Meet the three candidates for Muskegon Mayor

9:45 PM, Aug 2, 2013   |    comments
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MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- Voters will help narrow down the race for Muskegon Mayor next week. Two men and one woman are running for the seat in Tuesday's primary election.

But who are the candidates and what do they stand for? WZZM 13 is introducing voters to the three hopefuls. 

Incumbent Mayor Stephen Gawron is running on experience. He says, "I have the experience, the knowledge, and the relationships."

Gawron is being challenged by lifelong Muskegon resident, Jeanette Moore. She says, "I am one of those people who can make a difference."

The other challenger is Zawdie Abiade, a pastor and family therapist. "I feel Muskegon is the diamond in the rough," he says.

All three candidates see crime as an unavoidable challenge for the position.

"It is tearing our community apart and putting a division between us and we are so much better than that," says Moore.

"No amount of crime is ever acceptable. I think we do a better job than people realize at addressing those concerns," says Gawron.

"I see development and redevelopment as the main issue. We can stop crime but if we have a sloppy Sappi, that is not going to do anything," says Abiade. 

Each candidate reached a similar conclusion on the Farmers Market move.

"I believe the downtown needs to be the core and nucleus of the city," says Abiade.

"The newness and the uncertainty may have some a little off, but we are going to make sure it becomes a showpiece and a centerpiece of Muskegon and is successful for our farmers and vendors," says Gawron.

"I am glad they are moving the farmers market so everybody can get to it. It was congested-- I live down in the Jackson Hill neighborhood," says Moore.

On a topic that comes up every summer at Pere Marquette is drownings and the city's role in preventing them from happening.

Moore would use city funds. "Bring the lifeguards back, we need the flags."

Abiade says if necessary, beach patrols and police should close the waterfront in dangerous conditions. "We are doing this for your protection and we expect you to obey it."

Gawron is open to new ideas and even possible partnership with community groups to prevent drownings. But he puts more emphasis on a swimmer's role in staying safe. "People also have to take responsibility and realize what they are getting into. You can not go to the park without seeing a sign in English and Spanish that explains the dangers."

The two candidates with the most votes next week will compete again for the seat in the general election in November.

Besides voting on the race for Mayor on Tuesday, Muskegon city residents will select their top choices for city commission; 11 candidates are running for two open seats.

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