Up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t think much about politics. When I heard Steve was running for office, I had to rethink some of my previous thoughts. While I still think most politicians have compromised way too much to gain or maintain their positions, if anyone has the right qualities to be in charge, and the strength of character and determination to keep those qualities while in office, it’s him.
And here’s why:
I remember when I first met Steve. I’m a missionary kid, born in North Dakota and raised in West Africa. Coming to America for college was a bit of a shock to me. After a few months of meeting literally NO ONE I could relate to, my sister invited me to join her while babysitting for a few hours. This is when I first met Steve and Susan, and I felt truly comfortable for the first time in months.
A year or so later, there was a bomb threat on Calvin’s campus. Everyone was evacuated for safety, of course. While I was still figuring out what was going on, I got a call from Steve asking if I was all right, and if I needed to stay at his house for a few days. He’d heard about the threat almost as soon as I had, and figured out what I would need before I even knew I needed it.
When my growing loneliness – coupled with my inability to fit in – triggered a full-blown depression, I found myself in pretty bad shape. I would sleep for days at a time, afraid or just plain unable to face the rest of the world. Of course my grades and finances suffered too. It got to the point where I wasn’t sure how I’d get my next meal, and even worse, I wasn’t sure I deserved one.
Steve and his family helped me through all that. He took me into his home, as if I were one of his own children. It took months for me to get past it all and get my life back on track, but thanks to their help, I did. I’m sure that without them, my life would still be a very dark place; in fact, I’d most likely have ended up face-down in a ditch somewhere.
In the years since then, I’ve always felt welcome at the Kepley’s. Steve has always been willing to help me, from replacing a car battery or getting a flat tire off a rusty rim, to advice on how to talk to irascible people.
In short, Steve’s the kind of person we need in office; dependable, responsible, and caring. When I needed a family and was too messed up to ask my own, he lent me his.
Gabe Michelson, pseudo-prodigal
I came to know Stephen Kepley last fall when I was the guest of his wife’s in-laws for a few weeks. They live nearby and he was very supportive and helpful to them as they have been dealing with health issues. Since I was new to the area, he graciously let me use a vehicle while I was there and gave me a driving lesson to learn my way around. I really appreciated this as I am from a small town with one stop light.
I observed many things Stephen did for others~helping to update the house of his in-laws, helping my grand-daughter and his daughters with their homework and helping prepare for gatherings at his home. I was invited and accompanied him and his family to church where he was a very active member and had been instrumental in starting the church. At Thanksgiving, I was invited to the Kepley’s home to spend the day, sharing the meal with his family and several foreign students that he and his wife had invited. He certainly is capable of accomplishing much and I found him and his family a pleasure to be around.
Kentwood would be fortunate to have someone of his character as mayor!
Nancy Jones – Copenhagen NY
As a Kentwood resident for 42 years and the past building principal of Meadow Brook Elementary school, I have known Stephen Kepley as a parent in the school and as Kentwood’s Director of Engineering & Inspections during various school and street construction projects and improvements. During his 10 years working for and living in the City of Kentwood, I have known Stephen to be an outstanding supporter of his children, always being involved in any way possible and working with the school administration and classroom teachers to provide the best school experience possible for his children and their class. Stephen was always a positive and constructive force at school functions and meetings, seeking to help provide for a quality school environment for all families in the Meadow Brook community.
During the Forest Hill Avenue road improvement project in my neighborhood and the building upgrades at Meadow Brook Elementary, Stephen was an involved project manager and spokesperson for the City of Kentwood. He reached out to the school’s designers to ensure their plans would match the new design for the road improvements. He brought to the table a walking plan that would eliminate the need to cross the school driveway entrances by school children, who wanted to walk or bike to school. He worked diligently to address property owners’ concerns and to implement needed changes when conflicts or problems arose. Stephen always worked to find a win-win situation for the homeowner and the city. His actions when working with people in the community have been characterized by the highest caliber of ethical standards, transparency, and respect for the needs of each and every Kentwood resident.
It is because of Stephen Kepley’s skill in working with people and his knowledge of Kentwood city government, that I, without hesitation, endorse Stephen Kepley to be the next mayor for the City of Kentwood.
Larry Mathews – Meadow Brook Elementary Principal 1992 to 2010
Wolverine Building Group has been a member of the Kentwood business community since 1978. We have experienced both strong and weak leadership and we have lived through pro-business and anti-business administrations. We have seen both growth and decline in the economy. Through former Mayor Root’s steady and consistent leadership, Kentwood had once again become a great place in which to live, go to school, and run a business. I can think of no one that I would feel more strongly about endorsing than Stephen Kepley – under his leadership our city would continue to thrive, following the strong path Mayor Root set us on. Stephen is a person of integrity, dedication, and knowledge. His would be a steady hand at the wheel to make certain that the positives happening in the City of Kentwood continue.
Michael G. Kelly – President WOLVERINE BUILDING GROUP
I would like to recommend and endorse Stephen Kepley for mayor for the City of Kentwood. First Companies has been a resident of Kentwood and conducted business in the city for well over 20 years. As a long time resident business in the community, we took note when Stephen began his solution-focused, proactive work for Kentwood. His approach was a breath of fresh air and helped to change and improve Kentwood’s reputation.
I have had the privilege of working alongside Stephen on projects in the city. I have found him to have integrity, to be proactive in communication, solution focused, cost conscious, and practical in working with businesses. I have also witnessed how well Stephen has managed the city’s resources and funds.
I am excited to endorse Stephen Kepley for mayor. His leadership has been proven in the past and is needed for Kentwood’s future.
Respectfully – Craig Baker FIRST COMPANIES INC.
This is Karleen Root. Many of you know my late husband, and your former Mayor, Richard L Root. Rick had a passion for making Kentwood a City that was open for business. One decision he made to accomplish his “open for business” policy was to hire Stephen Kepley to streamline the bureaucratic process, and to encourage businesses to bring their jobs here to Kentwood. Steve shared Rick’s vision and passion for government to be a partner and not a hindrance in order for businesses to grow and succeed in Kentwood.
The position of Director of Engineering and Inspections was a new position created with the purpose of streamlining processes, problem solving, and improving public relations for new and current businesses that were either considering relocating or expanding within the City of Kentwood. This was increasingly important with the recession and loss of business in Kentwood over the past several years. Steve not only accomplished the goals set out for this position but also surpassed expectations.
I am endorsing Stephen Kepley and encourage you to join me in supporting Steve as he runs for mayor. We need to continue Rick’s legacy and keep Kentwood running smoothly and efficiently so that our neighbors, businesses, and entire community accomplish our goals and dreams for the future.
Thank you for your support and may God bless you, your family, and Kentwood!
Sincerely – Karleen Root