Ellenburg, Goetzinger square off in county commission race, Nov. 3


BURTON — Genesee County Commissioner Ellen Ellenburg, a Democrat, will face opposition from Republican challenger Gary Goetzinger for her seat representing the county’s 3rd district.

The two Burton residents will vie for the seat on the Board of Commissioners in the Nov. 3 general election.

Here is what the candidates had to say:

Ellen Ellenburg, Age: 66

Education: Bendle High School, Mott Community College

Accomplishments: Served 9 years on the Burton City Council, where she was Legislative Chair, Representative for Metropolitan Alliance, Liaison for Burton Libraries, Public Access Committee member, Planning Commission member and she served on the Burton Police Mileage Committee. She has been a Burton Chamber of Commerce Board member for 8 years, Goyette “Heats-On” Program Committee Member for 6 years, a member of the Burton Rotary, a FOP member, Vice-Chair for the Democratic Party and a Platinum Level National League of Cities Member.

Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? I’ve been honored to serve as your County Commissioner for the last four years. Together we’ve been able to set a new course of accountability here at Genesee County. For many years, decisions were made with no consideration for how future generations would pay for them. Under our leadership, we’ve put a stop to uninformed decision making and demanded that our community’s priorities are included when crafting our budgets.

We’ve fought hard to meet those obligations that were made years ago while also looking to our future needs and responsibilities.

I am proud that this year’s budget will dedicate the highest percentage of our general budget to public safety than at any time in at least the last five years. I’ve heard my constituents demand that their priority is public safety. That’s why nearly 60 cents of every dollar that is sent to the County is spent on public safety. I’ve also fought to ensure that our retirees aren’t left behind. This year, 20 cents of every dollar at the county is going to pay for the promises that were made to retirees. While this hasn’t been easy, we are getting the job done.

As the Chairperson of our Human Services Committee, we’ve overseen a large influx of Federal dollars that are helping our residents weather the Pandemic that we currently facing. I’ve acted to make sure that these dollars are getting in the hands of our residents that are in the most need for services like property tax help, senior services, weatherization and senior home-delivered meals to name just a few. I have dedicated my career to help the vulnerable and I have continued that work on the County Board.

Gary Goetzinger, Age: 65

Education: Master of Arts, Educational Administration; Community Leadership, Central Michigan University; Bachelor of Arts, Physical Education, Social Sciences, Alma College.

Accomplishments: Have been an educational administrator for the past 40 years as a high school principal, assistant principal, community education director, teacher, athletic director, and coach. I am most proud of my service to the communities I have resided in (Goetzinger said he has served as a two-term city councilman in St. Louis, Michigan and as president of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce.)

Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? My goals are pretty simple: I want to improve the quality of life in Genesee County. I will use my political experience along with my 40 years of proven strong leadership to accomplish that goal. I am a conservative guy who has the ability to make people’s lives better. I am honest and reputable and believe in transparent leadership. I am known as the “people’s principal” and given the chance, will be the “people’s commissioner”.

The Genesee County View will run more candidate profiles over the coming weeks for the various races through the county.