When we saw that less than 1,900 voters participated in the Marquette City Commission Primary in August, we decided to take on a new project to increase civic engagement in Marquette.
In mid-September we launched a four-page candidate questionnaire for city commission candidates seeking answers to questions we’ve heard in the community — ranging from truck traffic to pedestrian access, from mining to power plants, and more.
“Protecting our environment and communities necessitates civic engagement. We hope results of this questionnaire help voters choose the candidate who best reflects their values,” says SWUP President Margaret Comfort.
We received diverse answers to our questions, but it was heartening to see that every candidate that responded agreed on these critical points —
- Every respondent supports job growth in industries that will decrease our dependence on extractive mining.
- Every respondent supports projects that will increase local employment opportunities that promote economic sustainability.
- Every respondent believes that new mining developments near waterways threaten fish populations and recreational fishing.
- Every respondent supports holding companies financially accountable for their environmental degradation.
“It is significant to see the overwhelming interest amongst candidates for city commission to decrease our dependence on extractive industries. All of the data shows that sulfide mining is a risky and hazardous business that threatens to leak sulfuric acid into our beloved Lake Superior. It’s critical that science prevail against well-funded corporate public relations campaigns,” said Kathleen Heideman, SWUP vice president.
“Candidates at all levels across the U.P. should know that their positions on mining will define their constituency. Many U.P. voters put economic stability and conservation at the top of their list. Supporting mining-as-usual will not win these votes, and will cost them dearly,” said local attorney and SWUP advisory board member Michelle Halley.
We made every effort in this questionnaire to capture the notes and additions from candidates, added here as footnotes.