Grand Haven candidates to share the stage Tuesday

Candidates for Grand Haven City Council and mayor will answer questions before a public audience next week. A community forum hosted by the Grand Haven Area League of Women Voters will be held Tuesday, July 23, at the Grand Haven Community Center, 421 Columbus Ave. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with the three candidates for mayor: incumbent Geri McCaleb, and councilmen Josh Brugger and Bob Monetza, who are challenging the four-term mayor. At 8 p.m., the stage will include five candidates for two council seats: incumbent Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Fritz, and challengers Collin Beighley, Eric Brenberger, Jamie Cooper and Ryan Cummins. The mayor serves a two-year term, while council members serve four-year terms. There are no term limits for either position. Brugger opened his seat on council to enter the mayoral race. Should Brugger not win the mayor's seat, he will be off the council. If Monetza does not win the mayor's race, he will return to his seat on council for the rest of his term. If Monetza wins, his vacant seat will be filled by the council until the following election, when voters elect a new council member. Christine Baker of the local League of Women Voters will moderate the mayoral race forum, while Susan Robertson will moderate the council candidates forum. The format will entail introduction of candidates, questions on a rotating basis with numbers drawn prior to the event and screened audience questions. The deadline for write-in candidates is July 26. The primary election on Aug. 6 will narrow the mayoral race to two candidates, while the council race will be narrowed to four candidates for the two seats. The general election is Nov. 5. Mayoral candidates Geri McCaleb, 72, has served as mayor since 2011. She served eight years previously on the council. Bob Monetza, 65, has served on the council since 2009. He previously served on the city’s Planning Commission for nine years, including five as chairman. Josh Brugger, 41, is the council’s youngest member. He served on the Planning Commission for three years after a stint on the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals, and is opening up his seat after his first four-year term. Council candidates Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Fritz, 56, will vie to retain his seat on council, where he has served since 2003. He is the co-owner of Fritz Auto Body in Grand Haven. Ryan Cummins, 31, is a municipal event planner, and works part time as a marine and reserve deputy for Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. He serves on the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Eric Brenberger, 46, is a local plumber who has served as chairman of the city’s Planning Commission and as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals for a combination of nine years. Jamie Cooper, 37, is the owner of a Grand Haven-based marijuana industry consulting business. She has been a member of the city’s Musical Fountain Committee since 2016, as well as multiple marijuana industry and political action groups. Collin Beighley, 40, is a project manager for Tubelite Inc. in Walker, and has held membership positions with the Grand River Sailing Club since 2012.

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