ALPENA - Mike Nowak and Susan Nielsen were elected to serve on Alpena Municipal Council after downing three other candidates who ran for the pair of seats in Tuesday's special election.
Nielsen has been a fill-in on the council after being appointed by council members to fill one of the vacant seats after the recall of Mike Nunneley and Dave Karschnick in November. She said now that the two seats are filled by representatives the voters chose, it is time to put the recall in the city's rearview mirror.
"We're here because of circumstances, but I think we can move beyond those circumstances," Nielsen said. "There have been times I have wondered if this is really what I should be doing and am I the kind of person who can do a great job for Alpena. And then in the last three months after I was appointed I found out how much I love it and how much I want to do a good job for Alpena."
Nowak said he campaigned hard and as the election drew near he figured he had a chance from what he was hearing from people in the community. He said now that the election is done, it is time to do what the voters elected him for - get things done.
"I can't believe it and I'm sort of in a state of shock," Nowak said. "When we started this we were going for strong name recognition, but things kept getting stronger and I realized in the last few weeks I had a chance. I want to send a big thank you to the votes and the people who supported the campaign and I'm excited and ready to get to work."
Nielsen led all of the candidates with 1,317 votes, while Nowak collected 977. Former Councilman Mike Polluch had 871, Phil Wiser had 607 and Steve Gilmore had 165. Cam Augustyn, who pulled out of the race, but who's name remained on the ballot, because he didn't state his desire until after the deadline, received 63 votes.
Polluch said he was disappointed, but was happy for the winners. He said he is going to try for a council seat in November's general election, when the seat currently occupied by Sam Eiler will become vacant and Shawn Sexton is up for re-election.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.