Candidates answer questions prior to Aug. 7 primary

Local, state and county seats up for grabs

GENESEE COUNTY — Voters will go to the polls Aug. 7 to narrow the field in several political races for the November general election.

Voters in Flint Township will be asked to decide between candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Congress 5th District seat — the winner of that race facing Democrat Dan Kildee of Flint for the seat held by his uncle Dale E. Kildee for more than three decades.

Voters will also narrow the Democratic candidates for Genesee County Sheriff and Drain Commissioner, along with ballot issues supporting the Mass Transportation Authority.

There are also a contested race for all seats on the Flint Township Board of Trustees.

Here are the candidates on the Aug. 7 primary ballot. Their responses are straight from the candidates themselves and were not edited in any way, other than for spelling, grammar and length. — View Staff

Flint Township supervisor

Karyn Miller (Incumbent)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Flushing

Age: 48

Family: Three Children; Rachel 26, Hunter 18, and Dewey 16

Education: Michigan State University, Bachelors of Science; Food Systems Economics and Management

Profession: Current Supervisor of Flint Township

Political experience: Ran for supervisor in 2006 Recall Election against Doug Carlton, lost. Ran for supervisor in 2008 against Doug Carlton, won.

Community service: Served 11 years as a volunteer for a Women’s Resource Center, including two years as President of Board of Directors. Volunteered to work at the St. Patrick’s Senior Center Fundraising Festival in Detroit, for 15 years in a row. Served many summers for church VBS. Volunteer on Flint Twp Parks and Rec. Committee, Park and Garden beautification projects, Trash Pick-up events.

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: Voters should choose me based on my extensive supervisory skills, executive leadership experience, and results-based performance. I have proven that I am capable of running the township efficiently, within budget, and meeting its goals. My opponent, Ms. King, currently serving as the Clerk for the City of Charlotte, has extensive experience in the clerk’s department and governmental clerical work. The majority of her time is spent in the city of Charlotte where she works and resides. I live and work with the residents I serve, sharing the same concerns, with the continuing desire to move the Township forward to even better days ahead.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: Declining revenue will be the most critical challenge facing the township in the near future. Declining revenue will affect the budget funding services to the residents of the township, specifically public safety. We all want to feel safe and know that we are protected. In order to ensure that we are safe and protected, we must ensure funding for these services. Rather than raising taxes as my opponent intends to do, I propose to implement the recommendations of the recently conducted feasibility study, making changes to become more effective and efficient.

Shelly King

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Flint Township

Age: 44

Family: Husband of 28 years Greg; two daughters; two granddaughters

Education: Graduated Carman-Ainsworth High School, attended Mott Community College and University of Michigan Flint where I received a Bachelors of Arts degree, majoring in Political Science

Profession: City Clerk

Political experience: Certified Municipal Clerk, served as City Clerk for Charlotte for more than four years, City Clerk for Clio for four years and Administrative Assistant to the Flint Township Supervisor for 11 years.

Community service: Clio Rotary and Clio Rotary Foundation Chair for three years; Member of Bethany Missionary Baptist Church for 29 years, Church Clerk/Assistant for 20 years; participant in Relay for Life for several years; participant in the American Red Cross Cancer Prevention Study #3

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: As a full time municipal employee for 19 years, I have a variety of experience in human resources, labor relations, parliamentary procedure, long term planning, grant writing, tax, millage and special assessment administration, elections, risk management, and supervising/directing employees. Since municipal government is very specific, I have worked to become educated in these fields (and many more) as they apply to local government administration and will be able to “hit the ground running” with no time wasted learning what the roles and responsibilities of my office are.

I am a leader and team builder. I appreciate the importance of educating fellow board members on the issues they are asked to deliberate and how imperative it is to keep the public informed on those subjects. Working in several different communities has provided me with a wide range of experiences to draw from, so I have diverse ideas and unique understanding of how we can accomplish our goals once in office.

As a lifelong resident of Flint Township, I understand the level of service our residents expect and I am ready to deliver it — not just because I live in Flint Township, but because I proudly call it my hometown.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: Neighborhoods in Flint Township have been hard hit by the recession. My goal is to attempt to stabilize property values in neighborhoods so residents can purchase and sell properties for what they are worth. To this end we will use proactive code enforcement to control the blight caused by vacant homes and properties, actively seek grant funding for neighborhood revitalization and educate residents regarding the availability of resources for improvements they need to make but cannot do on their own.

I believe the strength and availability of the Police and Fire Departments is critical. Both public service departments should be adequately trained, staffed and funded. I will lead the Township Board, through communication with the public service departments, to establish minimum and optimal staffing for the departments and actively seek grants and permanent funding to reach optimal staffing while maintaining minimum staffing or better.

The township offices and its services must be accessible. Township offices should be open five days per week and as many services as feasible should be available on-line. I will work with the employee unions to re-open offices on Friday; with the treasurer to provide on line bill payment options; and investigate the Townships ability to provide tax/assessment information on line.

Flint Township clerk

Kim Courts (Incumbent)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Flint Township

Age: 53

Family: Married to Matt for 29 years, we have two sons, one granddaughter.

Education: 2007 Graduate International Institute of Municipal Clerk (Certified Clerk), Central Michigan and Michigan, 2007 Michigan Department of State Completion of Elections Officials; Accreditation: 2007 Michigan Department of State Completion of Elections Inspection; Training: Graduate Health Unit Coordinator 1992, graduate Dental Assistant Program Mott Community College 1979.

Political experience: 7 1/2 years as Certified Municipal Clerk for Flint Township.

Community service: I was awarded by the Genesee County Clerks Association the Loretta Manwaring Memorial Award in 2009, for recognition of innovative work practices and dedication to public service. I am also V. P. of Flint Kiwanis and my project is Young Children Priority One Programs. With help from the AFSCME Clerical Union of Flint Township, we help to make blankets and medical baby dolls to provide to Hurley Hospital that benefits the pediatric unit and children’s cancer floor.

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent(s)?: I am an experienced Certified Municipal Clerk with the knowledge and the understandings of the day-to-day tasks necessary to keep the township running efficiently and economically. I also work well with the employees and the unions.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: The most critical issues facing flint Township include declining revenues from falling values on residential and commercial properties and crime. I will continue to support grant dollars and federal funding to get rid of old buildings and cut grass on vacant properties to protect our home values. I have also been a strong supporter of our Public Safety. Check my voting record. I voted to support the Eye in the Sky security cameras for Flint Township, hired new police officers and replaced Police and Fire Vehicles. Nothing is more important than residents and visitors of Flint Township feeling safe and secure. A bad economy is not an excuse for rising crime rates. I have worked diligently in establishing an excellent working relationship with our Police and Fire departments. Together we can work to keep Flint Township a place to live, work and stay.

Alex Clark

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Flint Township

Age: 25

Family: Father — Al Clark (retired Flint Township Police Officer), Mother — Terri Clark (nurse at McLaren), Brother — Jon Clark

Education: Bachelor Degree of Business Administration from Northwood University. Triple Majored in Marketing, Business Management, and Entertainment & Sport Promotions. Minored in Economics and English.

Profession: Self Employed

Political experience: Eight years of election experience working in Genesee, Isabella, Lenawee, and Midland counties. Eight years of experience working on political campaigns ranging from township and city government races to Attorney General and Presidential campaigns. One year of experience working for the Michigan House of Representatives.

Community service: Westwood Hills Crime Watch (Current Member), Westwood Hills Neighborhood Association (Welcome Committee Chair), American Red Cross Board of Directors (Former Board Member), Flint Township Residents in Support of Police Services (Former Member), Business Professionals of America (former regional Vice President in Michigan and former National Parliamentarian), organized Alcohol Awareness presentations for elementary school children, organized fundraisers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Salvation Army and St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: Voters should choose me instead of my opponent because I understand the first role of government is to protect its citizens. I will strive to ensure our Police and Fire Departments are adequately funded and staffed so we can have our officers in the neighborhoods again working with our residents to make Flint Township a safer place for you to live, work and play. For eight years Flint Township has been on a downward spiral with residents and businesses leaving the area, causing township revenues to decrease. A reason for this is the climbing crime rates. Common sense indicates that when crime rates start climbing you do not solve the problem with less police officers and firefighters. I represent common sense proactive approach when it comes to public safety, instead of being reactive. With lower crime rates people and businesses will want to come back to Flint Township, creating more jobs for you and your family. I believe in Flint Township. I believe we can once again be the premier place live, work and raise a family and together we can put a stop to this downward spiral.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: The most critical issue in Flint Township is properly funding and staffing public safety. Every avenue to make Flint Township better comes back to fixing the crime rate issues. Last year the police department came in $200,000 under budget, instead of putting that money back into the police department the board took the money and put it back in the general fund. I strongly believe money should have been used to put two more police officer or firefighters back in our neighborhoods. Also I would continue looking for creative ways to cut costs and move any excess money to public safety until our crime rates start to stabilize. Our township is next door to one of the most dangerous cities in America and having a decrease in police and fire over the last six years is unacceptable. Another key issue is to fix the deteriorating roads in our neighborhoods. Road millage money in my eyes was wasted to work on Norko Drive. We have numerous roads in our neighborhoods that are frequented more and were in worse shape. The taxpayers road millage money needs to be spent responsibly and not wasted.

Flint Township treasurer

Donald E. Thompson

Party affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Flint Township

Family: Married, combined 5 children

Education: Graduated North Syracuse Central High School, Graduated Auburn Community College, Auburn, New York Associates Degree in Business

Profession: 29 years Burger King Franchisee with seven restaurants and one Kenny Rogers Roasters Roasters for five years

Political experience: I have been a life-long Democrat and supported many candidates. I have served on three boards one in the city of Flint and two in Flint Township, The Central Business Development Authority and currently I serve as secretary on the Planning Commission.

Community service: None listed

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: I have 42 years experience in teaching and training people, at one point I supervised 25 managers and 160 employees. I have received thousands of hours of training from Burger King Corporation in budgets and finance.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: I believe one of the most critical issues is declining revenues in the township. We will all have to be prepared to do more with less . I would like my department to be well trained and supportive of other departments, the township employees need to work in a happy environment. My goal is to provide an efficient team ready to provide excellent service to all residents of the township.

Marsha Binelli

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: 52

Residence: Flint Township

Family: Single with one adult son

Education: Graduate of Flushing High School

Profession: Worked at Charter Township of Flint as confidential secretary, deputy supervisor and code enforcement officer.

Political experience: None listed

Community service: None listed

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: I have knowledge in the daily operations of each department within Flint Township. I have worked directly and effectually with township employees who I have great respect for.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: Customer service is a public servants most important job. It is to serve the residents first. In doing so, I will do everything in my power to support the police and fire departments to give them the proper tools to protect the citizens, their homes and the many businesses in Flint Township.

Stabilizing our neighborhoods and rebuilding the tax base is a main concern. I believe we should be searching for any available grants on a federal, state or local level and any other untapped opportunities. Hold owners accountable for any blighted buildings, vacant land or homes. Improve the imperceptive management of millage money. Balance the budget with the future in mind, planning and prioritizing. I will enforce common sense and unity in collective bargaining and the personnel committee, therefore reducing labor attorney costs associated with grievances and policy and procedure obligations.

Nathaniel Olivo Party affiliation: Democrat Residence: Flint Township Age: 41 Family: No response

Education: High school, College

Profession: Banking Finance

Political experience: President of the board for the Flint Area Crime Stoppers

Community service: Volunteer for various events in the Genesee County area, serving as president of the board for Flint Area Crime Stoppers. I am also responsible for overseeing board fundraisers.

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: I have 18 years of financial and banking background. I have overseen investments in the banking industry. I understand the importance of the role as Chief Investment officer of the township.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: I feel that the township must focus on the residents and their needs and there must be more convenient hours set for the residents. I would like to introduce online bill pay options for water & sewer and other services that can be placed on line.

Flint Township trustee (Four seats)

Belenda Parker (Incumbent)

Party affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Flint Township

Age: 48

Family: Married to Joshua for 15 years; three children; and six grandchildren

Education: Certificate in General Studies and Associate Degree in Business Management (Mott Community College)

Profession: Currently employed at Mt. Morris Township (more than 30 years), Planning & Zoning Analyst, personal secretary to the Mt. Morris Township supervisor, office manager, secretary for the planning commission and zoning board of appeals

Political experience: Currently serving as a trustee on the Flint Township Board — elected in 2004, several years as a precinct delegate.

Community service: Dyewood Community Watch and volunteer for beautification projects

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent(s)?: In addition to my honesty, integrity and fairness, I bring over thirty years of experience in local government. I have the knowledge and expertise in looking at issues from an employee’s point of view and as a board member. The occasion to work in and with other township departments has landed me the knowledge of day-to-day township operations. Also, I am aware of legislative updates that affect decision making for townships. I consider it a privilege to represent the residents of Flint Township and I would be honored to be afforded the opportunity to serve another term.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: Reduction in revenue and the quality of life.

I do not support tax increases to the property owners. Therefore, the excessive expenditures must be eliminated. The quality of life could be improved if the township would partner with the township’s parks and recreation, school districts, senior center, and library to have joint operations. In doing so, there would be insight to provide top notch amenities to the residents. This would be a marketing tool to add and strengthen the township’s tax base.

Frank Kasle (Incumbent) Party Affiliation: Democrat Age: 70

Residence: Flint Township

Family: Wife Judy, two children, three grandchildren

Education: University of Michigan Law School, Wayne State University Business School, Flint Central High School

Profession: Retired lawyer and certified public accountant (CPA)

Political experience: Current Flint Twp. Board Trustee, Zoning Board of Appeals, Firefighters Retirement Board, Michigan Democratic Party, Club 225l Past member of the Election Commission, CBDA.

Community service: Various community and charitable organizations including religious institutions, Flint Heights Terrace Senior Apartments, West Flint Business Association, Red Cross and the Flint Art Institute.

Why should voter choose you instead of your opponents? My experience as a lawyer, CPA and businessman makes me uniquely qualified to continue serving on the Flint Township Board, as we continue to struggle during this period of financial challenge. I have demonstrated a willingness to tackle tough issues and make decisions that improve the long term health and welfare of the township. I am endorsed by David Leyton, Dan Kildee, among others.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: The most critical issue facing Flint Township is lower revenue because of economic conditions. Annual revenue from property taxes has been steadily decreasing and in 2014 will be down about 40 percent from 2009. That means an annual revenue loss of over $2 million. In addition, state revenue sharing funds have decreased. All this puts pressure on our township to decrease the cost of government. However, we must maintain a strong police force. Crime is increasing in Flint Township and we must be able to respond. The public also deserves a full-time fire department augmented by a full complement of on-call fireman. We need to cut any fat in our budgets to enable us to continue to keep our township a safe place to live and work.

Our property tax base must be increased. We can do this by providing the business community with a business friendly environment, with less red tape and unnecessary regulations. Our property values will improve with good schools (which we currently have), more parks, better public transportation, cleaner and safer streets and improved services for senior citizens. Flint Township remains a good place to live and work.

George J. Menoutes (Incumbent)

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: No response

Residence: Flint Township

Family: Wife, three adult children

Education: Ferris State University, Bachelor of science in Pharmacy

Profession: Retired pharmacist after 55 years

Political experience: Past Genesee County Commissioner — two years, Flint Township Trustee — 20 years

Community service: Board of Trustees, Ferris State University; Vice president, Michigan State Board of Pharmacy Chairman, Bishop Airpark Development Advisory Council; Chairman, Flint Township Planning Commission member, Flint Township Board of Appeals and Board of Review; Past president, 225 Club (Democratic Club of Genesee County); Genesee Valley Rotary; Member, past president, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church

Why should voter choose you instead of your opponents?: I am an experienced trustee, capable, knowledgeable about the township budget, and of the departments operation.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?:

1. Public safety, budget (police and fire)

2. Create more jobs and assist in improving economic development; assist manufacturing and retail to come and stay in Flint Township by assisting in tax abatement.

3. Improve roads

4. Assist senior citizens where needed

5. Develop and adopt workable budget.

Barbara Vert (Incumbent)

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: 56

Residence: Flint Township

Family: Married to Don; three children; four grandchildren

Education: Mott Community College

Profession: Unit Clerk St Joseph Hospital and Genesys (retired)

Political experience: Current Trustee Flint Township Board, Flint Park and Recreation Committee member, Member Election Commission. As a member of the Flint Township Park and Recreation Committee, worked with member to establishment of the Townships Genesee Valley Trail( 5 year Master Plan)

Community service: Senior Center Board member, Keep Genesee county Beautiful participant, member Michigan Township Association, member Economic Development Committee and former Carman- Ainsworth Booster member.

Why should voter choose you instead of your opponents?: I will provide dedicated service to the residents of Flint Township. Be accountable to the needs of the community, demonstrate effective policy and decision making skills, support public safety, be environmentally conscious, exhibit fiduciary responsibility for the township’s finances and continue with beautification projects in the township.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: Some issues facing the township are Safety and Blight. We need to encourage more residents to attend the Community Crime watch meetings, the last Tuesday of each month, 6 p.m. at the police community center. Lots of information is discussed, also residents and learn how to form neighborhood watch programs. As for the blight, ordinances need to apply to all.

Chuck Hughes

Party affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Flint Township

Family: Married to Judy for 38 years; 2 sons

Education: Master’s in Public Administration; B.S. Computer Science, Math, and Business Administration; A.A.S. Avionic Systems

Computer Systems Analyst

Political experience: Worked on committee to recall Linda Barber; Member of Flint Township Parks and Recreation

Committee; Member of the Township Name Change Committee

Community service: Worked to build the Genesee County Trail (with no Township money). Active in Township park beautification. Volunteer for Mott Foundation’s Keep Genesee County Beautiful program. 5+years volunteering for Carman/Ainsworth Band.

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: I understand township government operations including the duties and responsibilities of the office of trustee, the roles of other elected officials, and have knowledge of the various boards/committees/commissions, I understand parliamentary procedures and how to properly participate in board meetings. I have knowledge of current issues which affect the township, and are aware of the financial affairs including revenue sources and expenditures. I have excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate effectively, and the capability to work well with others to achieve a desired outcome. I also possess leadership skills including consensus building and the ability to motivate others to achieve desired results. I am trained in public administration, including the areas of leadership, contract negotiations, budget analysis, as well as grant writing and management, so I bring these talents to the position.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: The top issues facing the residents of Flint Township are (1) how to maintain our police, fire, and other departments at levels that will support the quality of service we have come to expect, given an ever declining revenue base and (2) improving the quality of life in Flint Township so that property values not only stabilize from the downward spiral but regain lost ground. We need make the township a place where families want to move to, and not away from. I plan to continue the work the current board is doing to get salary and benefits more in line with our resources; and, as other communities have done, I plan to pursue available State and Federal grants for police and fire support. I am proud of the work we have done to construct the Genesee Valley Trail bike path and will continue work to connect our trail to the network of trails across Michigan.

Deborah Nebraski

Party Affiliation: Democratic

Residence: Flint Township

Age: 59

Family: Married to Paul for 30 years have 8 children and 2 grandchildren

Education: Studied at Penn State

Profession: I have been a Realtor for five years and worked with the United States Steel Workers for 10 years and seven years in Property Management

Community Service: I have volunteered with the Boy Scouts, Neighborhood Watch, and Habitat for Humanity. I have served on GISD Family Advisory Committee and Board at Head Start. I later worked for Head Start Program for 5 years. I served on Woman Counsel of Realtors as a officer.

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: I will bring my experience of marketing and knowledge of real estate. As a result of my experience as a realtor I am aware of the real estate market and real estate is the revenue for our tax base. I bring my compassion for people and passion for the future of our community. I will listen to the people and be objective. I will be their voice.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: I want to run to increase the safety in our neighborhoods and community and encourage that collective voices make a change. I want to find the resources available to us to make that change. I want to see our schools, fire and police Departments become stabilize to promote safety. I want our home values to begin to rise. Trustees should be available to listen to the concerns of the residents and try to find solutions. I believe in the fight for the future for Flint Township and we must all work together. I am willing to try to make the issues about the needs of the people in our community. I will be there to listen. I am here for you.

Douglas Carlton

Party affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Flint Township

Age: 58

Family: Married 39 years with 4 children & 2 grand children

Education: Graduated 1972 Carman High School

Profession: Owner of Carlton Construction Company for 30 years

Political experience: Flint Township Supervisor, Flint Township Trustee, Flint Township Police Commissioner

Community service: FANG – Vice President; Flint Heights – Board of Directors; Genesee County Road and Bridges – Member

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: I have experience in Township government with a track record of making positive changes. My goal is to make Flint Township a safer place to both live and work.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?:

1. Crime – As a trustee, I will work to get the camera program actively working again and expand it to areas effected by higher crime. Also, by putting community policing back into the neighborhoods we can be proactive instead of reactive, and we can fight the crime.

2. Customer Service – As a trustee, I will work towards getting the township open to the public 5 days a week, instead of at the current schedule of 4 days a week at no additional cost to residents. It is imperative that we be open to serve the public.

3. Re-Open Fire Stations – As a trustee, I will work to reopen fire stations that are temporarily closed, so communities are not in danger. Many residents are unaware this safety issue in our community and the role it plays in both increase response time and increased insurance costs.

Michael R. Coburn

Party affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Flint Township

Age: 56

Family: Two children, one grandchild

Education: B.S. Business Administration — Accounting Lake Superior State University, 1974 Graduate Carman High

Retired

Political experience: Four years Flint Township treasurer, five years aide Carman/Ainsworth Senior Center, two years AARP tax preparer, four years President Flint Township Democratic Club.

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: I have experience in government,business and a family history of community service to Flint Township.Most of my opponents have their own special agendas. My is agenda is to do the right thing for the taxpayers and to help Supervisor Miller move Flint Township away from the old ways of backroom deals, favoritism, and elected officials using public office for personal gain.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: Reduced revenue from falling home values and how to maintain a proper staffing level in police & fire departments is the main issue facing the next board. I will vote to make every tax dollar count and not to reduce public safety until all non-essential employees are addressed first. Consolidation with other townships or cross training have worked in other municipalities. Anytime politics is played in relation to police and fire we all lose.

John T. Whiteside

Party affiliation: Democratic Party

Residence: Swartz Creek

Age: 56

Family: Married for 32 years to my wife Kelly. We have two children

Education: Mott College — Associate Applied Science; University of Michigan—Bachelor of Applied Science; Ferris State University- Master of Education; Ferris State University — Advanced Graduate Certificate in Total Quality Management

Profession: I am a skilled tradesperson at the GM Flint Metal Center having worked as a Die Maker and machinist for 27 years

Political experience: I have been a member of the Flint Township Road Advisory Committee member and Committee secretary for five years. As an Advisory Committee member, I have always kept the residents’ best interest in mind when deciding where road millage money should be spent and how to accomplish the most with the limited resources available. As a committee member, I deal with budgets and work effectively with individuals, other committee members and GCRC.

Community service: I have been a volunteer member and secretary of the Friends of Holly Recreation Area. The Friends of Holly Recreation Area is a volunteer organization established to assist the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Why should voter choose you instead of your opponents? As a Township trustee, I will continue doing what I learned as a member of the Township Road Advisory Committee. There may have been times our advisory committee members did not agree on projects, but working through concerns to establish the best plan for township residents has always been my goal. That is my mission as a Trustee— to always do what is in the best interest of Flint Township

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: The Township budget and continuation of services are vital to the Townships survival. Trustee’s responsibilities include help managing the township’s fiduciary health, listen and communicate effectively while establishing an effective working relationship with departments, committees and individuals when performing trustee duties. My experience as a member of the Townships road Advisory Committee has prepared me for these duties. I will explore ways to cut cost while continuing services. Our Governor has talked about consolidation of services with other municipalities. I will explore areas where consolidation will help the budget but doesn’t hurt our township services to residents. Maintaining and growing the Township is also important. Demonstrating a business friendly environment and a safe environment will help the Township grow. Police and Fire protection is very important to Flint Township and these services need to be protected from cuts.

David Huffman

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: 60

Residence: Flushing

Family: Two children, Nicole and Eric

Education: Associates degree in business – Mott Community College

Profession: Professional sales consultant in automobile industry for 35 years

Political experience: Past candidate for township clerk

Community service: Six years service on Flint Twp. road advisory board, former elementary basketball coach for Carman-Ainsworth Schools, former member of Elks Club and former member of Optimist Club

Why should voter choose you instead of your opponents? I have lived and paid taxes in Flint Township for over 40 years. I have the insight on what needs to be done to return Flint Township to the prominent township it once was. I will vote for your safety by keeping police and fire protection.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: Current trustees have refused to participate in budgeting and cost saving measurer, and I will. The current trustees have kicked the an down the road and ow tough decisions must be made to correct the lack of budgeting. I will make these decisions with the taxpayer’s interest in every thought.

Mark A. Rowley

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: 53

Residence: Flint Township

Family: Wife Theresa, three children, six grandchildren

Education: Flushing schools

Profession: Retired Flint Twp. assistant fire chief

Political Experience: None listed

Community Service: 20-plus years coach and referee, Mid-Michigan Wrestling Association

Why should voter choose you instead of your opponents?: I served Flint Twp. for 30 years in the Fire Dept. I have experience with budgets and labor relations. I can treat employees with dignity and respect while resolving issues.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?:

• Loss of tax base – Search for ways to stabilize the business district and out neighborhoods.

• Public safety – Explore all options to increase public safety. It’s basic human nature. If people don’t feel safe in Flint Twp. they won’t move here, shop here, or open businesses. We must have professional fire and police departments.

• Labor relations – The township board should work with employees not against them. We can improve productivity and morale while reducing labor attorney costs.

U.S. Congress in the 5th Congressional District

Jim Slezak

Party affiliation: Republican

Residence: Davison

Age: 45

Family: married to Kathleen with three children Bridgette, Gabrielle and Jack

Education: Yale University and in 1989 obtained a B.A. Political Science

Profession: Vice President for Photo Factory, USA

Political Experience: State Representative for the 50th District from 2009 to 2010.

Community Service: Outreach East in Davison, at local schools. He also coached youth baseball and softball. He is part of the Knights of Columbus ,3rd Degree and is also a member of the Flint Chamber of Commerce.

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent:

The voters of the 5th Congressional District are looking for new leadership to turn this district around. I will be that leader. I will be the eyes, ears and voice for the people in Washington. I will work to find solutions to make the 5th Congressional District prosperous again. I am the only Republican candidate that lives in the 5th District and I am ready to lead.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: Jobs, healthcare and education are three critical issues concerning the 5th Congressional District. This area has been devastated by job loss over the past three decades and unemployment is out of control. As your Congressman I will work to create a climate to bring jobs back to the 5th District. A start to accomplish this will be to simplify our tax code and remove unnecessary regulations that prohibit business growth in our Country, State and 5th Congressional District. Also, we need to become more energy independent.

Another critical issue concerning all of us is healthcare. The country needs health care that is good for everyone. We need healthcare that is healthcare and not multiple issues bunched together to please certain entities. In Washington I will work to repeal the healthcare legislation as it stands and work to empower the States to create their own programs that will fit their needs and their budgets.

Education is another critical issue that has affected the children of our district. I will work to eliminate the Federal Department of Education and bring education back to a local level by empowering teachers, parents and administrators to decide what is best for our children.

Tom Wassa

Residence: Fairgrove

Age: 51

Family: Married to Tina, two sons, and two granddaughters

Education: BA in Management and Organizational Development

Profession: Retired after 27 years in the police and fire services. Served as a Police Chief for two communities, and as a Fire Marshal.

Political experience: Served as a village trustee

Community service: Served as Board President of a non-profit social service organization that provided counseling for kids in foster care, and served as a volunteer fireman for 15 years.

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: I’ve spent the last 30 years studying history and economics. I have a historical understanding of economic models that work and that don’t work. If our elected leaders do not understand these historical models they’re destined to make mistakes that will hurt every American. My understanding of history gives me the ability to represent Michigan’s 5th Congressional District in a manner that encourages the growth of private sector jobs.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: The most critical issue is the economy. Governmental growth has shifted a greater population from being taxpayers to being paid by tax dollars, placing the tax burden on a smaller percentage of people. As government grows it must engage in taxing schemes that include permitting fees, direct and indirect taxing, which in the end leaves residents with less funds to support local businesses. This contributes to a failing economy. As government grows and becomes more centralizing, local tax dollars are shifted to the federal government, leaving local government with less revenue to work with. Less local tax dollars directly effects public safety, and will result in a decline of emergency services.

We need to reduce centralized governmental growth and ensure more disposable income is available. Disposable income is the funds that support local commerce that, in turn, requires employees. Those employed in the private sector become taxpayers who support local government and helps pay for municipal functions, which include police and fire protection. Disposable income drives the private sector jobs, which support local businesses, that employs people, which increases the local tax base that pays for local governmental services. Private sector job growth is needed to grow the economy.

Genesee County Sheriff

Robert J. Pickell (Incumbent)

Party affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Flushing

Age: 70

Family: Wife, Janet, and two sons, one daughter, and one granddaughter

Education: Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan, B.A. 1963; Eastern Michigan University, Graduate Studies; Federal Bureau of Investigation Advanced Studies Program; and University of Virginia (Federal Agents Only)

Profession: Genesee County Sheriff for 14 years

Community service: Sam Duncan Memorial Scholarship Committee; New Paths, Inc.; Genesee/Lapeer/Shiawassee AFIS Consortium; The IMA Foundation – Children’s Recreation Fund; The Hundred Club of Flint; Leadership Flint; March of Dimes; Michigan Elder Abuse Task Force; New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church; Flushing Lions Club; Ancient Order of Hibernians; Mott Community College Criminal Justice Advisory Committee; Mott Community College Bruin Club; Genesee County Democratic Party; Democratic Club 225; Knights of Columbus; Burton Democratic Club; and the Weiss Child Advocacy Center Board Member

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: When I became Sheriff in 1999, I met with community leaders to find out what new programs needed to be added and what programs needed to be enhanced. I started a Consumer Protection Division that has recovered over $4 million and has sent several swindlers to prison. I created the Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Prevention Team that protects our seniors from abuse. The Elder Abuse Team has issued 431 felony warrants including homicide. I have enhanced our working relationship with cities and townships throughout Genesee County by providing a higher level of police services. My Office has four contract areas for police services; Atlas Township, Fenton Township, Flushing Township, and Vienna Township. I created a multi-jurisdictional drug unit that was responsible for the largest drug and cash seizure in Genesee County history.

During tough budget years, I enhanced the Paramedic Division by doubling its size and lowering response times from nine minutes to six minutes. This major reduction in response times has been vital to saving lives. I have enhanced the Work Detail Program by purchasing two buses for $500 each that were scheduled to be mothballed, allowing many more inmates available for the program and open more bed space for the Jail.

I have strived over the past 14 years as Sheriff to modernize and transform my office to make it more responsive to the needs of the public. I responded swiftly to the cries about dog fighting. I partnered with Genesee County Animal Control to dismantle gruesome dog fighting rings. As Sheriff, I will continue to listen to the community and respond quickly and efficiently to their needs. The safety of our residents is my number one priority.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: The most critical issues facing Genesee County are violent crimes, drug crimes, and gangs. I work hard everyday to prevent these crimes. I have proposed a county-wide Mobile Command Task Force that would bring multiple law enforcement agencies together. This Task Force will allow police to respond to crimes with more enforcement, and deter crime with increased visibility.

The biggest crime prevention in Genesee County is schools, churches and community organizations like the scouts. I partnered with community organizations like Community Parent Inc. and created a one-of-a-kind drug prevention program called “Chasing the Dragon”. Schools and law enforcement agencies across the country have requested “Chasing the Dragon” in their area.

I started a prescription drug take back program in response to the spike in prescription drug abuse. My Office continuously works with schools, churches, and senior centers to collect prescription and over the counter drugs along with providing educational demonstrations.

As sheriff, I will continue to work with the community and create innovative programs to prevent crime. To find the solution to crime and drug prevention, you must add together enforcement and education.

Tim Johnson

Party affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Grand Blanc

Age: 51

Family: Husband and father of six

Education: FBI Basic Crime Scene School; FBI Crime Scene Search; Michigan State Police Supervisory Certificate; Law Enforcement Officers Regional Training Commission; Basic Forensic Science; Firearms Instructor Training Course; Police Supervision Training; Interview and Interrogation; Unified Incident Command System, Mott Community College; and Community Policing Seminar, The Community Policing.

Profession: Experienced, knowledgeable, dedicated 30+ year of law enforcement services; retired Deputy Chief, City of Flint Police Department, Commander of the Special Operations Bureau; SSGT U.S. Air Force Security Police, 127th Combat Support Squadron, Selfridge Air National Guard Base; CATT Squad – (Former) Supervisor of the Crime Area Target Team — A team targeting high crime areas where drugs, gangs and prostitution was prevalent; SET — Street Enforcement Team (Former) Supervisor targeting street level drug dealers; PAL — Police Athletic League, Executive Director, served three years supervising two Police Officers, one Secretary and more than 2,000 youth; Deputy Sheriff, Wayne County Michigan, Sheriff’s Department — Assigned to Internal Security; and Reserve Officer, Squad Leader – Detroit Police Department.

Political experience: I am not a Politician, I am a Crime Fighter.

Community service: UAW 235 Member, Detroit/Chevy/Forge Division (Former); MI Contract Security Association, Board Member; Outreach Ministry, Pastor Armor Bearer, Board of Trustee Member, Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church, Flint; and Feed the Children Ministry.

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent(s): We live in a great community but the economy as it is, we are not guaranteed more resources. We have to look at departmental and community resources to maximize what are already available.”

Keeping my community safe is my number one goal. I want to foster the kind of environment that welcomes new business and job opportunities for our citizens. In order to handle this job as your new sheriff, I have the right combination of street experience, training and administrative experience to get the job done.

We are facing uncertain financial times and times of increasing crimes. As your sheriff, I pledge to be fiscally responsible and to make this county an extremely unpleasant place for criminals. I will be a sheriff who is available to the citizens 24 hours a day. I will always be accessible to you. The days of calling the Sheriff’s Office and being told that you will have to leave a message are over. I will be there for you. Together, we can win this election and take this county in a positive new direction. We can do this if we stand together. We can do this if we are willing to fight for it together. We will win.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: Crime, leadership and management is the number one most critical issue facing Genesee County residents. I will target high crime areas using crime stats as I did before when I was supervisor over the Crime Area Target Team (CATT SQD.) and the Special Operations Bureau. I will strategically place my officers in high crime areas around the county that need our attention. I will use this data to tell me when and where I need to place my officers to stop certain crimes. I will have a zero tolerance for any laws being broken in our targeted area (the area will be on total lock down). I also will use our street Intel. When we need to put an undercover officer inside any illegal operation (Drug, Gang, etc.) I will work very close with all police agencies around the county to ensure we are all on one accord fighting crime. I will foster the kind of environment that will have criminals turning around at our county lines. I will go after any State or Federal resource available in our effort to stop the crime in our community.

Dan Allen

Party affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Grand Blanc

Age: 50

Family: Robin, wife of 20 years, Children: Jacob and Harmony

Education: United States Air Force Security Forces Academy-Honors, School of Air Base Ground Defense- Honors, Flint Regional Police Training Academy, Medical Legal Death Investigator School, Practical Homicide Investigator School, Advanced Traffic Homicide-Accident Investigation, FBI Major Crimes Investigation, Michigan State Police School of Drug Enforcement, MSU Police Alcohol Enforcement, PPCT Defensive Tactics Instructor, Terrorist Awareness- Texas A & M, Incident Command Training-Achieved Highest Level

Profession: Current chief of police for Argentine Township; Trustee-Law Enforcement Officers Regional Training Commission Advisory Board; Sergeant for City of Flint Police Department; Director of Flint Regional Police Training Academy; United States Air Force Security Forces and Emergency Forces Team Member

Political experience: This is the first time I have sought elected office. I have managed political interactions as Chief of Police, Sergeant on the Flint Police Force and Director of the Police Academy.

Community service: 911 Advisory Board, Youth Police Academy-Argentine Township Police Department, Co-Chaired and conducted fundraising for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) with the late Donald Cronin, Averill Avenue Church of Christ Teen Teacher, Mentor children in Martial Arts Training, Church Volunteer with the Genesee County Food Bank

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponents? What sets me apart from my opponents is that I have worked a variety of assignments as an officer, seeing crime and it’s victims up close and personal while patrolling the streets. I trained numerous officers as Director of the Flint Regional Police Academy while providing a proper example to follow as they serve. As Chief of Police I work in the public, political and business sectors, all while living within the budget. I believe in leading by example. I continue to patrol with my officers, take an active part in investigations and make arrests when necessary. I have learned to never forget I am a public servant who must provide the community with a leader who holds honesty and integrity in the highest regard.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: Our county is home to “the most violent city in America,” as designated by the FBI. Reduction of crime, the safety of senior citizens, families and businesses is paramount. My 10 Point Plan will reduce jail overcrowding, create revenue without going to the taxpayers, and put deputies on the streets to help fight crime while being pro-active preventing crime at its source. I plan to institute Boot Camp and Scared Straight programs for adult and juvenile offenders, with the addition of court ordered or voluntary parenting, counseling and mentoring programs designed to educate the parent and give the opportunity for our youth to be diverted from a life of crime. To alleviate jail overcrowding, I will expand “Work Detail” and “Work Release” programs where an individual serves the community. Non-violent offenders who qualify may be offered a tether program, or those who are gainfully employed could pay a fee to be released to maintain their jobs and return to jail at the end of their shifts. Implementing technologies that streamline efficiency of current resources that promote public safety will allow deputies to spend less time in the office, and more time on the street.

Genesee County Drain Commissioner

Jeffrey Wright (Incumbent)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Residence: Burton

Age: 58

Family: Married (wife Kay), three children, three grandchildren

Education: Graduate of Atherton High School; Genesee Area Skill Center Architecture Program; Ferris State University—School of Architecture; Ferris State University—OSHA Federal Training Guidelines Program

Profession: Genesee County Drain Commissioner

Political experience: 12 years as Drain Commissioner; 12 years as Deputy Drain Commissioner; also served as Engineering Assistant, Inspector, Right of Way Agent and Assessor. CEO, Karegnondi Water Authority Community Service: Legislative Committee and Executive Board, Michigan Association of Drain Commissioners; Northeast District Chairman, Michigan Association of Drain Commissioners; Genesee County Parks Board Member; Genesee County Fair Board Member; Executive Board Member, Genesee County Democratic Party; Democratic 225 Club; former member, Metropolitan Planning Commission

Community service: Board Member, Sam Duncan Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Special Olympics 1300 Club

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: “There is no substitute for experience.”

Most critical issues facing the county and your solutions?: To supply the highest quality and lowest cost water to our customers.

Genesee County has two options: a 30 yr. contract with Detroit or Karegnondi. Independent reviews have revealed that KWA will save customers a minimum of $200 million over 25 years. It will attract new agro business and green technologies. What we are currently paying to Detroit will pay for the new system and allow us to control our own destiny. ($25 million annually). It will put 1,000 people to work constructing the KWA and it will ultimately reduce water rates.

To run the most cost efficient office possible due to budget constraints. I will continue to work within the budget to offer prompt, reliable service to our residents in resolution to their water, sewer and drainage problems. I plan to continue the same programs that have resulted in 5 years of no rate increases on the Genesee County portion of your sewer and water bill.

Robert Stewart

Party affiliation: Republican

Residence: Fenton

Age: 68

Family: Two children

Education: Michigan State University: Advanced studies 800 level Human Behavior Avg. 4.0/4.0; Central Michigan University: Masters Business Administration, Marketing, Finance — Avg. 3.6/4.0; Syracuse University, Post Grad Studies — Physical Chemistry — Avg. 3.4/4.0; New England College Bachelor of Science – Chemistry, dual minors Math & Psychology Avg. 3.4/4.0; New Hartford High School College Prep. — Science

Profession: United Steel Worker (Bendix), ClearWater Industries Inc., President; State Certified Drinking water laboratory, municipal waste water treatment equipment and laboratory services, water vending, Mister-Mister, membrane treatment equipment manufacture. More recent activities include bringing R&D biorespiration into power generation. ClearWater Bottling, Mentor Minority owned water bottling plant located in Genesee County.

Political experience: All done in the vein of Community Service. In 1987 with five others formed the Michigan Gray Panthers — Youth and Age in Action For Unlimited Retirement. Within months we successfully gained following, got a bill written which became Michigan Law. In 1995 I ran for Mayor of the City of Flint, a non-participant position. Woodrow Stanley, Don Williamson, Matt Taylor and Sam Riddle on the ticket. I finished fourth behind Councilman Taylor. Matt Taylor and I both wanted to move City Hall to the City of Flint owned AutoWorld complex, expand the existing city jail facility and city police department, and use local talent to bring businesses to flint based on our abundance of surface water.

In 1996 ran as a Democrat for State Representative watching AutoWorld demolished as Flint and Genesee County starts its decline. Chairman of GM comes in cutting union jobs by the starting of the closing of plants. In 1997 ran as a write in candidate for Genesee County Drain Commissioner breaking historical records as a write in candidate. In 1998 ran for Genesee County Drain Commissioner. In 2002 ran for Genesee County Drain Commissioner. 2008-2012 worked with the Spirit Wolf and Native American Tribal Council to sustain healthy wolf populations in our state. Volunteer Service Award – City of Flint, Christian Apostle

Why should voters choose you instead of your opponent?: 1.) Long Term Local Flooding. Folks are upset with hearing about “illegal connections”, “plugged lift pump stations”, “100 year rain events”, “lack of funding”, and passing the responsibility onto others. The Genesee County Drain Commissioner is the responsible party. Certainly other communities experience the occasional problem, but here in Genesee County the drainage problems are systemic. We hear about 100 year rain events ever few years. Newspapers report on sewage backups often. Even the waste plant dumps massive amounts of raw sewage into the Flint River during these events. This office must assume responsibility to become more pro active in protecting citizens.

2.) Water rates are out of sight. Folks just cannot absorb higher water rates at the whim of the City of Flint and of the County Drain Commissioner. Jeff Wright has already said water rates will rise (7 percent immediately) as the untimely water pipeline progresses. Look at reality, Chevrolet is gone, AC is gone, Buick is gone. We are sitting on excess water right now. And that is the issue with the existing, what I call the Trinity, between the Mayor’s office, the Drain Commissioner’s office, and the Sheriff’s office. The challenge of this Trinity is to entice manufacturing plants from areas around the US that don’t have water. To bring their manufacturing plants here. Part of the crime issue in Genesee County is the lack of jobs. Let’s use water to create local jobs, improve commerce, cut crime, and balance the City of Flint’s budget without taxing the people.

3.) Crime, jobs, and water — You know you can sin for what you have done but you can also sin for what you have failed to do. By selling water futures, that is water today-tomorrow we can bring manufacturing back to Genesee County, cut crime by creating good paying manufacturing jobs, and then have these manufacturing companies pay for the new pipeline when needed. We are fed up with high water rates, high crime, and not jobs.

Most critical issues facing your district and your solutions?: Jobs, crime, high water rates. The Mayor’s offices, Davison, Flushing, Fenton, Burton, etc including the Emergency Manager of Flint; the Sheriff’s office; and the Genesee County Drain Commissioner is the Trinity, the answer, to recovery. Water is the tool. The existing drain commissioner over nearly 40 years has not worked pro actively. We have the opportunity to reach out within our community to create enticements for industry to move back into our community.

(Editor’s note: Robert Stewart is unchallenged in the primary. Wright is opposed by D. A. Stewart of Fenton, who did not respond to our questionnaire.)


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