CADILLAC — Bryan Elenbaas didn’t feel heard by city council, he says. So he ran against an incumbent.
Tuesday night, it appeared he had won.
Unofficial results had him ahead of incumbent Shari Spoelman 541 to 424.
“I’m kind of stunned right now,‘ he told the Cadillac News in a phone call Tuesday night around 9 p.m. “I took all three (precincts). I didn’t plan on that.‘
Spoelman is the incumbent in Ward One, who also serves as mayor pro-tem.
“I’ve enjoyed serving the citizens of Cadillac for 12 years. I’m still passionate about this community and will continue to be engaged with things that I feel are important,‘ Spoelman wrote in a text message to the Cadillac News Tuesday evening. “Congratulations to Bryan. I wish him the best. He has an excellent council and staff to work with.‘
Elenbaas is a former city employee who was foreman of the Maple Hill Cemetery for 13 years. He decided to run for city council after noticing what he describes as a “steady decline‘ at the cemetery.
“It was a lack of response to the complaints from the mayor and the council. You would complain and they look at you and you would be ignored,‘ Elenbaas said. “You can’t do that.‘
Asked what his plan was moving forward with his fellow city council members after feeling ignored in the past, Elenbaas said he isn’t shy.
“I’ll be heard that’s, that’s a fact. I’m not a quiet person,‘ Elenbaas said. He cited communication as a necessary element to his future relationship with fellow council members.
“I represent the taxpayers ... I will be their voice. That’s the way I look at it,‘ he said.
Mayor Carla Filkins, who was re-elected Tuesday night after running unopposed, said the results highlight the importance of voting.
“It is so incredibly important that when we have an opportunity to voice a choice for community leadership we use it. The voters have voted for a change in Ward 1 for the Cadillac City Council,‘ Filkins wrote in a text message to the Cadillac News. “We will continue the work of representing o
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve alongside Shari Spoelman. Congratulations to Bryan Elenbaas and his willingness to serve.‘
In Ward 3, Robert Engels was re-elected, defeating challenger Randy Lindell by 100 votes, 528 to 428.
Engels did not immediately return a request for comment Tuesday night.
Lindell had not yet heard the results when the Cadillac News called.
“Ahh, close, but no cigar,‘ he said when the reporter read the results to him. He had a statement prepared.
“In this election, I gained more respect for the citizens of Cadillac and felt a sense of accomplishment for myself seeking the office of city council,‘ said Lindell, who, like Elenbaas, is a former city employee. He urged city leaders to put citizens first.
Filkins received 781 votes to continue as mayor of Cadillac for another two years. There were a few dozen write-in votes.
“I continue to be incredibly honored to serve as the Mayor of Cadillac with my fellow council members, and look forward to continued positive progress in this city I love and call home,‘ Filkins said.