Rochester City Council Candidates and November 2nd, 2021 Election Info!

There is a surge of Absentee Voting in the City of Rochester. According to Rochester City Clerk, Lee Ann O’Connor, “As of Oct 4th, there has already been a 50% increase in cast absentee ballots this year verse 2019, and that’s with a month to go! That number could grow to 2,000.” If so, that would almost double the total absentee ballots verse the last local election in 2019.

Surge in Absentee Ballots

What are the residents of Rochester voting for?

The Nov 2nd, 2021 ballot is solely focused on electing four Rochester City Councilmembers.

The Rochester City Council has seven members. Six members have staggered 4-year terms and one member has a 2-year term. Currently, the council has only six members with one vacancy due to the July resignation of Dean Bevacqua.

The Mayor is not elected directly by the public, rather, each November the council elects a member to serve as Mayor for a 1-year term.

Here are the current Rochester City Council Members with their Term of Office. The bolded Councilmembers seats are up for election this Nov 2, 2021.

Mark Albrecht (2019-2023)
Stuart Bikson (2017-2021)
Amanda Harrison (2019-2023)
Ann Peterson (2019-2023)
Steve Sage (2019-2021)
Nancy Salvia (2017-2021)
Vacancy (Dean Bevacqua 2017-2021)

There are six candidates on the ballot for Rochester City Council. The top three vote-getters will earn a 4-year term. The candidate with the 4th highest vote total will earn a 2-year term.

Candidates for Rochester City Council

Finding Candidate Information

Megan and Jordan Holmes recently moved to the City of Rochester from Chesterfield Township. They chose Rochester to be closer to family and enjoy the overall ambiance of the city. They shared, "We’re not familiar with the candidates running for City Council, so having a resource to read candidate profiles would help us vote this November."

Well Megan and Jordan, we did exacty that. Rochester.Life asked all candidates seeking office to submit a Candidate Profile (500-word max) describing why Rochester residents should vote for them. Here are the candidates in their own words...

Candidate Profile:
Debra M. Allen

My name is Debra Allen and I am running for Rochester City Council.

I have lived in Rochester for 18 years. I moved here after working at the Rochester Community Schools Foundation. As a single mother I couldn’t think of a better place to raise my daughter.

Rochester has provided me with a great community to raise my daughter and it is my time to give back. The residents were sent out a survey and have stated some concerns. I have requested a copy and would like to make sure that they are addressed. I want the residents to know that I am there to work for them and their voices will be heard. My goal is to be in contact with the residents more than once a year. I want them to feel free to email or call me with concerns at any time.

I want to work with the current council to continue the progress of improving the community and new projects that the residents would like.

I have worked in the Non Profit field and am currently an Account Manager for a Marketing Company. I deal with customers daily on budgets and meeting deadlines of projects. I have worked with many boards and companies. I am a “get things done” person! I am Rochester! I love the events, the Farmers Market, Festivals, Shops and restaurants. I want to connect with the community and ensure that Rochester stays the great “small town” that we have all come to love.

Candidate Profile:
Stuart Bikson

I am currently running for reelection to the Rochester City Council. I have a unique and diverse background in government and education that allow me to serve the people of Rochester. I have a BGS degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and have an MBA from the University of Wisconsin. I also have a Master of Art's in Teaching (MAT) from Oakland University. I am currently a special education teacher at Waterford Mott High School teaching economics and government. I am also the boys' and girls' varsity tennis coach.

I am currently serving as Mayor of Rochester. I have served on the city council since 1999 and have held position of Mayor for a total of six years and have also served as Mayor Pro Tem. I have served as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the OPC, (Older Person Commission) and have been Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for RARA, (Rochester, Avon Recreation Authority). I currently serve on the Planning Commission and the DDA (Downtown Development Authority). I helped in getting Rochester through the difficult period of covid and I believe Rochester is positioned to have a strong economic recovery.

My top goals for Rochester are to continue to fully fund and support our Rochester Police and Fire departments. I believe a great city is a safe city and I will continue to work to make sure Rochester is one of the safest cities in Michigan. I will also work to maintain a balanced city budget and make sure Rochester continues to have one of the lowest tax rates in Oakland County. I believe the cities conservative fiscal policy allowed us to continue to be successful during the covid crisis and has positioned us for success into the future. I also want to ensure that Rochester continues to provide excellent city services. I believe Rochester has very efficient city services and I will work to maintain this high level of service for our residents.

I believe I have the experience, leadership skills and communication skills to continue to represent the people of Rochester. I ask for your vote on November 2nd.

Candidate Profile:
Douglas Gould

I’m a Professor and Chair of Foundational Medical Studies at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. I live on 2nd street, about 2 blocks off main with my wonderful family - my wife Laurisa (a second-grade teacher for Rochester schools) and my two incredible teen daughters (I have one in her senior year at Adams and one in her junior year at Rochester High). I grew up in Michigan, went to Michigan State for undergrad and Wayne State for graduate school - I have a PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology. I never really took to the research and so have spent my entire career in academic administration and education. I moved out of state for about 15 years after completing school to work at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and then the Ohio State University, we moved back to Rochester in 2012.

I’m running for Rochester City Council because I want to bring balance to the group. I hope to bring something different to council - a fresh, new perspective. I’m a college professor and departmental administrator and as such, I oversee a $9.4M budget. Thus far, I have devoted hundreds of hours volunteering for our City - I am on the governing board for the Older Persons Commission (OPC), where I serve as secretary, and on OPEB, I have also Chaired the City’s compensation committee. I believe there is value to the community in having representation from individuals that live downtown. We walk there for all of our needs - shopping, dining, entertainment, leisure - we even fish there, my family’s home is intimately linked to Main St.

Not only do I want and need a prosperous and approachable downtown, but I’m interested in better linking Oakland University (OU) with our community. We have a huge, top-tier school right down the road, we can do a better job leveraging that for both places. In the past I helped bring in OU faculty to speak on 5G for concerned citizens and have worked with folks on the cemetery board to help get land allocated for the medical school’s anatomy program.

I have personally knocked on nearly 2,000 doors this year; speaking with our neighbors has taught me that traffic/congestion and parking are the main issues on people’s minds. As such, I think it is important to revisit public transportation for Rochester; I suggest we seek the presentation of a plan from Smart - public transportation gets cars off the road. Let’s start small, incrementally, perhaps by increasing the hours of operation of our existing Smart bus system operated by the Older Person’s Commission. 40% of the people riding those buses have special needs - e.g., hearing, vision or other physical impairments, the buses stop running at 4:30 every day, limiting the ability for many of our residents to work outside the home or fully enjoy our great City.

I hope you will consider supporting me this November so that I can continue working for Rochester!

Candidate Profile:
Steve Sage

I have lived in Rochester for 22-years, helped raise a daughter in town and have had the privilege to serve the City in multiple capacities.

My public service began on Boards & Commissions where I served as Chairman of the Rochester Historical Commission, Chairman of the Greater Rochester Heritage Days Festival and as a member of the City Beautiful Commission. These experiences engaged me to run for City Council where I was elected and served from 2010 thru 2015. A change in jobs interrupted my ability to serve but the opportunity presented itself again and I was elected, where I am serving a term from 2019 thru 2021. During my two terms on Council, I have been appointed by both the mayor and my fellow councilmembers to serve as the Council Liaison on the Planning Commission, the Historical Commission, the Paint Creek Trailways Commission and the Tree Committee. During both of my campaigns I have run in support of the following three priorities to ensure the City’s success and to maintain the quality of life we enjoy in Rochester:

1) Sustainable Growth – the footprint of the city has only a few remaining locations for future development. I believe in a responsible plan that includes room for both residential and commercial development. This approach will support a positive quality of life for residents and will provide economic opportunities for businesses.

2) Fiscal Responsibility – I am proud that City Council has consistently developed a balanced, multi-year budget that delivers core City services and maintains funding for the future.

3) City Services – part of my fiscal responsibility as a councilmember is a commitment to fund and support fully staffed and properly equipped departments of the Police, Fire/EMS and Public Works. An additional but equal commitment I make to the residents, requires support and funding for the maintenance of both our city parks and the parking system.

My experience on City Council and my continued involvement with City administration has compelled me to run again for another opportunity to serve the citizens of Rochester. On November 2, 2021, you will be asked to vote for up to four persons in the election. I’m asking you to consider me for one of those four positions. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at: sjsage17@gmail or (248) 821–3135. Sincerely, Steve Sage

Candidate Profile:
Nancy Salvia

Dear Rochester Voter,

I am currently serving our community as Mayor Pro – Tem and am on the ballot 11/2 looking for your support for another term on Rochester City Council. In Rochester each year the City Council elects from the Council the Mayor and Mayor ProTem for a one year term. If elected I would like to continue to serve as Mayor Pro Tem.

My overarching goal is to keep Rochester the great community we all love. I have over the past 4 years experienced that it takes longer to get things done in government and desire another term to accomplish more for our residents. My areas of focus are:

1) Fiscal Responsibility - As an elected official I believe we have a responsibility to wisely allocate tax dollars to provide excellent services and public safety. We are a AAA bond rated city and must maintain this high quality.

2) Infrastructure - According to a recent community survey – we have made some improvements in the quality of our roads, however water rates continue to be a concern. As a current member of the infrastructure committee the City is studying a direct connect to GWLA (Great Lakes Water Authority). This could potentially eliminate the 20% premium paid currently to purchase GWLA water through Shelby Township.

3) Celebrated Community Lifestyle – Simply put, keep the charm and community spirit alive in Rochester. One aspect of this that I have been working on and want to see completed is the update of the Rochester Community House. Ground breaking is scheduled for March 2022 and I want to see it through to completion.

Thank you for your vote on 11/2! I have strong business, personal and community experience and would be honored to serve you again. My campaign information can be found on my Nancy Salvia – Rochester City Council Facebook page.

Candidate Profile:
Terry R. Tesh

Hello, I'm Terry Tesh. I've been a resident and homeowner here in Rochester for over 27 years. My late wife was raised and attended school here and graduated from Rochester High school. After we married we lived in California for 13 years and when we decided to return to Michigan she wanted to live in Rochester so we moved here and I have never regretted that decision. Rochester is a wonderful community and my neighbors are almost like family.

If I am elected to the city council I can contribute level headed honest opinions and decisions with regard to what our community needs and wants. One thing that concerns me and I would like to see changed is the practice of routing out of the city traffic through our residential neighborhoods. These have been labeled feeder streets and as many as 2,000 to 4,000 cars a day are being routed through our neighborhood streets with no regard for the taxpaying citizens peace and quiet or the smell of exhaust of speeding cars or the stain of exhaust leaving their homes dirty and dingy looking. The traffic problem can be helped by a study of the timing of traffic lights and the widening of the major streets surrounding Rochester, Avon, Tienken, Dequindre, etc. I don't have all the answers, but we can do better to keep our lovely city clean and unencumbered with people from other cities cutting through our neighborhoods to try to get home faster after work.

Also, I love to see all the friendly people in my neighborhood going for walks around town. Maybe we can find a way to add some benches along our residential streets and other nice things to add to the beauty of our town.

Additional Election Information

Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on all election days.

You must vote at the polling place for the precinct in which you reside.

City of Rochester Precinct Map

Absentee Ballots:

Applications to have a ballot mailed to you must be received by 5:00 pm on the Friday before the election.

Absentee Ballots can be issued on the day prior to the election until 4:00 pm, but the elector must request the ballot in person at City Hall on that day, and cannot leave the building with the ballot. Photo identification will be required to receive the ballot in person.

If you are not registered to vote as of election day, you may also register and obtain an absentee ballot in person at the Clerk's Office prior to 8:00 p.m. Election Day.

If you are registered to vote in the City of Rochester, you may mail your absentee ballot application to 400 6th Street, Rochester, MI 48307 to the attention of "Elections", drop off the application in person, or place it in the City drop box located on the west side of the building.

We can also accept applications by email at, so long as your information and signature are clearly visible in the attachment.

Finally, please vote!

City Drop Box located on the west side of Rochester City Hall

Oct 6, 2021, Rochester.Life Staff
updated Oct 26, 2021

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