Gary Howe, Candidate for Traverse City Commission

Gary Howe 2013_0044cGary Howe is running for City Commission because we need someone who is willing to ask the questions not being asked and who brings a sense of urgency to the key issues of the citizens and neighborhoods of Traverse City.

As an engaged resident he has been an advocate for inclusive processes and decisions that aim to empower residents to make their city better. Howe will bring a focus on adding value to city investments that look forward and plan for the next generation.

Community Engagement

Howe has officially served the City in numerous volunteer roles over the last four years. He was chairperson for the Parks and Recreation Commission where he helped steer the latest Bayfront improvements, created a design and plan for Clancy Park, and accomplished the development of Traverse City’s first off-leash dog park. He was appointed to the Planning Commission in November 2012. He was a member of the Division Street Steering Committee and helped write the Transportation Element of the Master Plan.

Howe has also served several area non-profits, including a current board position at SEEDS and previously on NMC’s International Affairs Forum Lecture Series. He serves on the League of Michigan Bicyclists’ Advocacy Committee and the Neahtawanta Center Board. He is also an annual volunteer for the Traverse City Film Festival.

Work and Education


For the last 10 years, Howe has been an adjunct instructor at Northwestern Michigan College in the Social Science Department. He currently teaches World Regional Geography. He is also a freelance photojournalist and his work can be seen regularly in Edible Grande Traverse and in the New York Times. For the last 4 years, Howe has maintained a blog devoted to public space, transportation and community issues at MyWheelsareTurning.com.

He is an alumnus of TC Central, Northwestern Michigan College, Northern Michigan University, and the Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies. The latter wrapped-up a five-year self-directed program studying Mandarin Chinese and political science in China and Taiwan.

Home Life

Gary Howe lives in the North Traverse Heights neighborhood with his partner, Christine Sleeman. He enjoys gardening, playing with his two beagles, and connecting with his neighbors in spontaneous front yard gatherings.


* images contributed by Michael Poehlman and John Robert Williams

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