With Mayor Gretchen Driskell moving on to challenge Republican incumbent Mark Ouimet for the 52nd Michigan House seat, Saline voters are in unfamiliar territory. The 2012 mayoral election is the first in many years without an incumbent.
The candidates to succeed Driskell, however, have substantial city council experience.
Brian Marl (www.brianmarl.com) is serving is second term on Saline City Council. Marl is a legislative aid for State Rep. Jeff Irwin. Glenn Law (www.lawformayor.com) served nearly eight years on city council before resigning last fall for a job in Menominee. Law, a former journalist, is now an elementary school teacher.
We asked the candidates to submit their biographical information and to answer questions. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll share that information with you. At the conclusion, we'll publish all the questions and answers.
Readers can see the candidates side-to-side at 7 p.m., Oct. 22 at Liberty School, where the Saline Coalition for a Quality Community will host an election forum.
Today we present the candidates' biographical information as well as their answer to question one: Why do you want to be mayor?
Family: Parents Gary and Betsy Marl of Saline Township
Employment/Education: 2003 graduate of Saline High School, attended Washtenaw Community College; Worked as Legislative Assistant for the Michigan House of Representatives beginning in 2005.
Government Experience: Currently serving second two-year term on Saline City Council.
Involvement in Organizations: Vice President, Saline Area Schools Historic Preservation Foundation; Instructor, Weber-Blaess School; Member, Board of Directors for Evangelical Homes of Michigan; Member, Saline Area Senior Center Executive Board; Congregational President, St. Paul United Church of Christ in Saline; Chair, Oakwood Cemetery Task Force; Chair, Parish-Staff Relations Committee at St. Paul United Church of Christ; Secretary, Michigan Municipal League Region 1; Member, Recreation Center Task Force; Member, Saline Historic Downtown Alliance Organizational Team; Member, Planning Commission; Member, City Special Projects Commission; Mayor Pro-Tem (former); Chair, Saline Zoning Board of Appeals (former); Member, Local Development Finance Authority (former); Member, Tax Increment Finance Authority (former); Member, Economic Development Commission (former); Member, Cultural Arts Recreation Enrichment & Seniors Advisory Board (former); Member, Historic District Commission (former); Member, Fire Board (former); Graduate, Saline Leadership Institute.
Family: Wife, Lorrie and daughter Sarah
Employment/Education: Elementary education teacher/bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Eastern Michigan University.
Government Experience: served almost eight years on Saline City Council; Mayor Pro Tem in 2007;member of various boards and commissions including planning, parks and recreation and youth council
Involvement in Organizations: Michigan Education Association; Michigan Municipal League; National Association for the Education of Young Children;
Why do you want to be Mayor?
Saline is at a fork in the road; we are at a difficult point in our community’s history. Will Saline continue to be a desirable place to live in, or start a business in? How will the city adapt in the face of changing needs and resources? One of the main reasons that I decided to announce my intentions to run for mayor this fall is that I believe I have the vision to navigate these important questions, and the leadership capacity to work with residents and leaders toward the best solutions for our community.
I am 100 percent committed to the Saline community, and to focusing on the issues most important to residents. Throughout my time on City Council, I have done everything in my power to remain accessible and engaged; I know that I don’t have all the right answers, and I am not the only one with ideas. An integral part of public service is staying connected to the people you represent; leadership is not meaningful without honest and regular input.
Even before I announced my candidacy in March, I had a clear vision, and was ready to talk about the five key areas that I believe are most critical for Saline’s long-term success: support for public safety, openness and accessibility in government, economic development, responsible financial stewardship, and investment in infrastructure. On November 6, Saline is not just electing a mayor, but will be choosing a leader. My service on City Council, my leadership as Chief Financial Officer and Congregational President at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Saline, and my many years of participation and leadership in various community organizations, have prepared me for that role.
I want to bring consensus building and openness to city hall. I want citizens to be heard and share their view points. I do not come to the mayor's office with a set agenda but instead with an open mind to explore a range of ideas and plans to make Saline a better place to be.