GAINES TWP. — Four residents are seeking two open, four-year seats on the Gaines Township Board of Trustees in Nov. 3 general election.
Residents Michael VanDusen, Jill Rohner, Rodney Fowler and Leslie Casto will vie for two seats. Here is what the candidates had to say to our questionnaire:
Michael VanDusen, Age: 59
Education: Graduate of Flint Northern H.S. Class of 79, attended Mott Community College, have earned several Industry technical certifications from Microsoft, and CompTia
Accomplishments: I am the director of an IT department for a large Mid-Michigan Non Profit. I raised two sons and put them through college free of debt. They both are enjoying successful careers of their own now. Up until now I’ve led a relatively uneventful life. I have always striven to do what is right no matter what the cost of doing that may be.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected?
1.) The Township is in a bit of a fiscal mess right now. I intend to support decisions that will fix that. When the residents say loud and clear “no” to something then the board should respect that and budget accordingly.
2.) Fairness for all residents. Certain people or groups should not get more or less favorable treatment because of who they are, who they know, or where in the township their homes are located.
3.) Return to a policy of Honesty, Respect, and Civility. it’s truly embarrassing to watch the disrespect and animosity the board members have for those who question them. I don’t care how stinging a criticism is, public servants have an obligation to respect the citizens and to thank them for their comments.
4.) Accountability and Transparency. Craft and institute policies and procedures that shine the light of day on how the township conducts its business. Develop proper recording and dissemination of audio and video records of all public meetings. No more forcing cameras and mics to the back of the room while turning down the PA and turning the mics away from the board member when they are speaking.
Jill (Wendt) Rohner, Age: 39
Education: Swartz Creek HS graduate, Associates degree – Early Childhood Education,
Accomplishments: Married 16 years with two children, substitute teacher -Linden Schools (2018), independent Mary Kay Consultant (2014), and Volunteer Chair Gaines Community Rodeo (2002)
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? In my experience and listening to others, many do not feel their concerns are being heard. I am passionate about changing this. I want to be your voice within the board. Residents should be encouraged to share their concerns regarding the township. Tax money collected comes directly from them. I believe they should have a say in how it is spent. I plan to have an open-door policy. If you have a concern, let me know. Then, I’ll share it with the board and attempt to find a solution. I was taught that taking care of others is important. What happened to neighbors helping neighbors? I believe we need this more than ever in our community. Linden has a “pay it forward” program, a non-profit group of community members helping the needs of others in the area. I would like to create a group like this in Gaines. If a family is struggling with a health crisis, volunteers can help with yard work, donate gift cards or set up meal trains to lessen the family burden. Donations of items can also be collected. Township government is a service to residents, I was raised in a family offering service to others whenever possible. I am committed to honesty, transparency, respect and fair representation of all residents. I am dedicated to listening to their concerns as well as being a good steward of their tax money. If elected I would be honored to serve the community, raising morale, making them proud to be a resident of Gaines Township.
Rodney (Rocky) Fowler, Age: 53
Education: Swartz Creek Schools
Accomplishments: Lived in Gaines Township all my life. Was a superintendent for a builder, a diesel Mechanic and a produce farmer for 31 years with agriculture experience.
I have a background in building and other trades. Know the geographical area of Gaines Township. I’m well known in the community.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? Working with the board members and residents of Gaines Township I resolve issues and or questions. Working to find the best solutions to issues. Drain issues, Support the existing police and fire department.
I support the concept of all elected office holders signing an Ethics Agreement upon taking office. It will help all of us to help the community for the better.
Leslie Casto: Did not respond to our questionnaire