GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Tuesday, Grand Rapids voters will cast ballots for who they want to become the new 3rd Ward Commissioner.
WZZM 13 is helping voters learn more about the candidates so they can make informed decisions about the race and how the candidates stand on certain issues.
The third ward commissioner represents citizens who live in the area that extends from Wealthy to the north, 44th Street to the south and goes east to East Paris.
The candidates vying for the seat are: former Grand Rapids Public School Board president, Senita Lenear; longtime community activist, Michael Tuffelmire and new to the political scene, independent candidate, Annette Ries.
Reducing crime and improving infrastructure are among the top issues the winner of the seat will have to address.
"We have B&Es in places such as Alger Heights and Ridgemoor. We have murders in places like South Hill and Baxter Community. Those all take unique approaches to them. So we need to make sure we are increasing neighborhood safety and community safety not only to make our city look but for our kids' lives," said Tuffelmire.
Lenear said, "one of the ways that I would like to address this issue is to engage the community. I think very strong solid neighborhoods can welcome what they want and get rid of what they don't want. The people need a voice and a collective voice. In some neighborhoods where there is violence I think people need to rise up, take ownership and make sure they combat this issue."
Ries expressed her primary concern is with the condition of city roads and other infrastructure. "Our infrastructure is failing here in Grand Rapids. We seem not to be able to keep up with that. Whether with funding or quality work . We need to make sure our infrastructure is maintained so businesses will want to come to Grand Rapids," she said.
"If any of the three candidates gets more than 50% of the vote, that person wins election. Otherwise, the top two will advance to the general election in November. The polls are open from 7 a.m. Through 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Operation Resources INC is hosting a meet and greet with the candidates Monday evening. this event for the three Third Ward Commissioner Candidates of Grand Rapids. It will be held Monday, August 5th at 6 p.m. at 1024 Franklin St. SE in Grand Rapids.