East Lansing candidate Woods advocates for the arts

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Incumbent Susan Woods.

Photo courtesy of Louis Villafranca.

“What I like the best is learning so much about the city, working with the staff and my colleagues on the city council, making important decisions that impact our whole community and also moving the community forward.” Photo courtesy of Louis Villafranca.

Nov. 6-10 is a busy week for Susan Woods. She is running for re-election to the East Lansing City Council that Tuesday and is director of the city’s film festival Friday and Saturday.

Other City Council candidates are incumbent Ruth Beier and MSU political science student Aaron Stephens. She said her goal for next term is to keep the city moving forward and being fiscally responsible.

“I want to promote the arts as well as to see these developments come through, to see the city thrive to get the income tax in so that we can improve our infrastructure and pay for our unfunded pension liabilities,” said Woods.

She said the council is working very hard right now to get developments completed, like the demolition of the building at Abbott Road and Grand River as well as the Harbor Bay development, which Woods says had some snags, but it is now in negotiation.

Woods said compared to the other four council members, she pushes for more arts in the area. She has been the director for the East Lansing Film Festival since 1998 when she partnered with East Lansing to to create the festival. She has lived in the city for 27 years and has been a councilmember for the past four. Through her involvement in the community, Woods says she has developed invaluable relationships that Stephens, does not have.

Stephen’s “got his whole life in front of him and he has that political bug … but he’s still a student and he’s only lived here for three years, whereas we’ve all lived here for decades,” said Woods. “Having children that have gone through the school system and having a sense of community, I mean [Stephens] may have community with students, but does he have a sense of community with neighbors?”

Mayor Mark Meadows says that the voters will likely reward Woods’ this election because of all of her involvement in the community.

Incumbent Beier says that Woods’ interest in the arts sets her apart.
“Susan is much more interested in areas that I don’t know anything about, like the arts,” said Beier. “She was a part of the 1 percent for the art ordinance that was passed early on in our first term. She understands what works, what’s good for cities and how it moves cities forward.”

Being in East Lansing, Woods says she couldn’t be happier. She has created her two dream jobs as director of the film festival and a member of city council. After moving here from Austria 27 years ago, Woods has come to love the community.

“It’s just a very solid, creative sense of community that you really can’t find in larger cities,” said Woods. “The kids are playing in the neighborhood, I know all my neighbors because we have block parties, my kids have had a normal childhood, so that’s what I love.”

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