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3 finalists vying for vacant Third Ward seat advance through second-round interviews

The Grand Rapids City Commission conducted a second round of interviews for the vacant Third Ward seat. Finalists Marshall Kilgore, Bing Goei and John Krajewski faced questions from Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and commissioners. The seat was emptied by Nathaniel Moody's resignation in December 2023.
 City Hall

City Hall /John Rothwell

This article was created in part through the work of the Grand Rapids Documenters.

To learn more about the Grand Rapids Documenters and to read their notes from previous public meetings, visit

The Third Ward finalists (from left to right: Bing Goei, Marshall Kilgore, John Krajewski)

The Third Ward finalists (from left to right: Bing Goei, Marshall Kilgore, John Krajewski) /The City of Grand Rapids

At the March 5 Committee of the Whole meeting, the Grand Rapids City Commission conducted a second round of interviews with the three finalists running to fill the vacant Third Ward seat.

Marshall Kilgore, the director of engagement for the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC); Bing Goei, the founder of the Goei Center and CEO of Eastern Floral and Gift Shop; and John Krajewski, the principal of Hopkins Elementary School and former Grand Rapids Police Department officer, each answered a series of questions from Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and sitting commissioners during a public session that took place at City Hall. 

Last month, the Committee on Appointments conducted the first round of interviews with the original seven applicants during a special meeting, which lasted approximately four hours, before narrowing the list down to Goei, Kilgore and Krajewski. 

The Third Ward seat was left open after former Commissioner Nathaniel Moody resigned from his position midterm Dec. 31, 2023, noting that he wants to make more time for family and health. 

The Third Ward candidates are contending to fulfill the rest of Moody’s term, which ends in December. However, there will be an election in the fall to fill the full four-year term. 

According to a candidate questionnaire, developed by Grand Rapids Climate Coalition and Friends of Slow Streets, Kilgore said he plans to run for election for the full term. Goei and Krajewski did not respond to the questionnaire. 

During the meeting Wednesday, commissioners took turns asking questions from the dais about the candidates’ views on public safety, allocation of resources and proposed zoning changes. Applicants were also asked to comment on instances where they made an unpopular decision because they felt it was the right thing to do.

While the City’s website states that it was possible a vote would be held on March 5, that vote did not occur. 

During the interview process, Bliss indicated that the City Commission will discuss who will advance in the appointment process at a March 19 meeting. 

Bliss said “if there’s consensus around this body, we’ll move forward with that appointment on the 19th.” 

The City of Grand Rapids received some letters of support from the community, per yesterday’s City Commission agenda — eight in support of Kilgore and 22 for Goei. The agenda did not indicate that any letters of support had been received for Krajewski. 

Kilgore was the first applicant interviewed, followed by Goei and Krajewski. Each interview lasted approximately 45-50 minutes, with an opportunity for the finalists to ask their own questions. 

The full interviews are available to watch on the City’s YouTube channel.

Residents can also learn more about the Third Ward finalists by reading the candidates’ redacted applications and essays on the City's website.

Updated, 12:02 p.m. 3/7/24, correction of Goei's occupation

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