2018-04-07 / News

Brian Bailey Running for City Council Seat

By Jacob A. Ball

Mackinac Island City Council candidate Brian Bailey, general manager of Chippewa Hotel, in the hotel lobby Thursday, March 22. Mackinac Island City Council candidate Brian Bailey, general manager of Chippewa Hotel, in the hotel lobby Thursday, March 22. After 32 years of working on Mackinac Island every summer, Brian Bailey, general manager at Chippewa Hotel, relocated fulltime here last spring with his wife, Jeri-Lynn, and their daughter, Nora. Now, he is running for a seat on the city council as a means to “get involved, learn, and help the Island’s path and growth.” He said the family has loved their first winter on the Island, and it has been great becoming more involved in the community, and especially the school.

The election is Tuesday, May 8, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Community Hall. Mr. Bailey is running unopposed for the open council seat now held by Jason St. Onge. Also running unopposed for reelection are Mayor Margaret Doud, who will seek a 44th year in office, Councilor Dennis Bradley, Sr., clerk Danielle Wightman, treasurer Richard “Rick” Linn, assessor Robert Benser, and supervisor Brad Chambers. The assessor and supervisor sit on the city’s taxation Board of Review.

Members of the city council serve three-year terms. The remaining members of the council, not up for reelection, are Anneke Myers, Steve Moskwa, Andrew McGreevy, and Kay Hoppenrath.

When the opportunity arose to run for city council, Mr. Bailey says he knew it was the perfect chance for him. Responsibilities of the council, he said, include supervision of property development to safeguard the Island’s historical significance and pristine natural setting.

“Maintaining this ambiance is integral to the city council’s job description,” he said, as this is what is most attractive to the year-around and summer residents, and is “extremely important” to maintain.

Mr. Bailey is interested to see how the city can work to relieve the shortage of year-around housing. The city recently purchased property on which it will build an apartment building for such use.

“The local community is a unique year-around community that is very important to the stability of the Island,” he said.

He wants to encourage visitors to return, and he is interested in better understanding issues related to Mackinac Island’s historic districts. Mr. Bailey says he has learned a lot about how to treat people and approach disputes through his experience in the hospitality industry. He always listens to both sides of an argument to ensure that he is being fair and reasonable. He considers himself to be levelheaded and tends to approach issues with common sense.

Mr. Bailey is originally from Ann Arbor and first came here in 1986 after graduation from Albion College. He worked for the next six years as general manager of Chippewa Hotel. The couple spent two winters on the Island in the early 1990s, and he says they enjoyed every day of it.

They moved to Suttons Bay to rear their three children, but returned each summer. He resigned as general manager in 1992, and they operated a series of retail businesses for the next decade, ranging from the Leelanau Peninsula to Mackinac Island. In 2003, he returned to his former position. Mrs. Bailey still owns and operates Destination Mackinac on Main Street.

He said the couple’s goal was always to return to the Island once their children were out of high school, however, when their youngest, Nora, said she was willing to live on Mackinac Island, “we jumped at the opportunity.”

Mackinac Island is special to the Baileys because of the people. He says the local residents are always friendly and he loves living where people always say hello when they pass on the sidewalk.

“There’s nowhere else like it in the world, and we are very fortunate,” he said.

He added that the summer cottagers add a special flavor to the Island, and he appreciates that many of these families have become integrated with the year-around community.

“It’s just a unique type of person [who lives] on Mackinac Island, and I think that is what has drawn my family here,” he said.

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