Dowagiac City Council appoints new member

Published 12:11 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

DOWAGIAC — The Dowagiac City Council appointed a new member Monday to fill a recently vacated seat.

Council approved the appointment of Laura Desilets to Ward 2 for a term ending in November 2025. Laura Desilets will take the spot formerly held by the late Bob Schuur, who passed away last month after serving 38 years on council.

A subcommittee of the city council hosted interviews Wednesday, Nov. 1, at City Hall. Candidates were Desilets and Jason Alphenaar.

“After interviewing the two candidates, the interviewing committee felt both of the applicants would do a fantastic job,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Randy Gross. “As we discussed the interviews, Laura’s background and commitment to the betterment of Dowagiac were strong factors in the committee’s recommendation. Her enthusiasm for serving was apparent in the interview as it was when she was confirmed at Monday’s City Council Meeting. She will be a great addition to the Council.”

An Air Force veteran who served as an active-duty member in the 1980s, Desilets is currently employed with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, working in Human Resources.

“My strength is connecting with people,” Desilets stated. “In a large company, if you need help from another department, good luck. Until you start building relationships and connecting with people, you are lost at sea. At every organization I’ve worked in, I have made a point to connect with everyone as each person has a reason and purpose to be there. This is one reason why I made Human Resources my career choice. Engagement with people. I believe this skill would serve me well on Council.”

During both the Iraq War and Afghanistan War, Desilets “adopted” military members by writing letters and sending care packages during their deployments. 

“At Christmas I coordinated an adoption of a platoon and worked with my co-workers to provide Christmas stockings to the platoon members,” she said.

A Dowagiac native, Desilets returned to her hometown in 2014 after living in Tampa Bay for many years after her time in the Air Force.

“I returned in 2014 because Dowagiac was always home,” she said. “I have always been an informed voter. I was proud to serve my country in the military. I have been extremely busy working and finishing my degree. Now that I am nearly done with my studies, I would like to put the leadership lessons I have learned into action and serve my community.”