LANSING, Mich. — Melissa Huber has spent 20 years using her psychology degree to do work in the Lansing community. Because of that, she says she’s better equipped to serve as Lansing's mayor than her five opponents.
“We’re used to having lawyers running out cities, but with the situation, we’re in right now, I felt like I had the responsibility to bring the skills relating to growing the communities and helping people,” Huber said.
Huber said she believes the issues that Lansing is facing problems that need a professional who deals with humans to help solve them.
“These are human issues,” she said. “These are issues about our priorities how we engage people and how we work together and that’s the skill set I feel like I bring.”
Huber is an independent youth and economic development professional and says her degree in psychology has allowed her to do community outreach and volunteer work in Lansing since the late 1990s. She has worked with Averill Woods Neighborhood Association and Rejuvenating South Lansing among other organizations
“I’ve been working with citizens, trying to make their communities a better place for them to live, for their kids to grow up, for their grandparents to stay and age in place and for businesses to thrive,” she said.
Huber is running against five other people and, while she didn’t mention four of them, she did talk about City Council member Kathie Dunbar, who has been accused of making racist and sexually inappropriate comments.
“I do believe my friend Rina (Risper, who made the accusations) and, like her, I have also had a longer relationship with Ms. Dunbar as well,” Huber said. “So, it troubles me and it pains me to hear these kinds of things. But, I’ve also had other people come to me to say that they’ve had similar experiences.”
Huber said she believes former Mayor Virg Bernero, who dropped out of the race after several women accused him of sexual harassment, may have an influence on Dunbar’s leadership because he has supported her in the past.
"We’ve seen in the past that he funneled money into her campaign," she said.
Dunbar said, in the past, Bernero has probably donated money towards her campaign, but she doesn’t see a problem with that.
If elected, Huber plans to bring in a new team and they will focus on things such as the city’s budget, reaching marginalized groups and tackling homelessness in the city. Huber said she’s ready to change and believes she can deliver it.
“Let's begin again, lets do things in a really big bold, fresh way,” she said.