Jennings announces third bid for city council

By Brandi Makuski

Councilwoman Tori Jennings on Monday announced she would seek a third term for the city’s 1st District.

Jennings made the announcement during the Nov. 16 public comment period at the Stevens Point Common Council meeting.

“I am just as passionate today about the 1st District in the city as I first was when I ran for alder,” Jennings said. “It has been a privilege serving this city and I am prepared to work hard to earn the continued support of my constituents.”

District 1. (Courtesy City of Stevens Point)

Jennings made a splash locally before ever winning her first term in April 2017, having been appointed to a newly-created Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee in 2015. She gave a presentation on the benefits of road diets to both the city council and during a public meeting in the village of Whiting, though the latter was not well received.

Jennings then wrote a successful grant application for a Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant from the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation. The grant covered 80 percent of the costs of 13.2 miles of new bicycle lanes across the city, which were finally installed in August and September, though the project came in about $226,000 over budget.

Jennings also helped introduce Cycling Without Age, a nonprofit group that uses special “trishaws” to help elderly or disabled residents ride a bicycle safely.

Jennings is also heavily involved in the Revisioning Point, which describes itself as “a grassroots effort aimed at enhancing the livability, appearance, and economy of Stevens Point for generations to come.”

Since joining the city council, Jennings has introduced ordinances prohibiting excessive noise and doorstep scattering (dropping free newspapers on every home’s front step), though neither were approved. Jennings also helped develop a downtown parklet program and fought hard to transition BPAC from an ad hoc committee into the Bicycle and Pedestrian Street Safety Commission, which she felt gave the group a little more credibility.

Jennings also argued in favor of changing the mayoral appointment process naming committee chair positions each year, ultimately putting that authority into the hands of the committees themselves. She was also instrumental in pushing through a controversial road diet on Stanley St. in 2018.

Jennings has lived in Stevens Point since 2010 and holds a doctorate in anthropology from UW-Madison. She recently retired from UWSP and previously lived in Littleton, Colo., where she served for 13 years in the fire department.

She currently sits on the Board of Public Works and the General Government and Public Policy Committee (formerly known as the Public Protection Committee, a name-change she also spearheaded).

The spring election will be held on April 6, 2021. Candidates interested in running for local offices can begin circulating nomination paperwork on Dec. 1.