- Brian Freiberger
2 women in Olivet’s mayoral election
Mayor candidate Laura Barlond-Maas.
Mayor candidate Debra Maxwell
Olivet will hold a mayoral election on Nov. 7, featuring two established Olivet residents who are no strangers to the local government. Debra Maxwell, and former mayor from (2001-2005) Laura Barlond-Maas are the two candidates for mayor for a 2017-2019 term.
As a part of the election process, Olivet College and Olivet Community Schools are co-sponsoring a “City of Olivet Candidates Forum” where the community may meet with
the Candidates on Oct. 26 from 7-9 p.m. at the Olivet Community Schools Auditorium, located at 255 First St.
This is the first time since 2005 that Olivet will have a different mayor. Barlond-Maas was the predecessor to current mayor Gary Peterson, who was elected in 2005, and decided not to run for another term.
This isn’t the first time Barlond-Maas and Maxwell have campaigned against each other. In the 2001 election Barlond-Maas was elected over Maxwell.
Maxwell is currently on the City Council and has served the parks and recreation department since February.“Our infrastructure needs to be more organized,” said Maxwell about why she wants to become mayor.
Improving the infrastructure of Olivet’s sewage and water systems is one of the utmost priorities for Maxwell. “There is not a lot of money in the budget(s), but it’s more about what we do with the little bit you (City of Olivet) has,” said Maxwell.
With a business and nursing background, Maxwell doesn’t plan on getting side-tracked from the duties of being mayor, if elected. “I just do it. I’m a Lion’s member with foster children and a disabled husband. I’m used to being busy,” said Maxwell.
The other candidate, Barlond-Maas was also born and raised in Olivet. While earning a degree from Olivet College in 1985, she first served on the City Council in 1995. Currently, Maas is an associate professor of English at Olivet College. She is attempting to win her third term as mayor.
“I really enjoyed working for city government, and I think I’m really good at it,” said Barlond-Maas. She credits her understanding of local government while being on the City Council when Mike Judd was the mayor from… to…. “I’m excited to serve the community again this way,” said Barlond-Maas.
Barlond-Maas’s biggest issues to address are the current city budget, housing options, updating technologies, and infrastructure issues. “My job is to be a leader and to get (Olivet’s) goals accomplished,” said Barlond-Maas.
Voters must be an Olivet resident, and registered by Oct. 8. Olivet College students can vote if they have lived here for more than six months.