ROGERS CITY - Three candidates are vying for two city council seats in Rogers City, each with different backgrounds in the private sector.
Ken Bielas, A.J. Przybyla III, and Bill Stypick will be on the November ballot, and have their own ideas of what they'd like to accomplish if elected. Przybyla wants more transparency in city government, Bielas wants to help find solutions to the city's problems and Stypick thinks the current city council isn't responsive enough to the voters.
Bielas said he served in the military during the Vietnam War. He worked as a Presque Isle County sheriff's deputy and, later, as a Rogers City Police Officer from 1975 to 2011, when he retired from the city police department. He still works part-time as needed. He's 63, has two sons and has been married for 43 years.
Przybyla is the youngest of the three at 29. He works for Huron National Bank and graduated from Northwood University with a degree in automotive marketing and business management, he said. He's a lifelong resident of Rogers City and has been married to his wife, Megan, for just over two years.
Stypick is a retired chief petty officer with the United States Coast Guard. He's 52 and has been living in Rogers City for eight years, and his wife owns and operates Brietze Funeral Home. They have two children, one in college and another in grade school.
Stypick said he's running because he's disgusted with the rising cost of living in the city, from taxes to the water and sewer bills. City taxpayers have had enough, especially considering the state of the nation's economy.
"I haven't seen one council person champion the cause for taxpayers," he said. "Not only in this community, but in a lot of communities. The taxpayer needs a break."
If elected, Stypick would go through the budget item by item to see where the city can save money, he said. He would push to pass the savings on to residents and business owners.
Przybyla said he wants to contribute to the city's economic vitality through responsible spending and creating transparency. He's running because he believes he has the "motivation, ambition and drive" to help run the city.
"In the uncertain economic times the country, state and community are faced with, I feel like we as a city need to work together and look out for each other by making informed, calculated and appropriate decisions for the future of Rogers City and its citizens," he said in an email.
Bielas said he believes his background in law enforcement has made him a good problem solver. He wants to put those skills to use for the city, and is especially concerned about maintaining the city's staffing levels.
"I know in the past people have retired, like myself, and we don't replace them," he said. "I don't want to see any more people get axed, or whatever you want to call it."
Bielas considers himself a good listener and a fair person, he said, adding that some of those he encountered on the wrong side of the law would agree with the latter.
None of the candidates have held an elected position before, although Stypick said he ran in the last city council elections.