Nunneley’s bold move deserves respect

Mike Nunneley.

Few have the ability that, at the mere mention of their name, can evoke intense emotion.

Some really admire the man.

Some really dislike the man.

Regardless of which camp you might fall into this morning, I would contend Alpena City residents should at least respect the man.

Nunneley this week surprised the entire city when he filed petitions placing his name as a City Council candidate in November’s election. Having been recalled from a council seat last year, few expected to see him back in politics so soon – especially seeking a similar position to one which he just lost.

“My passions for Alpena haven’t changed and we have some wonderful opportunities, but we still have some major challenges,” Nunneley said in a newspaper story Wednesday. “I think I bring a skill set and experience that I feel is compatible to the needs of the city right now.”

How many of us have the “um-pah-pah” to swallow our pride, suck it up and turn around a year after a disheartening defeat to put our name before the public again? How many of us are willing to subject ourselves and our families to the public scrutiny again? How many of us would re-enter a world where people dissect your every move or write anything they want about you in today’s world of social media – who cares whether it is true or not?

How many of us are willing to sacrifice our free time to devote to meeting after meeting? How many of us want to be a public servant and be at the public’s beck and call 24-7? How many of us threw our names out there in the political arena and considered being a candidate for this position?

As you answer those questions, you understand my contention why all of us owe Nunneley our respect. He did what no one else would have, what no one else did at the filing deadline.

Only two candidates filed petitions seeking two council positions Wednesday – Nunneley and incumbent Shawn Sexton. Sexton, upon learning of Nunneley’s filing, was less than enthusiastic in comments he made public via the newspaper.

Still, once the shock wore off, I believe he also would have to appreciate the same motivation that prompted Nunneley back into the arena – love of city, wanting to make a difference for future generations, leaving a legacy that our children can be proud of – were the same factors that motivated him.

“Committing to another term of serving Alpena was not a decision I took lightly,” Sexton told newspaper reporter Steve Schulwitz. “I know the time and energy it takes to serve and serve well. As a father, I am heavily involved in the lives of my children, which caused me to waver a bit. Ultimately, I ran again for the same reason I ran the first two times – to create a better future for my kids.”

And in the end it is just that – creating a better future for our children – that inspired both to seek office again.

One goes on the ballot as an incumbent.

The other goes on as just another name.

What a humbling, gutsy move on Nunneley’s part.

I have to respect that.

If you’re being fair, I think you have to as well.