Editor’s note: This is fifth in the series of East Lansing City Council candidate profiles by ELi reporters. Eight candidates are vying for three open Council seats in the Nov. 7 election. Check out ELi’s Elections coverage for more profiles. ELi is partnering with the League of Women Voters for a 6:30 p.m. Sept. 14 City Council Candidate Forum. Click here to help ELi and the League formulate questions for the candidates.
East Lansing City Council candidate Dan Bollman admits he may be a bit of a policy wonk.
“I can definitely discuss the things that I’m passionate about and interested in at length,” he said. “And I often shift conversations to those things. I guess it’s good that the things I’m interested in and passionate about are beneficial to the community.”
Bollman is a native of Allen Park, Michigan, an Eagle Scout, and holds three degrees from the University of Michigan: a bachelor’s in architecture and two master’s, one in architecture and the other in business administration. He’s also been passionate about public service for more than 30 years.
Bollman’s background and experience
Bollman served as the Historic Preservation Coordinator in Kalamazoo for five years and on the Ann Arbor and East Lansing Historic District Commissions. He was also active in the Marble Elementary Parents Council and coached his daughter’s archery team. Since 2019, he’s had a seat on the State Historic Preservation Review Board after being appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
He currently sits on the East Lansing Planning Commission, a role he’s held since 2015 and chaired from 2017-2022.
“I want to continue playing an active role in keeping East Lansing progressive and engaged,” Bollman said. “I really feel like I bring an experienced perspective that includes more than 15 years of municipal experience, familiarity with planning and zoning and urbanism, and all the things that current Council could use and, frankly, the city could use.
“I can demonstrate 15 uninterrupted years of service to the city,” he said. “Didn’t quit or withdraw when things didn’t go my way. When I wasn’t appointed twice. When I wasn’t elected.”
He moved to East Lansing in 2007 when his wife was offered a position at Michigan State University where she now works as a department chair. Bollman himself has moved into academia, working as an adjunct professor at Lansing Community College and, starting just this month, a position as a teaching specialist with the construction management program at MSU. He also is the owner of East Arbor Architecture in East Lansing.
Bollman is confident his experience can lead to success on Council.
“I feel like the time that I’ve spent and the staff I’ve met through my work with the different commissions and the committees on those commissions have taught me a fair amount about how things work at city hall,” he said. “I can hit the ground running.”
Bollman’s top priorities
When asked about the most pressing issues East Lansing is facing, Bollman shared both immediate concerns and his long-term hopes for the community.
“I am concerned that we’ve got a lot of vacancies to fill and even when we fill those vacancies, we’ve lost a century of institutional knowledge that we’re not going to get back,” he said.
“But I’m really passionate about increasing neighborhood inclusivity. I live on the 500 block of Bailey [Street]. We chose to live here. We chose to live near a Big Ten university with the expected urban drama that periodically happens at loud hours. There are loud conversations that happen at 2 a.m., not right outside our window but almost right outside our window and, of course, there’s an occasional beer bottle on the lawn and so on,” Bollman said. “But because we chose to live there, my daughters have been able to walk to their schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. Access to schools and the parks and the library and the community center and the shops downtown are something I have the privilege to enjoy. I’d like to see a way to make those amenities available to more people.
“In a college town, there’s a really delicate balance that needs to be maintained,” he said. “Is there a way that can be made [available] to young families and visiting professors, while at the same time as leaving the opportunity for students who invariably want access to all those things, too.
“Part of that challenge is finding that balance. But I believe we can.”
Editor’s note: The order of publication of the East Lansing City Council candidates profiles was determined by names being put in a hat and randomly drawn. The order the names were drawn is the order the profiles are running in ELi.