By Michele Bourdieu
Kevin Hodur, a write-in candidate for the Hancock City Council at-large seat on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, chats with a customer, Hancock artist Kanak Nanavati, in his art and writing supply store, Keweenaw Archive, in the Jutila Center in Hancock. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)
HANCOCK -- On Nov. 6, 2012, Hancock voters will have an opportunity to vote for a young write-in City Council at-large candidate with a progressive vision for their city.
Kevin Hodur, Ph.D., is offering voters his expertise in community development, business and city planning.
Hodur is a busy, energetic college instructor and small business owner who recently completed his doctorate in Rhetoric and Technical Communication at Michigan Tech University, where he now teaches a Perspectives class for first-year students titled "People and Their Places," based on his major field of study, urban geography and community development.
"What I teach is the same idea I'm running on: The development decisions that we make now will be in place for generations," Hodur said. "For the sake of our children and our grandchildren it's vital that we get them right."
Hodur also applies the communication part of his training in courses on public speaking and sports broadcasting that he teaches at Finlandia University and in his friendly manner with customers who frequent his small shop of art and writing supplies, the Keweenaw Archive, located in Finlandia's Jutila Center for Global Design and Business, a business incubator in Hancock.
Baraga resident Susan Ruddy, who also resides on Isle Royale, where she works for the National Park Service in the summer, purchases some art supplies at the Keweenaw Archive from owner Kevin Hodur. "Everyone's an artist," Ruddy said with a smile.
Hodur's wife, Cynthia Hodur, assistant manager at the Keweenaw Co-op, in her spare time, helps him with the Keweenaw Archive, which is conveniently located in the same building as Finlandia's International School of Art and Design.
Hodur and Bonnie Holland, Jutila Center executive director, as well as former Hancock Mayor Barry Givens, applied to fill temporarily the at-large councilor seat vacated by the resignation of Jim Hainault, who recently moved out of the City of Hancock. At a special meeting on Sept. 12, 2012, the Hancock City Council nominated Givens and voted, by a vote of four to two, to appoint Givens to fill the seat temporarily -- for the September and October meetings.*
Givens and Hodur each filed a declaration of intent form by Oct. 26 to run as a write-in on the Nov. 6 ballot for a two-year term ending in 2014. Holland decided not to run, although Councilor Lisa McKenzie had nominated her at the Sept. 12 meeting.*
Hodur, who has a good relationship with Holland, said he consulted with her before he decided to run for the seat as a write-in on the Nov. 6 ballot.
"She (Holland) has some excellent ideas about developing our downtown, which I think are important," he said.
Hancock City Councilor John Slivon, who is running for re-election to the Council, expressed his support for Hodur's candidacy.
"I think it's time to get some more forward-looking people on the Council," Slivon said. "I hope we both win."
Hodur's write-in opponent, Barry Givens, was Mayor of Hancock at the time his employer, Moyle Inc., built the controversial condominium on the Portage Lift Bridge, which many residents have criticized for its effect of blocking the viewscape.
"I think there are some transparency questions there," Hodur said about the project. "I don't know enough about Barry to call it a conflict of interest, but it did take a public vista and made it a private space."
As for his own candidacy, Hodur believes he can make a positive contribution if elected to the Council.
"As a citizen of Hancock -- and being very happy to live here -- I feel I should do my part with the expertise that I have," Hodur noted.
Voters must write in the name of an eligible write-in candidate in the NONPARTISAN section of the ballot, under "COUNCIL MEMBER AT LARGE, Partial Term Ending 11/12/2014. Vote for not more than 1."
Both Kevin Hodur and Barry Givens are eligible write-ins because they submitted their declarations of intent by Oct. 26, 2012. According to Hancock City Clerk Karen Haischer, they are the only ones who submitted declarations for this position by the deadline.**
* See our Sept. 18, 2012, article on the Sept. 12 special meeting of the City of Hancock.
** Click here to read the Michigan law for write-in candidates.
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Michigan requires voters to bring to the polls an acceptable form of voter photo identification or a signed affidavit attesting that you do not have a photo I.D. Click here for details on voter identification.
UPDATE: Learn more about Kevin Hodur and his commitment to Hancock on his campaign Facebook Page. It is open to all. No need to be a member of Facebook. Just CLICK HERE.