in those races.
Mair did not attend the Traverse Connect event.
Shamroe, 43, has served as a city commissioner for eight years, including six years as Mayor Pro Tem. She is a board member at Traverse City Light & Power (TCLP), Friends of Traverse Area District Library, City Opera House, AAUW- Traverse City, and AAUW of Michigan. She is a book awards director and the podcast host of Behind the Cover. Shamroe has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Michigan State University.
City Commission Candidates (Three seats of four-year terms expiring 2027)
A Traverse City resident for 23 years, Anderson, 71, is a retired businessperson and professor with an MBA from Michigan State. She helped organize the city’s new Indian Woods Neighborhood Association, served as board member of the grassroots campaign to save Easling Pool, and volunteered for five years as a SCORE mentor for local business owners.
Funk, 39, is a firefighter and paramedic with the Traverse City Fire Department. He is also the owner of Funk Heating and Cooling and a licensed mechanical contractor. He has a BA in Exercise Science from Adrian College. Funk previously vied to fill city commission vacancies in 2018 and 2022. He is eligible to run as a TCFD employee, though would not be able to negotiate any collective bargaining agreements on behalf of city firefighters if elected.
Kennedy has a 35-year career in state legislative and local government arenas, including working as staff for the Michigan State Senate for 10 years, for the Michigan Municipal League for 17 years, and for the Village of Elk Rapids and Boyne City. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Western Michigan University and is a graduate of Traverse City’s first City Academy this year. Kennedy is a founding board member of Housing North and served on the Northern Homes Community Development Commission and the executive committee of Networks Northwest.
Mills, 68, moved to Traverse City in 1973 to attend NMC. She currently works as an office administrator and has a master’s in Divinity from Loyola University of Chicago. Mills and her husband, Tom, a recently retired educator, have three grown children. Mills is a past recipient of the United Way’s Volunteer of the Year award and currently serves on the Traverse City Master Plan Leadership Team as a city resident representative.
Minkin, 38, is a licensed attorney-at-law, licensed investment advisor representative, certified retirement counselor, and licensed insurance producer. Originally from the western U.P., he relocated to the area 10 years ago and works as a client relationship and project manager for a large retirement plan company. He has a bachelor of science degree in Secondary Education Political Science and History from Northern Michigan University and his JD from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
Chris Minkin did not attend the event.
Roman, 36, is a Glen Arbor native and analytical engineer with a master’s degree in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University. He is the vice president of the Slabtown Neighborhood Association and vice president of education for Cherry Capital Toastmasters. Roman also has board service experience with Networks Northwest, Traverse City Board of Zoning Appeals, and GT County Building Code. Roman ran in 2021 for a vacant city commission seat and came in second in a three-way race behind now-Commissioner Mitch Treadwell.
Shaw, 64, is a partner at Mission Point Press and an officer at Shaw Investment Company. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy, NMC, and the University of Michigan and served on the city planning commission from 2017 until this summer, when she resigned citing concerns over the process leading up to a recent board vote on residential zoning changes.
Treadwell, 34, has served on the city commission since 2021 after winning a three-way race against candidates Merek Roman and Tim Pulliam for a partial two-year seat vacated by former Commissioner Roger Putman. A river steward and landscaper who attended Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University, Treadwell has served on multiple city boards including the Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission, Traverse City Housing Commission, and Board of Zoning Appeals. He is part of BATA’s Local Advisory Council and the Boardman River Clean Sweep.