Jennifer Lenneman, Bruce Kring, and Dustin Twichell are three of the four new city council members in Potterville, elected via write in Tuesday, Nov. 7. Aside from the oddity of being voted via write in ballot, the three candidates also ran for council as a team. With similar concerns, beliefs, and devotion to Potterville the three came together to run for council in the hopes of creating real change in their community.
Lenneman is a single mom who works for the Benton Township Fire Department. She’s lived in Potterville for 11 years and started following Potterville government in the last few years. Kring is a lifelong resident of Potterville who’s followed Potterville government closely. Twichell is a local business owner, father and husband who has also followed Potterville government closely for the last several years. From following and participating in their local government for the last few years, the three Potterville residents are deeply concerned with how the city has been run.
Among their many concerns are poor communication coming from city hall, “frivolous lawsuits,” an apparent lack of autonomy among department heads within the city, and questionable ethical practices. Their list of grievances is extensive. From their perspective, all of these concerns have caused distrust, disunity, disengagement, and discouragement in the community.
“One of our biggest things is to regain trust from the community. There is so much negativity,” said Lenneman.
“The image of this city is so horrible they (residents) have tuned out anything coming out of city hall,” said Twichell.
All three of the candidates expressed their sincere concern with public perception of Potterville and its leadership.
“Bruce and I were pretty involved with council, and we couldn’t get any traction with the existing council,” said Twichell. “We want to fix the image of the city. We want to change the way the city is viewed in the eyes of the city and other communities.”
Two of the four city council members whose terms ended in 2017 did not run again. The other two, Rodney Ross and Joe French, did not put their names on the ballot, instead choosing to seek appointment as write-ins. When Twichell discovered they would seek appointment by write in, he, Kring, and Lenneman jumped on their opportunity to do the same.
“We’re concerned with what the people who actually live here really want,” said Kring. “My biggest thing is direct communication with the citizens. It’s been forgotten that the council works for the citizen.”
Grievances aside, the three new candidates are entering their positions with optimism. They are looking forward to working with the other council members and the city manager to create a healthier environment and better solutions citizens and city employees.
“The existing and previous city councils, and the manager, have done a lot for this city,” said Twichell.
On their Facebook page, Council4Potterville, the new council members expressed their sincere gratitude to the community for taking time to write them in Tuesday. They hope to bring their concerns and grievances with them to the council chamber and turn them into strengths and opportunities.
“We have goals and vision for the community,” said Lenneman.