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FIRST & 42 Forum: Meet Patricia Randall

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To help our community members make informed choices in the upcoming November 2, 2021, election, we asked candidates running for local seats to participate in our Candidate Forum to help you get to know them better. Today, meet Patricia Randall.

A desire to improve customer service and increase accountability within all levels of government are what led current Mayor of Portage Patricia Randall to her role. Throughout her 12 years on the Portage City Council, eight as a Council Person and four as Mayor, Patricia has witnessed a growing number of challenges. “Changing demographics and shifting trends on how we purchase goods and services are forcing communities to change. Our Westnedge corridor and the Crossroads Mall have been greatly impacted. COVID accelerated this, but we knew it was coming. Creative zoning and a willingness to work with developers is a first step,” said Patricia. If elected to continue in her role as mayor, she pledges to continue to find ways to support businesses, big and small, and to work honestly on behalf of her community. Giving an example of her past efforts on this front, she offered, “One thing public service has taught me is that there are multiple sides to every situation, The City was slated to use eminent domain on a property where we are building our new senior center. I personally called the homeowner and within twenty minutes had a deal satisfactory to both the City and his family. I consider him a friend today.”

NAME
Patricia M. Randall

POSITION SEEKING
Mayor of Portage

DISTRICT POSITION REPRESENTS
City of Portage

EMAIL
Rprandall@sbcglobal.net

WHAT ARE THE TOP ISSUES/CONCERNS THAT MOTIVATE YOU?
My top concerns which led me to public service were the desire to improve customer service and increase accountability within all levels of government.

SHARE YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES OR SKILL SETS THAT MAKE YOU A GREAT FIT FOR THIS ROLE.
I have served 12 years on the Portage City Council, eight as a Council Person and four as Mayor. During this time, I have gained a great deal of experience and achieved the confidence of the Council. Strong leadership is a high priority for me.

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THE KALAMAZOO REGION IS THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK? 
The Kalamazoo region has many great attributes which makes it a desirable place to live: high paying jobs, affordable housing, strong K-12 schools, opportunities for higher education, an airport, and many parks, lakes, and open spaces. The high quality of life which all these things contribute to makes the region special.

WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING OUR COMMUNITY?
Changing demographics and shifting trends on how we purchase goods and services are forcing communities to change. Our Westnedge corridor and the Crossroads Mall have been greatly impacted. COVID accelerated this, but we knew it was coming. Creative zoning and a willingness to work with developers is a first step.

HOW DO YOU PLAN TO SUPPORT THE GROWTH OF THE ECONOMY IF ELECTED?
Working well with staff and advocating for our area developers is something I advocate for. Seeking a win-win-win for the City, developers, and taxpayers is what we should always be working toward. Vacancies throughout our community are not benefiting anyone.

HOW WILL YOUR ELECTION IMPACT THE REGION’S WORKFORCE AND COMPANIES WHO CALL SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN HOME?
Finding ways to support businesses, big and small, positively affects the workers and taxpayers of our community. My past record supports this.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE MEASURES AT THE LOCAL LEVEL?
One of my highlights this year was appointing Victor Ledbetter to our Council. His perspective and insights, both as an African American man and a police officer, have improved many areas within our City. We have also hired a new diversity officer, and we are dedicating the Martin Luther King Park this fall on MLK Drive. I am committed to raising the bar on all these issues.

OFFER AN EXAMPLE OF WHEN YOU PERSONALLY USED HONESTY AND INTEGRITY TO SOLVE A VITAL ISSUE.
One thing public service has taught me is that there are multiple sides to every situation. The City was slated to use eminent domain on a property where we are building our new senior center. I personally called the homeowner and within twenty minutes had a deal satisfactory to both the City and his family. I consider him a friend today.

HOW CAN ELECTED OFFICIALS CREATE A PLACE WHERE WORKING TOGETHER TOWARDS MEANINGFUL PROGRESS IS THE PRIORITY? 
Portage City Council is a nonpartisan council. We are able to build consensus easier and accomplish much more because we do not let political views get in the way of serving the citizens for whom we were elected to serve.

IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU PLAN TO CONNECT WITH CONSTITUENTS TO RECEIVE THEIR INPUT?
My phone number and email are available on our city website and monthly in “The Portager.” Whenever I am out in public, citizens stop and find me very approachable. I attend many public events and enjoy citizen interaction.

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