WYANDOTTE – Twelve candidates are vying for six available spots on the new City Council.
The election is Tuesday in conjunction with the Wyandotte Public Schools Board of Education race. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Among them are incumbents Sheri Sutherby Fricke and Todd Browning, as well as former mayors Leonard Sabuda and Lawrence Stec and current Mayor James DeSana.
Other challengers include Patrick Bostek, James Candela, Theodore Copley, Daniel Galeski, Ted Miciura, former Councilman Martin Shimkus and Don Shultz.
Browning has served on the council for eight years, is married to Wyandotte Public Schools Board of Education Trustee Dana Browning and has a daughter at Washington Elementary School. He is a graduate of Tennessee Military Academy and has received degrees from Eastern Michigan and Wayne State universities.
After teaching at Roosevelt High School he left to teach at Henry Ford Community College, and he believed he needed to become more involved in the community. That led him to run for the council.
“I have no regrets,” Browning said. “I hope I can run for another four years with the support of the community.
“I would like to use my experiences that I have gained over the last eight years to hopefully make good decisions to move the city of Wyandotte forward.”
He believes addressing property values is going to be important in this next term because of the declining economy.
Candela and his wife are 66-year residents of the city and have five children who all have graduated from Roosevelt. He has served on the school board and made the decision to run for council about two years ago.
“I have a long-abiding interest in city government and education,” he said. “I am very interested in changing the culture of government in this town.
“I want the government to stop living out of its memory and start using its imagination.”
Copley graduated from Taylor Kennedy High School in 1993, is a Detroit firefighter, owns a promotional company and moved to Wyandotte in 2001.
“I absolutely fell in love with the city,” he said. “I left for about a year or so and came right back as soon as possible.”
He added that he always wanted to get involved in politics and the community, especially since he is a public servant already.
“I enjoy working with the community,” he said. “I enjoy working with everybody.
“I want to help to make sure that Wyandotte stays like it is. Some improvements, but this is a beautiful city.”
DeSana is a lifelong resident with five children and 21 grandchildren. He opted to run for council instead of another term as mayor in order to spend more time with his grandchildren.
“I want to be a helper,” he said. “It is a family issue with me.”
He believes his years of experience as an elected official, councilman and mayor would aid the upcoming council.
“I have many good friends at levels of government,” he said. “I have man contacts that I use. To not use that to help the citizens would be wrong.
“This city has been very good to me over my political career. I just want to help serve them.”
Fricke has served four years as a councilwoman. She has a background in real estate, has three children, two grandchildren and has lived in the city most of her life.
“The last four years have been quite a struggle, but actually very rewarding in many ways,” she said.
Fricke added that there will be challenges in the next term, but believes the city will have great successes, too.
“My largest accomplishments are in neighborhoods, small businesses and the budget,” she said. “It has been an honor to work with the city employees.
“I am a strong leader, and I’m confident in the issues facing Wyandotte. I have experience over the last four years, and we’ve accomplished a lot.”
Sabuda has lived in the city for about 48 years with his wife and has two sons.
“I’ve been here a long time and I feel like I was born here,” he said.
He served as a councilman in the 1970s, has served as the administrative assistant to the mayor and as mayor from 2001 to 2003.
“I have something to offer,” he said. “I have a lot of experience, a lot of history and I have a lot of knowledge of what is taking place.
“I’ve been around a long time.”
Shultz is a lifelong resident of Wyandotte is married and has a daughter at Central Michigan University.
He is the service director at Southgate Lincoln Mercury and also serves on the Cultural and Historical Commission, as well as the Planning Commission.
“I want to make a difference,” he said. “I’ve done some things on the two commissions and I want to bring those forward.”
He believes keeping the neighborhoods strong is very important and wants to see the city stay on track with code enforcements.
“I think I can help with all the processes,” he said. “I deal with people on a daily basis, and the ultimate goal is to make them happy.”
Stec is a lifelong resident of Wyandotte and has served as a councilman and mayor. He is married with three children.
“I see challenges coming up this year,” he said. “I think I bring some past experience and abilities that can help us get through these tough times.”
He added that he hopes he can help the city and believes he can because he has been around for “a long time.”
“I love Wyandotte,” he said. “I want it here for my children. A lot of fond memories are in this town, and I think there are even some better ones down the road.”
Bostek, Galeski, Miciura and Shimkus did not return telephone calls seeking comments for this story by press time.