Blue Water Healthy Living
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Algonac City Council candidates ready for Nov. 8

Photo courtesy of Rocky Gillis Algonac City Council candidate and incumbent Rocky Gillis.

Three responded to questions posed by BWHL

By Barb Pert Templeton

Three council seats are up for reelection in Algonac including that of Mayor Terry L. Stoneburner and councilmen Rocky Gillis and Jake Skarbek. 

Stoneburner and Gillis filled to petitions for reelection but Skarbek chose not to run again. 

In addition to Stoneburner and Gillis the candidate list for the Nov. 8 general election includes Ed Carter, Dawn Davey, Bernard Ferris and Christina Halkias-Robb.

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Algonac City Council members are elected to four-year terms on a rotating basis in even numbered years. Each new council’s first meeting is an organizational one where they elect the mayor, mayor pro tem, adopt their organizational rules and the ethics policies for the term.

The Algonac City Council meets on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 7 p.m.

Blue Water Healthy Living sent out questionnaires to all six candidates on Oct. 17 with a deadline to return them by Oct. 28. 

Three candidates returned emails with responses to questions posed by BWHL. Candidates Ed Carter, Bernie Ferris and Christina Halkias-Robb did not respond.

Replies from Rocky Gillis, Dawn Davey and Terry Stoneburner follow here. Some responses were edited for space. 

Bio information for ROCKY GILLIS (I): A 43-year-old Algonac High School graduate, Gillis is married and has a 7-year-old son. He was employed many years as an electrician and then worked as a manager at Lowes, specializing in customer service and is currently a project manager for a local IT company.  Gillis is a past chairman of the Algonac Planning Commission and served as a member of the Algonac Building Commission. Currently an Algonac City Council member, he previously served as Mayor Pro Tem for two years.  He is an active member of Algonac Alive, Algonac Clay Historical Society, Chairman of the Algonac Clay Community fund, President of Henrys Club and serves on the board of the Pearl Beach Lions. 

Photo courtesy of Dawn Davey
Algonac City Council candidate Dawn Davey.

Blue Water Healthy Living:  Why are you seeking a return to your seat on the Algonac City Council?

Gillis: When I was elected to council in 2018 the city had just recalled the mayor and the city and council were in turmoil. I worked hard to be a team member and appreciate our diversity. We have been able to put personal differences aside and work together to make Algonac a great place to live, work and play. I have enjoyed being a member of the council for the last four years, and I think we can do so much more together as a team. 

Blue Water Healthy Living:  What projects or developments are you hoping to help make happen in the city over the next two years?

Gillis: The project I am most excited about is the reconstruction of our community swimming pool. As a child growing up in Algonac that pool was the center of our summers. It offers every family in this community an affordable opportunity to enjoy time with their family. I am also excited about the possibility of fixing the Riverfront Park boardwalk. The boardwalk has been in disrepair for over 20 years, and we as city council are currently seeking grant funding to fix it. Of course, fixing our infrastructure is and will remain in the future a top priority.

Blue Water Healthy Living: What do you feel you can bring to the council table heading into 2023?

Gillis: I am an honest person and representative of all the people, not a champion of a special interest group or narrow perspective. I love listening to different opinions so I can make an educated decision. I am committed to dedicating the time and energy that is needed to do a good job for the people of Algonac.

Bio information for Dawn Davey: A 60-year-old longtime resident of Algonac, Davey is married and has one daughter, two stepsons, a stepdaughter who passed away in 2019, and two grandsons. She and her spouse, Ron, are in their “second round” of parenting, raising a 13-year-old grandson since he was a baby and last year, after 10+ years of living independently, she made the decision to move her 37-year-old developmentally impaired daughter back home as the pandemic hit her daughter and her daughter’s peer group especially hard. She is on the Board of Directors for The Arc of SCC and has credits in Pre-Social Work through Macomb Community College/Wayne State University and completed the MEDC Redevelopment Ready Communities Training Program in August, 2022.

Photo courtesy of Terry Stoneburner
Current Algonac City Mayor Terry Stoneburner who’s once again running for a seat on the city council.

Blue Water Healthy Living:  Why are you seeking a return to your seat on the Algonac City Council?

Davey: My message has been consistent from the first time I spoke during a council meeting in September of 2016. 1. We need to work on bringing year-long, sustainable business revenue into the city. 2. We need to encourage proactive, constructive dialogue between residents, city council and administration. For me, running for Algonac City Council is equivalent to “putting my money where my mouth is” 

Blue Water Healthy Living:  What projects or developments are you hoping to help make happen in the city over the next two years?

Davey: The first thing I would like to see is to have Algonac, Clay Twp. and Algonac Community Schools work together in bringing back the Downriver Recreation Commission. 

I also believe that the City of Algonac can benefit in working with state agencies like the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. I want to bring in representatives from the MEDC’s Redevelopment Ready Communities program to give us a fresh set of eyes on ways to keep the city moving forward.

Blue Water Healthy Living: What do you feel you can bring to the council table heading into 2023?

Davey: I believe that what keeps a city strong is its residents. I feel that, along with fellow council candidate Christina Halkias-Robb, we can help our residents and city officials work together. I organized a Town Hall meeting in March of 2016 to bring residents and officials together to begin a dialogue on how to move the city forward, to talk “with” each other instead of “at” each other. Together we will work with fellow council members in finding ways to help residents have a proactive, constructive voice at city hall. 

Bio information for Terry Isaacs Stoneburner(I): Stoneburner is 70-years-old, married with three adult children and four grandchildren. She graduated from Algonac High School and then earned degrees from Western Michigan University, the University of Michigan and Marygrove College. Stoneburner taught in Algonac, Port Huron Schools and Baker College and was also an assistant principal, principal, and Director of Curriculum in the Port Huron School District.

She’s a member of Algonac Alive and a lifetime member of the Algonac Clay Historical Society. She is also a member of three Therapy Dog association, Stoneburner and her spouse have two golden retrievers and visit local schools, senior facilities, first responders, medical centers, and libraries to provide affection, comfort and support to people, including those in distress. Stoneburner is a five-year member of the Algonac City Council, serving the last four years as mayor.

Blue Water Healthy Living:  Why are you seeking to return to your seat on the Algonac City Council? Do you hope to serve as Mayor once again?

Stoneburner:  I am seeking to return to City Council because I know that local elections have important consequences in our daily lives. Mayors, city council members and school board members make important decisions about the taxes we pay, what can be done to improve our community, public safety, education quality and how our tax dollars will be spent.  As a result, we should make sure that our elected officials represent the things that we care about.

I believe that city council members should be true civic leaders that are invested in the community whether a candidate is a long-term resident or a newcomer. They should be active members of local organizations, attend community events, volunteer at local fundraisers, and send their kids to the local schools. I would be honored to serve as mayor again. 

Blue Water Healthy Living: What projects or developments are you hoping to help make happen in the city over the next two years?

Stoneburner: Replacing and repairing our aging infrastructure is and will remain a priority in the next two years and for years to come, but I think one of the most important projects facing Algonac is the replacement of the community swimming pool. We will continue to seek grant funding to cover the cost of the pool construction. Another important project is the replacement of the Riverfront Park boardwalk. Our current council is looking to approve preliminary engineering for the park as we speak and is actively seeking grants to fund this project.

In addition, I wish to explore the opportunity to work with surrounding communities to re-implement a recreation program that will serve all members of our community. 

Blue Water Healthy Living: What do you feel you can bring to the council table heading into 2023?

Stoneburner: Five years ago, this city and council were in turmoil. Council members did not get along, the previous mayor was being recalled. As the new mayor, I worked hard to create a team and an environment of cooperation. Our current council is now cordial, professional and can agree to disagree. We have accomplished so much, but there is more we can do. I want to continue to be a part of a team that moves Algonac forward. 

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