Lansing mayoral candidate profile: Patricia Spitzley

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:49 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Born and raised in Lansing, Patricia Spitzley has had several different roles in the community.

“I’m called Patty by my folks I’ve known since grade school. I’m known by Pat from folks I’ve worked in state government with. I’m known as Patricia...,” she said.

Now she wants to be known as “mayor.” Spitzley has been a Lansing City Council member since 2016. She also works as director of government affairs for an environmental trust.

As mayor, she says she would bring more transparency to the office.

“Right now we have a lack of light in city government... When you don’t have transparency in city government, then folks are left to make their own decisions and own opinions about what’s going on,” said Spitzley.

Spitzley highlights some financial inconsistencies as part of that plus the city’s relationship with its employees.

“We have audits that consistently come back - audits for the past seven years - that show material deficiencies in how we do bank reconciliations and how we address pension and our other pension responsibilities to our retirees. We have social unrest. We have city employees who don’t feel valued. We have city employees who have filed racial discrimination lawsuits,” she said.

She’s also concerned about a rise in gun violence. Spitzley supports partnering with community organizations to prevent crime rather than react to it.

“I would fund the program we’re working with Ingham County on, the Advance Peace program. We have COVID dollars and the gun violence is a public health emergency,” Spitzley said.

She says that also has an impact on the city’s economic development.

“If someone wants to come in and invest in Lansing, they’ll google the City of Lansing and what comes up is increased crime. What comes up is the discrimination lawsuits. What comes up is turmoil in our city government, and you’re not going to have people want to invest in a community that has that kind of turmoil. So we need to change that narrative but we can’t do it in city hall alone. It has to be a community effort. We have to do this together,” she said.

Spitzley faces five others on her run for mayor, Andy Schor, Kathie Dunbar, Melissa Huber, Larry James Hutchinson Jr., and Farhan Sheikh-Omar.

In Lansing, you can cast your ballot before election day at one of the city’s 24-hour absentee ballot drop boxes. To find out more about how you can vote, click here.

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