Kyle's responses to Royal Oak High School Civics Students' Questions
Royal Oak High School Civics Students Q&A with
City Commissioner Kyle DuBuc
1) What made you choose this profession?
Serving on the city commission actually isn’t my profession. My full-time job is as Director of Policy, Advocacy & Government Relations at United Way for Southeastern Michigan. But my position on the city commission is absolutely a large commitment and responsibility. Simply put, I ran for city commission because my wife and I are raising our three children here and we are deeply personally committed to and invested in the future of Royal Oak. We are a wonderful community with a lot going for us, but we need thoughtful leaders to ensure we continue in the right direction.
2) Would you say that the residents of Royal Oak are involved in the decision-making process? If so, how?
Great question. Absolutely, the residents of Royal Oak drive decision making at city hall. The mayor and commissioners are selected by voters every two years and all commission meetings are open to the public with ample opportunity for public input. The city also has a variety of subcommittees, work groups and boards which residents serve on and provide input through. And lastly, commission members and city staff receive significant input via email and social media, and I know from my own experience that every soccer game, school event or stop at the grocery store serves an opportunity for residents to approach me to share their thoughts and suggestions.
3) Why is it important to be involved in local government?
Democracy works best when people are actively engaged with elected officials to discuss and debate ideas so that we can make the best possible decisions. And local government, even more so than state or federal, directly and immediately impact our lives. That’s why I've worked to encourage a wider range of residents to get involved with our various advisory boards and committees. For a community to thrive, it's not just important for a wide cross-section of people of differing experience and viewpoints to be involved, it's essential. That’s why I’m glad you’re doing this project! I hope that you and your classmates take this experience to the next level and commit to voting in every election you have the opportunity to participate in.
4) How do you make sure that all citizens are heard?
In addition to the answer provided in question 2, I attend a variety of civic functions, service club meetings, block parties and neighborhood association meetings to speak directly to neighbors. I also like to get out and knock doors to see what’s on people’s minds. But ultimately, all of us in Royal Oak have a chance to make our voices heard each election.
5) Does your interest in serving as a city commissioner stem from a personal interest or goal?
I feel like I’ve always been driven to make the world a little better than I found it. That’s why I joined the Peace Corps after college, why I’ve worked for movements I believed in my entire professional career, and why I ran to serve on the city commission.
6) What is something you hope to accomplish as a city commissioner?
In general, I want Royal Oak to be a place that is a joy to live in at every stage of life—school children, young professionals, singles, couples, families, empty-nesters, seniors, and anyone at any other point in life. But as for a really specific goal, I want our city to become a regional leader in environmental sustainability by establishing a city-wide environmental plan with clear goals and objectives to achieve over the next 5, 10 and 20 years with regard to tree planting/protection, reduced stormwater runoff, reduced carbon footprint, increased recycling and increased use of renewable energy.
7) Why is serving as a city commissioner important to you?
I value the opportunity to serve my community and to have a voice at the table in building an even brighter future for current and future generations.
8) What would you like to improve in Royal Oak?
In brief, we need to invest in environmental sustainability, establish an aging-in-place strategy to ensure a high quality of live for our growing senior population, and we need to expedite our park improvement schedule.
9) What are some things you like about your position?
I actually really enjoy thoughtful, respectful debate about meaningful issues, and I love having the opportunity to influence the direction of our community for the better. I like discussing the issues of the day with friends and neighbors to get their take on things and working with my colleagues to determine the path forward. Sometimes in politics, even at the local level, things get uglier than they need to. We’re at our best when we’re talking and listening to each other as we work toward a common goal. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, I really love being a part of it.
10) What are some things you don't like about your position?
What bums me out the most is the lack of civility that permeates our public discourse at all levels of government. Certainly we need rigorous debate on issues where the community is divided, but we should be able to have those debates with the understanding that we’re all ultimately on the same side—the side that wants to continue building a strong, healthy community that we can be proud of.
11) Are there any projects for Royal Oak in the future you're excited for?
I’m really excited to see the civic center project come to completion with the new downtown park, police station, city hall and Henry Ford Medical Center. It’s been a long, contentious road to get here and construction is always an inconvenient mess, but ultimately, I think this will be a wonderful asset to our city. I’m also excited about moving our city toward environmental sustainability which as I stated above, we’re getting some traction on.
Throughout his years on the commission, Kyle has been regularly approached by Royal Oak High School Students for an interview as a part of their civics class. Below are Kyle's responses to some of their most common questions.