Watershed Voice sent out questionnaires to the three candidates running for Mayor of Three Rivers. In the days leading up to Election Day (Tuesday, August 8), Watershed will publish the answers it has received. Vernis Mims Jr. filled out our questionnaire, these are his answers.
Editor’s note: The formatting and content of this questionnaire are presented as they were submitted. Vernis Mims Jr. and fellow challenger Natelege Zaritz are running against incumbent Tom Lowry in the race for mayor in the City of Three Rivers.
Name: Vernis Mims, Jr.
Age: (Did not answer)
Party affiliation: N/A
Are you an incumbent? No.
Family: (Did not answer)
Have you previously held public office, or have you served in a public leadership role? If so, what is your experience, and what are some of your accomplishments?
I am new to city politics; However, I currently serve on Three Rivers Housing Development Corporation, in addition to serving my community as a notary public of the State of Michigan for over a Decade.
How long have you lived in the area you are seeking to represent?
I have lived in and called Three Rivers home for the last fifteen years.
In your opinion, what are the three most important issues to the area you are seeking to represent and its constituents, and why?
In my opinion, the three most important issues in our community are as follows:
- Clean water: As a basic need, it is imperative to have clean an affordable water to survive. I’ve witnessed the many Facebook posts/pictures our citizens have shared, and I see that some have water so discolored they cannot drink, cook with, or bathe in.
- Growth and retention: According to census information from 2010 and 2020, Three Rivers population only grew by roughly, 160 citizens. Many of these citizens are younger in age, so retaining and building upon the foundation we currently have established will be a vital part in the amount of money that is allocated to us by the State of Michigan.
- Lack of centralized space: I have come to learn that our town has so many recreational opportunities for citizens of all ages, yet these opportunities are sometimes overlooked or missed in part of not having a dedicated space to fulfill their objectives, and the lack of exposure. Being able to create a centralized space not only brings awareness, but it also helps attract our friends from neighboring communities and enhances on our local fellowship.
What measures will you pursue to address those issues?
- From what has been shared at city council meetings, the City already has an outline of how to fix our current water issues. Their outline however predicts that it will take nearly twenty years to completely fix this issue. I am looking forward to collaborating with different city departments, as well as neighboring cities, and cities who have had similar issues in the past to modify or come up with a new plan that drastically reduces the timeline of completing this project while being cost efficient.
- Three Rivers has so much potential, I plan on helping both educate, and find funding through grants and other avenues to help establish and grow business. Specifically, businesses that help boost our economy by providing jobs in child entertainment, as I know the current lack of things for our children to do around town is a big concern for many citizens. The move for these types of businesses not only helps build our population now, but also children are the future and by focusing on them while they are young, hopefully, when the time comes, they find reason to plant roots and grow their own family here in Three Rivers as well.
- Through grants and donations, I am eager to create a safe, recreational space for all to enjoy. This space would allow room for youth sports, such as Cheerleading and Karate classes that are currently being taught out of school gyms, rooms for teens and young adults to learn basic trade skills, the unemployed and newly relocated to acquire help/skills to get them back on their feet, as well as socialization rooms for all.
Why did you choose to run for the position that you did?
I chose to run for Mayor of Three Rivers for two reasons, the first being I see a disconnect between our people and the city and I want to be the connection that bridges the gap. The second, Three Rivers is a big city with a little town feel and I want to help build it into a place more people not only visit but call home.
What would you say is your leadership style, and how will you utilize its strengths in your position?
I utilize my strengths best by implementing a visionary leadership style.
How will you know that you’re accurately representing your community?
I don’t know that myself, or anyone else, could accurately represent our community because there isn’t a handbook. What I do know is that actions speak louder than words. So when our community starts to flourish with opportunities and our citizens feel as though they have a voice that matters, I have represented to the best of my abilities.
Is there anything else your prospective constituents should know about you, your platform, your views, or your background?
I want voters, especially those who feel voiceless, to know that I am willing to fight for them and address their concerns. It is important to know that I am both invested in finding ways to help our city grow, as well as find ways to help save taxpayers money. One way specifically, is looking into replacing our current city lights/ utility poles that we rent from the utility company, with solar lights.
“A Change that You Can Believe In” is not just my slogan, it’s my plan and my purpose to give our Voters and all Three Rivers Citizens a visionary approach to new opportunities in our local government. I feel if we are not part of the solution, then we are part of the problem, and I want to be a solution.