Many local elections will be decided during the primary elections held on Tuesday, August 7 in the cases where candidates are of the same political party. The following are those who filed to run at the time The Rockford Squire began sending out notices asking for information on each of the candidates. Additional information may now be available at the website accesskent.com.
For State Representative for the 73rd District, the Republican candidate is Peter MacGregor, of Rockford, incumbent, and the Democratic candidate is G. Scott Schuiling, also of Rockford. The term ends 2014.
Peter F. MacGregor
State Representative 73rd District
Peter F. MacGregor, Republican incumbent running for re-election as state representative for the 73rd District has been a resident of his district for 16 years. He provided the Squire with the following information:
“I serve as the current state representative. I have served a year-and-a-half in this position. Prior to this role, I served as the Cannon Township supervisor for six years and Cannon Township trustee for four years.
“As a former business owner and job provider, as well as a local elected official, I have the experience to create efficiencies in state government through public policy and pass legislation to improve the overall business environment of our state. I have voted and co-sponsored several important reforms including an income tax cut for all taxpayers, cut legislator pay and health benefits, cut my office budget by 18 percent, eliminated lifetime welfare benefits, and eliminated the job-killing Michigan Business Tax (MBT), to name a few. Additionally, I am accessible to my constituency, holding bi-weekly district office hours and open to hearing from everyone in my district.
“I ran for office to contribute to the betterment of our state. I want to make Michigan a place where my boys and all our children can find gainful employment and raise a family. We’ve made great strides in accomplishing this, but there is much more to do and I want to continue to be part of the solution.
“While serving on the appropriations committee, we passed a balanced state budget two years in a row and four months ahead of schedule. I want to continue to find efficiencies in our state spending and continue to pass legislation to defend our hardworking taxpayers and job providers.”
For State Representative for the 74th District, a newly created district including the City of Rockford, two Republican candidates and one Democratic candidate are running for office. The Republican candidates are Steven Maas and Rob VerHeulen. The Democratic candidate is Richard Erdman of Grandville. The term ends 2014.
Steven L. Maas
State Representative 74th District
Steven Maas is seeking the position of State Representative for the 74th District. He has been a resident of Grandville the entire 53 years of his life.
“I have enjoyed serving on my local planning commission and city council and would like to continue serving in Lansing. I believe that my legal, banking and small-business background help me be effective in creating an atmosphere where people can create jobs, invest and raise families. I enjoy thoroughly researching issues, I have no ‘hidden agenda’ and strive for moral and ethical excellence.
“I enjoy public service and want to play a part in ensuring that my seven children have the same wonderful atmosphere in which to grow up that I enjoyed.
“The major challenge we face is the lack of well-paying jobs in our area. I am focused on job creation, because where jobs are plentiful and well-paying, other issues (such as the foreclosure crisis) are more easily solved. I want to create an atmosphere where job creators can flourish and not be unnecessarily hampered. I want to be responsive to my constituents and be conscientious in serving.”
Robert J. VerHeulen
State Representative 74th District
“My full name is Robert J. VerHeulen. On the ballot my name is Rob VerHeulen. I am seeking the Michigan House of Representatives seat for the 74th district and am a candidate in the GOP primary. I have lived in the district for 31 years and am a lifelong resident of Kent County. Norma and I have four married daughters and eight grandchildren.
“I am currently employed as the general counsel for the Meijer Foundation and as the Meijer Family Counsel. I am a 29-year employee of Meijer. Until his death last November, I was Fred Meijer’s personal attorney and worked with him on business and philanthropic matter.
“I am also the mayor of the City of Walker. I was elected on September 11, 2001 and have held the office since that time.
“My nonprofit boards and commissions include the Christian Rest Home, Holland Home, Gerald R. Ford Council of the Boy Scouts, Grand Valley Metropolitan Council, and the West Michigan Sports Commission.
“My experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors provides the experience necessary for serving in the legislature. In all of these sectors I have had to identify priorities and make the difficult decisions necessary for the organization to be sustainable. For example, in 2010, Walker decided to close City Hall on Fridays rather than increase taxes. It was our hope that we could weather the economic storm and return to a regular schedule when conditions improved. That is exactly what happened and we have now reopened City Hall on Fridays.
“I am seeking this office because I find public service to be very rewarding and think I have the experience and values necessary to be a productive member of the legislature. I wish to use my decades of experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to benefit the residents of the 74th district and the State of Michigan.
“My goals are to continue the progress that has been made over the past year-and-a-half to grow the Michigan economy and jobs. I am also committed to making investments in our infrastructure, our environment, and the education of our children if we are going to build a Michigan that will attract and retain jobs.
“I have been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce PAC, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce PAC, the Farm Bureau PAC, and Citizens for Traditional Values.”
Republican William Forsyth, incumbent, is the only candidate for Prosecuting Attorney, a term ending in 2016.
For Kent County Sheriff, a term ending in 2016, incumbent Lawrence Stelma, of Cedar Springs, is the only Republican on the ticket. Joining him as candidates are Democrats James L. Farris of Grand Rapids and Michael B. Scruggs of Grand Rapids.
Lawrence A. Stelma
Kent County Sheriff
Lawrence A. Stelma has been a life-long resident of the county for 63 years. “I have over 40 years as a deputy with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, starting as a corrections officer and serving in virtually every capacity, eventually working my way up to the office of sheriff. I have been the elected sheriff for three terms, the last 12 years,” he stated.
When asked what qualities he brings to office, Stelma responded, “I am the only candidate to ever have been involved with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office; who has any knowledge or experience with county government; with any experience running the largest budgeted department within county government; with any experience running the largest law enforcement and correctional institution in West Michigan; to have any experience in the many collaborative initiatives either in place or being implemented, and I’m the only candidate who has been involved in the design and operational planning of the new and soon to be operational 27 million dollar addition/remodel of the correctional facility.”
When asked why he is seeking the position, Stelma responded, “The Kent County Sheriff’s Office, like most public service entities, has weathered some very difficult times during the past eight to ten years. During these difficult times, we have served the community with pride and dedication, initiating new collaborative efforts to better serve and meet the needs of the community and we are finalizing the construction of a major correctional facility renovation. I believe it is critical and in the best interest of our community to maintain momentum and continuity during these times and not to jeopardize all that has been accomplished.”
As his goals if re-elected, Stelma stated, “The restructuring of county-wide dispatch and communication systems has been discussed for over 40 years and real progress has been made in the last six to eight years. I have been privileged to be intimately involved in the project and as phase one nears completion, I want to make sure the transition continues to be smooth and efficient and that phase two gets underway and completed. The 27 million dollar renovated correctional facility is slated for opening in 2012. The security of our community requires that the transition is smooth and efficient. It is my goal to make sure that happens.
“The development of the Sheriff’s Mounted Unit [[Kroes and Northland] is approaching the halfway point and it is my goal to bring it to completion.
“As the economic picture stabilizes, there are many new collaborative opportunities on the horizon, including the rebuilding of enforcement services recently lost to budgetary issues that we desire to pursue. It is our desire to keep our community safe for those that call Kent County home, staying vigilant in addressing both violent crime and new and developing issues that assault our quality of life.”
Kent County Sheriff
Democrat Michael Scruggs said he offers proven leadership for the position. He includes among his qualifications past board membership on the Kent County Department of Human Services Board of Directors, being instrumental in obtaining $27 million in funding to construct the Kent County Human Services complex, being a past voting member of the Michigan County Social Services Association, and Chairman of the Kent County Black Caucus Practicum. He also points out he is a Cook County Public Defenders Investigation officer, where he worked on high profile murder cases. He has been an instructor in security and investigation for the Applied Education Institute. He has been president of the Malcom X College Law Club and holds a bachelor of arts in public administration from the Chicago State University and a master of science in correction and criminal justice from Chicago State University.
Scruggs lists as his campaign platform: to maintain and secure public safety; utilize the statutory position to generate revenue; to scrutinize the correctional budget; to explore consolidation services with other public safety departments; reduction of the “revolving door population” at the Kent County Correctional Facility; crime prevention; and to establish a workable partnership in the community.
For the position of Kent County Clerk/Register, term ending 2016, incumbent Mary Hollinrake, of Grand Rapids, is the only Republican candidate. She is joined in running for the position by Democrat Richard Carrillo of Grand Rapids as a candidate.
Kent County Clerk/Register
Hollinrake is seeking re-election to her current post as Kent County Clerk/Register of Deeds. She has held this position since January 1, 2001 and worked for Kent County since January 1995, when she became Chief Deputy Clerk. She has been a county resident since 1963.
“Working in this office since 1995, I have a deep understanding of the position, its demands, its responsibilities as I also have of the county of Kent.”
She seeks the position “to continue implementing efficiencies in our four offices—elections, vital records, court clerk, and register of deeds—and cost-cutting measures to benefit the 600,000 county residents. Hollinrake invites voters to visit online to look at the websites of her various offices at www.accesskent.com.
For Kent County Treasurer, a term ending in 2016, incumbent Kenneth Parrish, of Rockford, is the only Republican candidate. Teresa Branham Walker, of Comstock Park, is the Democratic candidate.
Running for Kent County Drain Commissioner, a term ending 2016, incumbent Willaim R. Byl of Grand Rapids is the Republican candidate and Democrat Christopher M. Preville, of Grand Rapids, is the Democratic candidate.
Kent County Commissioner candidates for the third district, with a term ending 2014, are incumbent Republican Roger Morgan, of Rockford and Democratic challenger James Black, of Cedar Springs.
Kent County Commissioner
Roger Morgan is seeking re-election to the 3rd District seat on the Kent County Commission. Morgan, a Commissioner since 2001, recently served four years as chairman of the Commission after having served as vice-chair of the Board for three years as well as being the finance and physical resources committee chair. He currently serves on the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Board.
Morgan stated, “I have always been an advocate of smaller government and I promise to continue those efforts for my constituents. Our focus should be on providing services mandated by the State. With continued budget pressures, we will need to take a long hard look at the level of non-mandated and discretionary services being provided and make the necessary adjustments.”
Kent County’s Sheriff Larry Stelma and Prosecuting Attorney Bill Forsyth worked with Morgan, helping to spearhead the successful Corrections and Detention Millage renewal in 2008. Sheriff Stelma said, “Roger provides steady and unwavering leadership to the County Commission—something that is much appreciated during these challenging times.”
Prosecutor Forsyth added, “Commissioner Morgan believes strongly about the issues that matter in Kent County—issues that are important to all of the citizens.”
Other accomplishments of the Commission under Morgan’s leadership watch include the successful West Michigan Sports Commission, consolidated 9-1-1 Dispatch Authority, and a new Animal Shelter facility, just to name a few.
In his 28th year as CEO of Rockford Ambulance, Morgan is responsible for 67 employees serving the communities of Rockford, Belmont, Grand Rapids Township, Cedar Springs, Kent City, Sparta and the Village of Sand Lake.
Roger and his wife Beth live in Courtland Township and have three children: Sarah (married to Brad), Emily, and Hannah; and are proud grandparents to Molly and Olivia, daughters of Sarah and Brad.
Kent County Commissioner candidates for the fourth district are Republicans Neil Mills, of Belding, and Gary Rolls, incumbent, of Ada. Democratic candidate Thomas Golden of Lowell is a challenger.
Neil J. Mills
District 4 Kent County Commissioner
Neil J. Mills has lived in Kent County 24 years and District 4 for 14 years.
As his professional information and background, Mills provided the Squire with the following: BS from Michigan Technological Univ., Captain U.S. Army, business owner, married 22 years with six children.
Qualities to bring: Active in both the business community and agricultural community of District 4. Member of Lowell Business Chamber, active in Kent County youth fair and support Lowell area FFA.
“I believe in a no nonsense, common sense approach to government,” said Mills.
Why commissioner: “I feel there is a need for more true conservatives on the board. Business as usual is not acceptable.”
Goals: “Keep Kent County running lean and maintain a AAA bond rating. Michigan as a whole has yet to turn the corner and show economic growth.”
In Algoma Township, incumbent Supervisor Republican Dennis A. Hoemke, of Rockford, is unchallenged, as is Clerk Judy A. Bigney, a Republican, and Treasurer Deborah Ellenwood, Republican, of Sparta. All three terms end in 2016.
There are six candidates for the four trustee positions that have a term end of 2016. All are Republicans. Incumbents are Wayne L. Bigney of Sparta, Nancy Clary of Cedar Springs, Gordon Pickerd of Sparta, and James Powell of Rockford. Challengers are Kristy Lecceadone of Rockford, and Robert Newberger of Rockford.
Algoma Township Trustee
Wayne Bigney provided the Squire with the following information: ” I live at 11901 Algoma Township. I am a life-long resident of Algoma and am seeking re-election to the position of trustee.
“I am a dairy farmer and a member of the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation Board, of which I have been chairman for the past 12 years. I am a member and deacon of the Algoma Baptist Church. I have much knowledge of the township. I have good common sense, objectivity and honesty. I believe in doing the best possible for the residents of Algoma Township. I believe strongly in personal freedom, private property ownership and the rights thereof, also the least intrusive government possible. I will do the best job if re-elected; I will work to keep Algoma Township as rural as possible.”
Algoma Township Trustee
Nancy Clary has been an Algoma Township resident for over 22 years. “I have over 30 years experience in national, state, county and township government. I served as the chief administrative officer of a county in Michigan for 17 years; administered federal and state human service programs in four counties for seven years; Algoma Township trustee for the last four years, and currently serving on the Master Plan Committee; Algoma Township Planning Commission member for eight years; member Kent County Mental Health Board; past president of Michigan Association of County Administrative Officers; past president of Michigan Association of Governmental Computer Users, member United Way Board of Directors; public sector chairperson National Association of Counties Special Computer Task Force; appointed member, National Association of Counties Labor and Employment Benefits Steering Committee; appointed board member of Private Children’s Charity.
“I am the most qualified candidate for this position because of my years of experience in township, county, state and national governments. I have served in many capacities, including by way of illustration, developed and monitored multi-million dollar budgets for governmental political sub-divisions and quasi-governmental agencies; provided administrative and coordination services for many state, county and township offices and for an infinite variety of public and private programs. I was a licensed social worker for over 25 years. I am able to relate to constituents in a caring and prompt manner. As a retired administrator, I can get things done.
“I enjoy using my past education and experiences to provide public service. I believe essential services should be provided as close to home as possible. I think that local government is in the best position to understand local conditions and needs and to provide prompt, efficient and professional governmental services.
“My goal for the township is to maintain necessary services in spite of shrinking resources. It is important to me to help maintain the intrinsic values and natural beauty of the township. I will apply my extensive governmental knowledge and experience with diligence to planning and prioritizing day-to-day governance.”
Algoma Township Trustee
Robert Newberger has been a resident of Algoma Township for 20 years. His professional experience is an environmental consultant/engineer for 31 years. As experience, Newberger points out he has been on Algoma Township Planning Commission for 18 years during period of significant growth, currently serving as vice-chairman.
Algoma Township Trustee
Kristy Lecceadone has been a resident of Algoma Township for 12 years. She provided the Squire with the following information: “My profession is executive assistant at a communications company. I will bring a set of new set of eyes and new ideas to this position.
“I am seeking this position to help the township grow with its changing residents. If elected, my goal will be to bring the wages and benefits to sensible levels for those elected to serve our community.
“It should be considered an honor to be elected as a township official, not a permanent job paid for by the taxpayers. It is in the best interest of our community to have new blood involved with the day-to-day operations.”
Gordon L. Pickerd
Algoma Township Trustee
Gordon Pickerd has been a resident of Algoma Township for 18 years. He is retired and does a lot of volunteer work.
When asked what makes him the most qualified to hold this position, his response was, “My time and experience serving on other boards and helping people and organizations move forward in a positive manner.”
When asked what are the two most important issues facing an Algoma Township Trustee and how would he address them, Pickerd answered, “Maintaining a positive attitude while helping the township grow within a down economy; maintaining property evaluations at a level that does not chase residents from their homes.”
In Cannon Township, Republican incumbent Supervisor Steve Grimm of Rockford is challenged by Republican Dennis Smith of Belmont. The term ends 2016.
Cannon Township Supervisor
Steve Grimm and his wife Amber and have lived in Cannon Township since 1994. “We have three children; Davis, 13, Dylan, 9, and Eleanor, 7.”
Grimm provided the Squire with the following information about his experience: “Appointed to the Cannon Township Planning Commission in 1996, serving through 2001. During this appointment, served on many PC sub-committees to approve Planned Unit Developments, working with impacted township residents and developers to guide and adjust proposed development projects. Re-appointed to the Planning Commission in 2007.
“Appointed to the ZBA as the Planning Commission representative in 1996, serving through 2001. Served as ZBA Chairman during this time. Elected in the 2008 general election as a township trustee, serving through 2010. Elected to this position in the 2000 general election, serving through 2004. Appointed to this position in 2010 to complete the resigning supervisor’s term. Chair of Kent County Supervisors’ Association, 2012; Kent County Literacy Council, Board of Directors, 1990 through 1996; Kent County Corporate Spelling Bee, judge, 1996 through 2011; member, River Rock Church, Cannon Township, providing pro bono legal services to the church and its under-served parishioners.
When asked about his academic and professional background, Grimm listed the following: 1980 graduate of Grand Rapids Community College with an associate’s degree; 1982 graduate of University of Michigan, BA, with honors; 1985 graduate of University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D; 1985to present, practicing attorney, licensed in Michigan and Illinois.
“I bring experience and a proven record of success to the supervisor’s office. Here is a partial list of the board’s accomplishments during my term-and-a-half: successfully reconstructed the Blakely/Belding Road intersection; redid the water system in the Silver Lake Condos; took a conservative approach to spending resulting in a build-up of our general fund balance; obtained low-cost bonds to pay for, and accelerate completion of the Bella Vista sewer lift station two years ahead of schedule; acquired state grants to offset 90% of engineering cost for improvements to two sewer lift stations; instituted a proactive approach to sewer maintenance, ensuring long-term financial and mechanical viability, without drastic rate increases; reassigned treasurer and clerk positions to part-time status; increased employee contributions to health care to 20%; began transition of sewer maintenance to NKSA, requiring competitive bidding on all projects; added citizens to all major committees; added public comment at the end of every meeting; removed the time limit on individual public comment.
“I am running to fulfill what many can understand: the challenge of a job well begun but not yet finished.
When asked what are his goals if elected Grimm stated: “To solidify the proactive approach to sewer maintenance and improvements; to continue our efforts to involve citizens in committees; to continue our steady march to fiscal health; and to conduct a review of all ordinances to determine enforceability and efficacy, and to ensure an economic viability of our township, conducive to the businesses that serve our residents. We will do all this while maintaining and protecting the character of our township.”
Cannon Township Supervisor
Dennis Smith has been a resident of the township for 18 years. His professional background includes data analyst/modeler and former business owner of a statewide service organization for 25 years.
He counts among his qualities to bring to office the following: excellent leadership, administrative, and people skills; extensive experience with board, committee, budget, and project work; experience working with state legislators on many issues.
“I believe the primary function of local government is to serve and be responsive to the needs of its citizens and businesses. I have a strong history of leading by serving that I hope to put to use for the citizens of Cannon Township.
“I will act with balance, fairness and equity in all areas of interaction in and on behalf of Cannon Township. I will expect the highest levels of transparency, service and integrity from all officers, employees and vendors of the township. I will actively encourage business and residential growth in our township with a balanced approach that adheres to the township’s Master Land Use Plan; an approach that respects the historic rural character that makes Cannon Township a truly unique community in which to live, recreate, and to do business.”
Incumbent Republican Clerk Bonnie Shupe Blackledge of Belmont is challenged by Republican Ken Carozza of Rockord. Incumbent trustee seeking the position of treasurer is Richard Davies of Rockford, challenged by Republican James Alles, also of Rockord.
Bonnie Shupe Blackledge
Cannon Township Clerk
Bonnie Shupe Blackledge has been a resident of Cannon Township for 36 years.
“I have been the Cannon Township clerk for 20 years. During this time, I have also chaired the Recreation Committee, Cemetery Committee, Bear Creek Watershed Committee, Facilities Committee, and Election Commission. I serve on the Personnel and the IT Committee. I have served on the Board of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, United Growth of Kent County, the Green Infrastructure Leadership Council of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance, and Grand Valley Metropolitan Council.
“Currently, I am president of the Kent County Clerks’ Association and a member of West Michigan Clerks’ Association, the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, and the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, where I have received the Certified Municipal Clerk and Master Municipal Clerk accreditations. I sit on the executive board of the Kent County Chapter of Michigan Townships Association.
“During my time as Cannon Clerk, I have streamlined the election administration process, implemented electronic poll books, and applied for and received funding for several grants for trail construction and watershed protection.
“Prior to my election as Cannon Clerk, I taught elementary school for Rockford schools, and then served as a substitute teacher in several districts while raising my three children. I graduated with a BA from Grand Valley State University in 1976.
“I am hard-working, tenacious, and continually strive to improve. I love working with people and feeling as though what I am doing is making a difference. I am always stretching myself to do more and push myself to excel. I am never satisfied with the status quo. These qualities help me bring innovation into the clerk’s office and the other areas in which I serve.
“I have been in office for 20 years, and I would like to serve the residents of Cannon Township for four more years. I have several projects underway right now that I would like to see through to completion, such as the extension of the Cannon Trail system and the development of a park at the Township Center Property. (I applied for three grants last spring for these projects that I hope will be awarded in December.) I believe that I have a lot to offer this community and will use my leadership skills to continue making Cannon Township a great place to live.”
Goals if re-elected include: continue efforts to expand the Cannon Township trail system to connect with trails in Ada Township, Luton Park, and eventually the White Pine Trail as well as to other areas within our community; see the completion of the Township Center Park and the enhancement of Bostwick Lake Park; work with the Cemetery Committee to improve the township cemeteries; continue to improve the efficiency of the clerk’s office; serve on an effective board that maintains fiscal stability and continues to provide desired services to the Cannon Township taxpayers.
Cannon Township Clerk
Ken Carozza has been a resident of the township for 14 years.
“I teach at Cornerstone University and have experience in the business world, nonprofit organizations and public policy education/advocacy.
“My nature is to cast a vision for bettering any situation in which I find myself. My skills include insight into trends that can harm or help. I know how to analyze and comment on a contract, research important issues and advocate for improving government. My view of servant leadership is simple. An office holder is only a temporary steward of his/her privileged position. I delight in bringing people together in order to accomplish praiseworthy, measurable outcomes.
“Cannon Township needs to elect new conservative leaders. I maintain that free market principles—as they are expressed within systems of accountability—create a fair, competitive playing field. This approach provides opportunity and incentive to work hard and produce quality. When it comes to the appropriate size, efficiency and tax revenue base of government I always ask, ‘What would Ronald Reagan do?’
“As a policy maker, I will judiciously advance healthy business growth in our rural, family friendly town. This includes discouraging vice industries and policies that destabilize our children’s character. As a town legislator, I will work to restore and supersede the past level of sheriff patrols. We need to be at our best in all emergency services. As clerk, I will fight to safeguard elections from the blight of voter fraud. As a resident of Lake Bella Vista, I am committed to protecting our own water supply from usurpation.”
Cannon Township Treasurer
Jim Alles is a life-long resident of the township. As his professional background, Alles was a purchasing manager for Steelcase for 26-and-a-half years and is retired.
“My education background: I have a degree in mathematics from Western Michigan University, and high ethical standards and work ethic.”
He said he has a strong computer background, has developed PC applications for Steelcase, and was an information tech manager for Greystone International. For his work background he stated, “I was responsible for over 75 million in purchase contracts per year as purchasing manager.”
Alles said he brings ethics and values, was a Scoutmaster BSA Troop 228 for six years, advancement chairman for Kent (Eagle Spirit) district for six years, was on the Eagle Board of Review Committee 10 years, and a member of Bella Vista Church 28 years.
“I have s strong desire to serve Cannon Township. My family has lived here for five generations. Current treasurer, Jim LaPeer, is retiring. We have been friends for many years; he is supporting me.”
Alles’ goals if elected are to insure all spending in necessary and at the lowest cost—highest value for the township; to represent ALL of the residents of the township.
Cannon Township Treasurer
Richard Davies is incumbent Trustee of Cannon Township seeking the position of Cannon Township Treasurer. Davies reports that he has been a resident of the district for 20 years and has been in the Rockford school district for 44 years.
“Before my retirement, I had 40 years experience in the financial area; the last 24 years at Frigidare in Greenville as vice president of finance. Currently I am serving my 20th year as trustee on the Cannon Township Board.”
Davies said he will continue to serve the residents of Cannon Township with his experience in both finances and township government.
“Early this year the Township Board reduced the position of treasurer to a part-time position. This part-time position will fit in with my retirement plans.”
Davies said his goals are to continue serving on township committees—finance, budget, sewer, roads, and salaries and benefits—and to continue to show responsibility to the residents of Cannon Township. He also said he will continue to vote against increasing township taxes and to maintain an adequate fund balance in all of the township accounts.
There are seven Republican candidates, all of Rockford, for the four positions of trustee, all which end in 2016. Incumbents are Deb Diepenhorst, Diane Jones and Robert McBrien. Challengers are Annamarie Bauer, Tim Nelson, Jim Mapes-Pearson and Michael Warmbier.
Cannon Township Trustee
Diane Jones has been a resident of the township for nine years.
“I bring twelve years of experience in the commercial insurance industry to the Trustee position and earned a CPCU (Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter) designation. I am currently serving as a Trustee (was appointed to the position). I previously served 2004-2008 as an elected Cannon Township Trustee. In addition, I enjoyed serving the residents of Cannon Township as an election worker for precinct six, and a Zoning Board of Appeals member. I am currently an active member of the following committees: Chair of Facilities, Law Enforcement, Cemetery, Professional Oversight and Salary and Benefits.”
“As a Trustee there are additional responsibilities available within committee work. My previous professional background provides me with the experience to professionally request quotes for Cannon Township such as improvements to Bostwick Lake Park, the Township Center and the Cannon Township Historical Society building. I am passionate, productive and professional regarding fulfilling the duties of a Cannon Township Trustee.”
“As a Trustee, I believe in open and transparent management, downsizing government and making decisions that are fiscally responsible. I enjoy the position and commit to fulfilling the responsibilities of a Trustee by voting on all issues, making decisions that are in the best interest of Cannon Township’s fiduciary health and successfully completing other duties assigned to me by the board.”
Her goals if elected are the following: “my focus will continue to be to serve the best interests of the residents of Cannon Township. I am currently part of committees planning improvements to Bostwick Lake Park, the Cannon Township Trail and our Cemeteries. I would appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve the residents of Cannon Township.”
Annamarie Christine Bauer
Cannon Township Trustee
In October 2012, Annamarie Bauer will have been a resident of the district for 20 years. When asked about her township experience, she provided the following information: seven-time appointee (by four different supervisors and boards) to the Cannon Township Planning Commission; served four years as chairperson; served three years as vice chairperson ; served 11 years as planning commissioner.
Work experience includes the following: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, planning specialist, eight years; sales manager for Michigan Distribution and district sales manager for a national manufacturer, nine years; project manager/designer for Michigan-based consulting firms, nine years; state-licensed landscape architect, 24 years; American Society of Landscape Architects, Michigan Chapter treasurer, five years; fundraising chairperson, one year.
Bauer has a bachelor degree from Michigan State University (landscape architecture).
“I will bring local knowledge, dedication, resourcefulness, honesty and integrity. I am seeking a position on the Cannon Township Board to provide thoughtful, deliberate consideration of township business and ensure it is conducted through an open, public and transparent process. I offer a unique, well-rounded perspective gained from my experience on the township planning commission, education, and employment in both the private sector and government.”
Her goals if elected are the following: “support growth and development in accordance with the community vision set forth by the Cannon Township Master Plan and Zoning Ordinances to insure change enhances the quality of life for all residents; preserve and protect the rural landscapes and natural features including lakes, wetlands, streams, woodlands, rolling hills and agricultural fields that uniquely define Cannon Township, making it a desirable place to live, work and play for our citizens.”
Cannon Township Trustee
Deb Michelle Diepenhorst and her husband Craig have lived in the Lake Bella Vista community since 1998.
When asked about her professional experience, Diepenhorst provided the following information: “I have a BBA in marketing and a master’s of science in communication, both from Grand Valley State University. I’ve worked for two Fortune 500 companies. I was a sales representative for the Pillsbury Company; a marketing research analyst and then the community affairs manager for Spartan Stores Inc. I’m an independent marketing consultant and a very active trustee for Cannon Township; currently involved in the following committees: Zoning Board of Appeals, Law Enforcement, Sewer, Cemetery, Salary and Benefits, Professional Oversight, and Fire (I volunteered my time to help during the fire station expansion, saving the township $2,500 in interior decorating costs).”
Diepenhorst responded with the following when asked what qualities she will bring to office: “The same qualities I currently bring: dedication, ambition, and drive to do the best job possible.”
When asked why she is seeking re-election to the position, she stated, “I have a never-ending passion and commitment to improving our community.”
When asked what are her goals if re-elected, Diepenhorst responded, “To continue the initiatives the Cannon Township Board has started; adding to our fund balance, proactive sewer maintenance, and continuing improvements of our township cemeteries, just to name a few. I want to continue our relationship with the sheriff’s department to provide the best protection possible for our residents. And, lastly, do what I can to help our business community prosper.”
Cannon Township Trustee
Timothy James Nelson has been a resident of Cannon Township for 12 years. His professional background includes pastor of spiritual formation, Ada Bible Church; founding pastor, BridgeWay Community Church; Cannon Twp. Candidate, for 73rd House of Representatives, finished second in Cannon Township.
Qualities Nelson hopes to bring to office are listed as: common sense, integrity, ability to listen to the concerns of others, decisive leadership, and conservative values.
Nelson provided the following information to the Squire: “I believe we need a change of leadership in our township. I desire to serve our township selflessly, with fiscally conservative values and a commitment to preserve the rural nature of our historic township. I desire to bring a strong sense of integrity, transparency and a willingness to listen to the concerns of our township residents.”
In response to asking what goals he hopes to achieve if elected, Nelson offered the following: restore our police protection to safer levels; protect our natural resources, including our lakes, rivers, streams and creeks; preserve the rural nature of our township; work to promote a strong economy within our township; serve our township with selfless service and integrity.
Cannon Township Trustee
Jim Mapes-Pearson has been a resident of Cannon Township for 15 years. He describes his profession and/or experience as “20 years of experience in global operations management; eight-year member, and in my fifth year as chairman of the Cannon Township Planning Commission; three-year member of the Cannon Township Zoning Board of Appeals, including one year as chairman.”
For qualities he will bring to the office, he listed the following: highly organized, disciplined professional with over 10 years experience with balancing business and residential growth while enhancing the quality of life in Cannon Township.
“I would like to use my experience to improve the township’s budgeting, bidding and personnel processes to ensure taxpayers are getting the best value for every dollar entrusted to their board.”
Goals if elected include restoring the 25% reduction in dedicated police coverage; ensuring the bidding process is followed; continuing to enhance the quality of life in the township as the economy recovers and development begins again.
Robert J. McBrien
Cannon Township Trustee
Robert J. McBrien is a 25-year resident of the district.
“I have worked in public accounting for 30 years. I have been a partner in the CPA firm of Helmholdt + Company since 1992. I have six years of experience as Cannon Township trustee and more than 12 years experience on the Planning Commission.”
When asked what qualities he brings to office he listed the following: honesty and integrity; business acumen; commitment to listen to the citizens; fiscal responsibility.
“I have a strong desire to continue to build on the vision which made Cannon Township one of the most desirable communities in all of Kent County.”
When asked what goals he seeks to attain if re-elected, McBrien stated, “Return to bidding of all contracts; open and transparent government; improvement of roadways and modification to dangerous intersections; maintain open space planning philosophy and adherence to the Master Plan.”
Cannon Township Trustee
Michael Warmbier submitted the following information to the Squire: ” I am a Republican seeking the position of trustee for Cannon Township. I have lived in Cannon Township since May 1999, just over 13 years. For over 20 years now, my professional career has centered around technology consulting services. Working for consulting companies has allowed me to be exposed to many aspects of technology, not just a single environment. It has also allowed me to use my planning and project management skills while helping others project and plan for future needs.
“In addition to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Commission experience, I bring my professional consulting background and project management skills to the township. Eight years ago I considered running for trustee. Realizing the current Township Board at the time was doing quite well, I opted to get involved in other ways. I began serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals, appointed by Pete MacGregor. Four years ago I considered running for trustee. Still realizing the current Township Board at the time was doing well, I again chose to stay involved in other ways, and also accepted an appointment to the Planning Commission.
“Today, as a regular attendee of the Township Board meetings, chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals and a member of the Planning Commission, I see the current Township Board still doing well, yet opposed by others who are looking to replace them. I made a decision that it was finally the time to enter the race and run for township trustee and to be a part of making Cannon Township the great place that it is.”
In Courtland Township, incumbents for supervisor, clerk and treasurer are unchallenged and all Rockford residents. Supervisor is Charles Porter, Republican; clerk is Marilynn Crosby, Democrat; and treasurer Jerry Davis, Republican. Their terms end in 2016.
Charles J. Porter
Courtland Township Supervisor
Charles J. Porter, age 59, is running for Courtland Township Supervisor, currently serving as Township Supervisor, appointed in November 2010 to fill out Jim McIntyre’s term after he unexpectedly passed away in October 2010.
“I am a lifelong resident of Courtland Township, and own and operate Porter Grain Farms LLC with son Andrew Porter and wife Gayla Porter. I have served three-and-a-half terms as a trustee on the Township Board and one-and-a-half terms as supervisor. I have common sense and a fair approach to all issues. I do believe in an open and honest line of communication between the public, Township Board and area communities. I enjoy working with the current township board, also others within the Kent County Road Commission, Metro Council and North Kent Sewer Authority. If elected as supervisor I want to be sure township tax dollars are spent and managed wisely. I will work to maintain and improve our roads and support our fire department. I will continue to be a good listener to others and be a strong honest spokesman for Courtland Township on all issues.”
Marilynn J. Crosby
Courtland Township Clerk
Marilynn J. Crosby provided the following information: “I am seeking re-election to the office of township clerk, which I have held since 1999. I was appointed clerk at that time to replace the retiring clerk after serving as deputy clerk for 10 years. I have been a Courtland Township resident for 37 years, and have served the township as deputy and clerk for 23 years. During that time I have handled voter registration, election administration, board minutes, and records management for the township. As clerk, I have been involved in the decision-making process of the Township Board for the past 13 years, and I hope to continue to serve the residents of the township.”
Jerry L. Davis
Courtland Township Treasurer
Jerry L. Davis has been a resident of the township for 36 years.
“I retired from Herman Miller in Zeeland where I was a plant director. Currently I operate a farm with my son Kevin. We grow corn and soybeans all around the Rockford and Coral area.
“I bring a lot of experience working with people, which I enjoy. We have a lot of great people in this area, which I have known for years. My experience in industry is very helpful at the township. Courtland Township is a very nice place to work. The people here are interested in working for the people of the township. They go out of their way to help people. My goal is to continue to make doing business with Courtland Township a fun and happy experience.”
There are six Republican candidates for four positions of trustee in Courtland Township. All are Rockford residents. Incumbents include MaryAnn Andersen, Colleen Brown and Thomas F. Kinney. Challengers are Mike Krygier, Matt McConnon and Kimberly Jan McIntyre.
Courtland Township Trustee
Mary Ann Andersen has been a resident of the township for 37 years and is retired. As qualities she brings to office, she notes she is a hard worker, a good listener, “and I do my homework.”
“I have served on the Courtland Board for many years, first as clerk, then as trustee. I feel I bring experience; I have served the township since 1988. We have a Board that is fiscally responsible and works well together. I would like to continue to be a part and serve the residents of Courtland.”
Colleen L. Brown
Courtland Township Trustee
Republican Colleen L. Brown has been a resident since 1985. Brown works as a mortgage banker and Courtland Township trustee and zoning administrator.
When asked of her political experience she provided the following information: “Since 1976, dep. clerk and township secretery of Groveland Township; eight years as deputy treasurer of Oakland County; deputy treasurer eight years at Courtland Township, Kent County; Planning Commission member and Rec. Board secretary, Zoning Board of Appeals Rec. secretary, township zoning administrator, incumbent twp. trustee, eight years.”
She stated, “Courtland Township is very important to me. I feel my past experience, knowledge, caring, open-minded approach to dealing with all aspects of the township and its residents, expresses I am a very dedicated, loyal and trustworthy candidate for the township trustee position. I have YOUR best interest in mind. My goal is to maintain the rural character of the township. Your vote is very much appreciated and I will do my best to represent you well.”
Thomas F. Kinney
Courtland Township Trustee
Republican Thomas F. Kinney is a retired bank executive by profession. His political experience includes his current status as trustee for Courtland Township. He is president of the Kent County Chapter of the Michigan Township Association and a board member of the Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation.
When asked why he should be re-elected, Kinney responded: “Presently I am an incumbent trustee at Courtland Township, appointed Tier member representing three Kent County townships in 2010, elected president of the Kent County Chapter of the Michigan Township Association in 2011, and appointed board member to the Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation, plus served on several committees relative to my positions. I have a bachelor of business administration from Davenport University. I am a lifelong resident of Kent County and have lived in Courtland Township for 10 years. My goals are to continue with the work I am presently doing and accepting additional responsibilities as they become available. I have the training, knowledge and desire to be re-elected trustee to Courtland Township.”
Courtland Township Trustee
Republican Matt McConnon is currently chair on the Courtland Township Planning Commission, where he has served since 2005. He has been on staff at Rockford Ambulance, where he is the operations manager. In addition, he has been president of Kent County Medical Services for the past three years.
“I am a very fiscally conservative person,” McConnon said of the qualities he would bring to office. “I can bring fresh look to the township, a fresh perspective.”
McConnon said he is running for the position because he believes in being involved in the community where he lives. He said he is not one to complain unless he is willing to step up and be part of the solution.
McConnon said the township is generally pretty well run, so he is not interested in making major changes, but said a change he believes would be beneficial is to open up parts of the township’s most used roads to zoning which would allow more business.
“I love the farm country, but we only have limited zoning for business on Northland Drive and Fourteen Mile Road.”
He said he believes it would be wise to at least “open the door” to allow more business on those roads.
Courtland Township Trustee
Kimberly McIntyre provided the
with the following information: “I have lived in Courtland Township for 25 years with my husband and family. We live on a small generational farm and our children are involved in 4-H and I have been involved in leading 4-H groups for 24 years. I enjoy spending time outside with my family, working on projects.
“My interest in Courtland Township has always been strong, as my father-in-law was the supervisor for many years. Township issues were good coffee table talk. At this time, I would like to become more actively involved in the township.
“The trustee acts as a representative of the people as voting member of the township board. If elected my goal is to meet the constituents of Courtland Township and hear their views on issues that will shape the township. We live in a beautiful township that understands growth while maintaining the agriculture community. I would like to help preserve the uniqueness of our township.
“Currently, I am the chairperson for Courtland Township Zoning Board of Appeals and work the township elections. I am also a project manager for McIntyre Builders Inc., a realtor for Property Associates LLC. During the school year, I am substitute teacher for Professional Educational Services. I am also working on my master’s at Ferris State University in special education.”
Courtland township residents will also vote on a fire protection millage. The wording is as follows:
Shall the increase in the tax rate limitation for Courtland Township be renewed, and levied on all taxable property in the amount of .8825 mill ($0.8825 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the years 2012-2017, both inclusive?
This proposal is for renewal of a previously authorized millage. The purpose of this special millage is to provide fire protection for the Township, including the operation of the Township Fire Department, the purchase and maintenance of fire and rescue motor vehicles, apparatus and equipment, the maintenance of the Township fire stations, and the payment of any debt on fire stations, and the funds generated will be disbursed to the Township for those purposes. A levy of .8825 mill would provide revenue of approximately $230,513.96 in the first calendar year of the renewal.
In Grattan Township, the supervisor, clerk, treasurer and trustees are all unopposed with terms that end in 2016. All are Republicans. Supervisor is Franklin J. Force of Belding, clerk is Jim Fues of Rockford, treasurer is Sabrina Freeman of Rockford, and trustees are Dennis Heffron of Belding and Paul Knoerl of Rockford.
Sabrina K. Freeman
Grattan Township Treasurer
Sabrina K. Freeman provided the Squire with the following information: “I have been a resident of Grattan Township for 16 years. I have an associate degree in accounting from GRCC. I was hired in April 2005 as deputy treasurer, appointed as treasurer in July 2006, due to the resignation of the treasurer, then was elected in 2008. I will continue to be available for the residents and perform the treasurer’s statutory duties with integrity.”
Grattan Township residents will also be voting on two proposals, both millage renewal for the Township Fire Department. MILLAGE RENEWAL PROPOSITION 0.9441 MILL FOR TOWNSHIP FIRE DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS AND OTHER FIRE PROTECTION PURPOSES—Shall the previously‐approved increase in the Township of Grattan tax rate limitation be renewed and levied in the years 2013‐2016, both inclusive, in the amount of .9441 mill ($0.9441 per $1,000 of taxable value), subject to reduction as provided by law, on taxable property in the Township?
The purpose of this millage levy is to provide fire protection within the Township, including the operation of the township fire department and the acquisition and maintenance of fire and rescue vehicles and apparatus and real property and improvements used for fire protection purposes. It is estimated that a levy of .9441 mill would provide revenue of $142,177.93 in the first calendar year. The revenue from this millage levy will be disbursed to the Township of Grattan.
PROPOSAL II MILLAGE RENEWAL PROPOSITION 0.4720 MILL FOR ACQUISITION OF FIRE AND RESCUE VEHICLES, APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT, AND REAL PROPERTY AND IMPROVEMENTS FOR TOWNSHIP FIRE DEPARTMENT PURPOSES—Shall the previously approved increase in the Township of Grattan tax rate limitation be renewed and levied in the years 2013-2016, both inclusive, in the amount of .4720 mill ($0.4720 PER $1,000 of taxable value), subject to reduction as provided by law, on taxable property in the Township?
The purpose of this millage levy is for acquisition of fire and rescue vehicles, apparatus and equipment and real property and improvements for Township fire department purposes. It is estimated that a levy of .4720 mill would provide revenue of $71,081.44 in the first calendar year. The revenue from this millage levy will be disbursed to the Township of Grattan.
In Plainfield Township, incumbent Supervisor George Meek is challenged by Jay D. Spencer of Grand Rapids. Both are Republicans. The term ends 2016.
Plainfield Charter Township Supervisor
George K. Meek has been a resident of Plainfield Township for 63 years. “I was born and raised in Plainfield Township, but I was out of state from 1957 to 1967.”
Meek counts among his professional experience a career in commercial banking for 25 years. “For the last 24 years, I have been self-employed. I own a loan/mortgage brokering company. I have been a real estate broker since 1988. During my 10-year absence, I served in the United States Air Force (four years). I was an Urban, Illinois police officer (five years) and worked in the electrical department at the University of Illinois (one year).”
Meek brings to office 34 years of township government experience. “I’ve been the township supervisor the last seven and three-quarter years. I also spent eight years as a township trustee, 11 years on the Planning Commission and 14 years on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
“I enjoy working with and helping people. All governmental bodies are not the easiest to deal with and I feel with my experience, I can make a difference for our township residents.
“I want to be part of and lead the Plainfield Charter Township team that is responsible for ‘holding our own’ during these very trying financial times and to make a positive productive comeback.”
Jay D. Spencer
Plainfield Charter Township Supervisor
Republican Jay D. Spencer has lived in the township 14 years and is a graduate of Rockford High School. He is a business and real estate consultant.
“I have lived in the township twice for a total of 14 years. I have served as precinct delegate and worked on many campaigns. I was chairman of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors Government Affairs Committee.” Spencer stated that he has been extremely active in the community. He has served as co-chair of Friends of Northview Public Schools for the successful Building & Site Millage Extension in 2010 and the fall 2011 millage increase. He helped guide a talented team to secure a 28% voter turnout in the fall election where one proposal was successful and the other lost by two votes. He was an active Cub Scout Den and Pack Leader with Pack 3219. He coached youth basketball and assisted with lacrosse. He is a member of the North East End Business Association.
“As township supervisor, I will bring to the Board a new vision; a collaborative, modern leadership style; and a sense of humor. I will be able to use my skills, to lead the Board in an innovative direction and reignite the spirit and passion of the residents of Plainfield Township.
“Here is a list of some of the things that I would propose to improve communications with the residents of Plainfield Township: The Profile Online would be an electronic version of the 38-year-old printed and mailed township newsletter. The electronic version would be produced and available monthly. I would suggest that we continue to mail out The Profile Printed Edition three times a year as it is now.
“Many people depend on social media to receive their information. A township Facebook page would allow the township to communicate vital information in an almost ‘real time’ basis. It would also allow for a dialogue with our residents.
“The township’s website should be enhanced to make it more user-friendly. The enhancement should make it easier for updates and changes to be made. We would also explore initiating a township blog. This to would be another means of communicating with our residents.
“I have a plan to restructure the schedule, flow and typical agenda items of the township board meetings. This plan would make it easier for residents to learn and participate in the governance of their township. In an effort to make township meetings available to more people, I would propose videotaping all township meetings. This could be done in conjunction with the local schools and the two cable companies who serve Plainfield Township. These taped meetings could also be available through a video-sharing website like YouTube. It would also be a goal to stream the meetings live, online. Eventually, it would be nice if all township meetings could be streamed.
“Appoint a Citizen’s Local Officer’s Compensation Commission—this commission would be charged with determining what non-statutory jobs each elected official would be responsible for and the corresponding compensation. This commission would also review the decision of the Township Board to regarding the compensation for the supervisor, clerk and treasurer.
“We need to reignite the spirit and pride of the residents of Plainfield Township. Plainfield Township is a great place to live and work. Each resident is vital to creating a desirable quality of life. We need to be highlighting the attributes of our township—we have many. The township government is only as good as its residents’ expectations: high expectations = high functioning township!
“The four school districts are the cogs that make up our community. Typically no one says, ‘I live in Plainfield.’ They identify with their school community. Without strong, energetic schools the township cannot be its best. The quality of the schools is in direct proportion to the value placed on the township, which in turn is in direct correlation to the township’s property values and property taxes.
“Developing a strategic plan for the township would include developing an Action Plan that would dictate and provide guidelines on how township elected officials and staff provide services to our residents. This process would include resident input, regular monitoring, evaluation and metric achievement.
“Plainfield Township needs to be proactive in developing a business-friendly community. Not only do vibrant, diverse businesses provide a desirable quality of life, they also help to increase township revenues in a number of ways. I would propose to appoint a community task force to review and make recommendations on improving the township’s business climate. If necessary, this could include changes to zoning ordinances and township policies and procedures. With existing staff, I would also propose to develop a marketing team to target, encourage, assist and develop businesses to locate in Plainfield Township.”
Incumbent Clerk Scott Harvey of Belmont is challenged by Ruth Ann Karnes of Grand Rapids. Both are Republicans and the term ends in 2016.
Kenneth Scott Harvey
Plainfield Charter Township Clerk
Kenneth Scott Harvey has been a resident of the township for 12 years. He was elected as township clerk in 2008.
Under qualities he brings to office, he lists: integrity, honesty, a passion to serve the voters and a desire to make sure government is operated in an open and transparent way, all of the time.
He stated he wants to continue to work toward eliminating wasteful government spending and do everything possible to make Plainfield Township the premier township in Kent County.
As for goals if re-elected, he states: “To continue to make sure elections are administered with 100% accuracy. Work with new Board members to implement the changes that will be needed in all departments to make sure taxes and fees are not raised and connection fees for water and sewer are equitably charged.”
Ruth Ann Karnes
Plainfield Charter Township Clerk
Ruth Ann Karnes has been a resident and homeowner for 38 years in the Northview School District.
“Within 20 years I had achieved my career goals in radio and television sales and management, and made the decision at age 42 to stay home to raise our two young daughters, ages 2 and 3. My professional experience required the ability to work with business owners, community leaders, corporate management and coworkers. As a manager I wrote budgets, set revenue goals for the company, hired and trained employees, conducted seminars, and traveled as necessary for the companies I worked for. This professional experience also served me well when volunteering during our children’s school years and in teaching our girls a great work ethic, setting goals, time management and proper social etiquette.
“I will bring to office all of the previously named skills/qualities plus a wealth of knowledge about Plainfield Township. I have served on the Zoning Board of Appeals. I have spent the last five years attending nearly every Board of Trustees meeting and many Planning Commission meetings. As a result of spending hundreds of hours learning how the township works, who makes it work, how the different departments function and interact with the citizens, what the major financial and personnel needs are, and how the present clerk manages the office of clerk, I realized there was a great need for a change in that office.”
When asked why she decided to run for office, Karnes stated, “I have never sought any political office until now. I felt compelled to run for clerk because I strongly disagree with the present clerk’s voting record. He has voted against maintaining and improving essential services provided to citizens by Plainfield Township. He has claimed revenue production and cost savings that are not correct and cannot be supported by accounting records. He denigrates township employees, management and fellow Board of Trustee members in public without substantiation. He makes promises no single Board member can accomplish without others agreeing with and supporting his agenda.”
Her goals if elected are the following: “Restore integrity, efficiency and accountability to the office of clerk; work to increase police presence and maintain vital fire services; conduct elections in an exemplary manner in accordance with the laws of the state of Michigan; set office hours so the public and coworkers will know when the clerk will be available; protect and maintain our infrastructure; preserve and improve parks and create new recreational opportunities; provide the necessary resources for ordinance enforcement; work with citizens, community leaders, business owners and Board members to create an even better environment to live, conduct business and work in Plainfield Charter Township.”
The position of treasurer in Plainfield Township is defended by incumbent Jack Hagedorn of Rockford against challenger William Brinkman Jr., also of Rockford.
Plainfield Charter Township Treasurer
Republican William Brinkman has a bachelor of science degree in business administration with accounting major and master’s of business administration degree from the University of Arizona, attained in four years. He is a 31-year resident of Plainfield Township and a Precinct 11 delegate for two terms. Brinkman was a lieutenant colonel and honor cadet, Florida Military Academy. He is a Korean War veteran enlisted in the Army as a private, honorably discharged as a captain. He was a finance officer 16 years with the American Legion Carl A. Johnson Post and board of directors member of the American Legion and Boat and Canoe Club. He was a nine-year treasurer and board member of Camp Concordia, Gowen, where he was responsible for payroll, accounts payable, financial reports and federal and state reports.
His goals as treasurer are to be accountable to voters, hold open meetings with voters, use his experience to improve Plainfield Township operations and to implement an audit system to assure compliance to law.
He lists as qualities he will bring to office as: honest, conscientious, dependable, loyal, and a high degree of leadership.
Plainfield Charter Township Treasurer
Jack Hagedorn has been a resident of the township for over 20 years. He is currently Plainfield Township treasurer as well as finance director of Allendale Township.
“As finance director, I have collected and distributed tax money and invested township funds for over ten years.
“As Plainfield trustee, I have voted against raising taxes twice, voted for two new parks and voted to increase police protection by two additional officers. Also I have saved the township $58,000 by accepting the treasurer’s job at $20,000 without fringe benefits.
“On the Budget and Finance Committee, I helped prepare the Township Budget for seven years and identified and solved a $700,000 per year retiree health care liability.
“On the Planning Commission I have approved new businesses such as Tim Hortons, Florentines and Advantage Health Medical Campus and long-term care facility.
“As treasurer, I collect $23 million in taxes and distribute it to over 20 taxing authorities accurately and in accordance with Michigan Tax Law.
“I bring to the office my honesty and integrity as I serve the residents of Plainfield Township to the best of my ability. I believe in government that is transparent and accountable. I believe that I have been a valuable asset to the township and want to continue to be.”
When asked his goals if re-elected as Plainfield Township treasurer he stated, “To continue to encourage new business to come to the township; in a very tight economy, continue to work on decreasing expenses rather than raising taxes so that the township can have a balanced budget; improve the efficiency and responsiveness of the department of the township treasurer to the citizens of Plainfield Township.”
For trustee in Plainfield Charter Township, the four positions are being sought by a field of five, all Republicans. Incumbents are Victor Matthews of Comstock Park, Jon Rathbun of Belmont, and Charles Weldon of Belmont. Challengers are David Grant of Rockford, and Dale A. Pomeroy of Grand Rapids.
Victor M. Matthews
Plainfield Charter Township Trustee
Victor M. Matthews has been a resident of the district since 1984. When asked what is his profession and/or experience, Matthews responded, “I have operated a business in Plainfield Charter Township for over 25 years. Prior to that, I operated a business in New York City, worked for a major international nonprofit organization and was a university professor. My educational background includes a BA from Calvin College, an MA from Central Michigan University and a Ph.D. from Washington State University.
When asked why he is seeking the position, he responded, “I am running for trustee because, of all the candidates, I am the most qualified in terms of education, experience and understanding of the issues facing the township. My qualifications for the position of trustee include:
• knowing how the township functions. For the last 14 years, I have been a regular attendee of or participant in Planning Commission and Township Board meetings. I know the issues facing the township, I understand the needs, I know how the township functions and I know many of the township’s employees;
• demonstrated service. I serve or have served on the following boards and/or committees: 10 Mile Corridor Coordinated Planning Committee, 2005-present; Planning Commission 2002-2008, Chair 2008, Secretary 2004-2007; Zoning Board of Appeal 2000-2002, 2004, Chair 2002, Secretary 2004-2009; Flood Mitigation Planning Committee 2006-2009; Master Plan Committee 2005-2008; Rockford Area Historical Society Vice President 2003-2008, Trustee 2008-present; Rockford Area Community Endowment 2006-present serving as treasurer and president;
• supporting the township. As a social statistician, I have prepared analytical reports on: housing trends, population composition and estimates to assist in planning; public safety to ascertain how services are being provided and can be improved; restructuring elected offices to increase accountability and save taxpayer dollars—all at no cost to the taxpayer!
“If re-elected, I would continue my service as a social statistician/sociologist by provide analytical reports when needed; nurture and support the growth and success of local businesses; strive to increase the level and quality of public safety services (EMS, fire and police); work toward giving the voters a major role in setting millage rates and decide how their tax dollars will be spent; continue to represent and serve the best interest of all of the people in the township.
David A Grant
David Grant has been a Plainfield Township resident for 17 years. His background is in electronic communications engineering and project management.
“I believe that I can bring critical analysis to the current processes and standard operating procedures of the township. For example, I believe the bid process is seriously flawed in that there seems to be no consistent process for each department to follow when making expenditures and soliciting bids.”
“I am seeking office because I believe that not all members of the current board embrace total transparency and accountability in the local government process. Sadly, very few citizens actually attend the local meetings to see this board in action unless it is a high level controversy such as, rezoning for Spartan Stores, a scandal in the Fire Department, or the widening of Belmont Ave.”
“If elected I want to standardize processes for soliciting bids and purchases, encourage through multiple methods the participation of the general public in the local government process, take a line item approach to budgeting, and carefully review all expenses and costs associated with the water and sewer rates. These are but a few of the issues I consider critical to the residents of Plainfield Township.”
Plainfield Charter Township Trustee
Dale Pomeroy has been a township resident for 29 years and is a retired General Motors employee and paid on-call Plainfield Township firefighter for 28 years. “I will be retiring from the fire department at the end of the year and would like to continue serving the community as trustee,” stated Pomeroy. “If elected I would like to improve communications between the township board and the community and work to maintain and improve the safety of our township residents.”
Plainfield Charter Township Trustee
Jon Rathbun has been a resident of the township for 14 years and includes among his professional experience a bachelor of science degree in engineering from Western Michigan University. He has been an engineer for over 20 years and is the owner of an engineering and consulting business. As qualifications for Plainfield Charter Township trustee, Rathbun points out his current position as trustee. He is also serving on the Plainfield Charter Township Infrastructure Committee and serving on the Plainfield Township Finance Committee.
Rathbun counts family values as among his qualifications. “With my wife of 18 years and two young children, I understand the importance of family values. I wish to see the community of Plainfield Township be a benefit to all of the residents through good environmental practices and a focus on family first.”
He also notes his strong sense of fiscal responsibility. “As a business owner I understand the tough financial times the community is experiencing. The township needs to spend in the most efficient and practical manner—just as any business would. The new reality is that local government needs to do more with less.”
Rathbun emphasized transparency as well. “I will always give realistic and open answers. While you may not agree with all of my positions, you can know that I have no ulterior motives other than the betterment of the community of Plainfield Township.”
Finally Rathbun counts common sense as qualities he will bring to office. “My engineering background brings sound judgment and common sense to the issues. Too many times we have seen politicians make seemingly illogical decisions. With me, you can know that I bring a realistic common sense approach to all my efforts.”
He is seeking re-election to be more involved with the community and to make a positive impact on Plainfield Township. His goal if re-elected is to see that the township spends in an efficient and practical manner and to ensure that all actions of the township happen in an open and transparent manner.
Plainfield Charter Township Trustee
“I feel very strongly about doing the right thing for the community in which I live. There are many issues facing Plainfield Township just as other communities face the same or similar issues due to our current economic state. My goals are to promote good stewardship of the township’s resources, reduce waste and costs by monitoring expenditures and pursing more efficient use of taxpayers’ dollars. As a life-long resident of Plainfield Township and current board member, I’m aware of the current issues and have the best interest of residents at heart.”
Weldon has a long history with the township and its various committees. After straight-line winds decimated the wooded parcel at the junction of Belmont Road and Jupiter Avenue, he asked property owners to donate the land to the township for a veterans park. He had the park developed largely by donated work and donated items into the Veterans Memorial Park that it is today.
Weldon was an employee of Plainfield Township for 34 years, where he was head of the Building and Grounds Department. He has been a sexton of Plainfield Cemetery, and is a member of the Cemetery Advisory Committee. He is also an active member of the Election Committee, Infrastructure Committee, Parks and Recreation Committee, and is a member of the Plainfield Historical Society. He is also the township’s representative to the Friends of the White Pine Trail.