Four run for three spots on Plainwell city council
The City of Plainwell has three non-partisan, four-year terms available. Incumbents Richard Brooks, Brad Keeler and Roger D. Keeney are joined on the ballot by challenger Stephen Bennett.
Each was given a limited space to describe their background and their goals for office.
Bennett has been mostly a Plainwell-area resident, working in retail. He is currently a food clerk at the Plainwell/Otsego Meijer. A 1971 graduate of Plainwell High School, he earned an associate degree from Davenport University. He and wife Irene have three grown children.
“Plainwell is a unique and historic city worthy of serving and protecting—with an emphasis on nurturing a feeling of community. I am willing and able to make the effort needed to move Plainwell forward.
“I also believe in term limits. My opponents are incumbents. Sometimes change is beneficial to a community.
“I am also a low-income tenant. Tenants are underserved on the council.
“Like other parts of the country, we have a housing challenge here.
“As we continue the historic preservation, adaptive reuse and mixed used redevelopment of the 36-acre Plainwell Paper site, there should be a focus on affordable and safe housing in the future including for the elderly.”
Brooks has lived in the district 52 years. He and his wife Theresa have two sons, Chris and Pete, and five active grandchildren.
“I would hope that people would vote for me because, after being on council for 25 years—the last 19 as mayor—they would have confidence in my performance and decisions.
“I am elated to have been a part of all decisions that have been made, from signing the checks to purchasing the Plainwell Paper Mill property. That ensured we as a city would control our destiny.
“We as a council have been proactive on the water issues—PFAS and dioxins—well before we were contacted by DEQ.
“Although Plainwell has struggled somewhat in these economic times, we have never raised taxes and still provide the services that Plainwell residents expect.
“Our budget is healthy in respect to the economic challenges the city faces and our ability to meet those challenges.”
Keeler has lived in Plainwell since 1979 and before that lived in Cooper Township. He has four children and is married to Chris. He is a self-employed crane operator and a farmer. He is a 1975 graduate of Plainwell High School.
“I’m more concerned in the city’s day-to-day operations, like the operations of the DPW, public safety, the city’s administration. I try to stay involved to make sure things run smoothly and efficiency.
“As far as city staff and our current city council members, it’s the best leadership right now we’ve ever had. We have the best city administrator we’ve ever had.
“My No. 1 concern is the budget and how everybody’s tax dollars are spent. We’ve lost so much revenue, it’s just important to make good use of what we do have.”
Keeney is a lifelong member of the area and a 16-year resident of the city. He has three grown children and five grandchildren. He is a master electrician and is retired from being an electrical foreman for Otsego Paper Company. He is a Plainwell High School graduate and attended the University of Michigan.
“I think residents of Plainwell should vote for me because I am an honest person who cares for the City of Plainwell and want it to succeed.
“I am very pleased with the job the leadership of Plainwell has done to make Plainwell the best town in my opinion in which to reside and for their care for the well being of the city. Our city manager, Erik Wilson, and our treasurer, Brian Kelley, have done a good job of managing our city budget.
“In conclusion, I have the best interest of the City of Plainwell in my job as city council member and would like to be re-elected. Thank you.”