Candidates for Supervisor
Tom Noreen is running as Republican for the seat of Nelson Township Supervisor. He is originally from Nelson Township and a graduate of Cedar Springs High School. He grew up on the farm where he now lives. He spent over 26 years in the Army and moved back to Cedar Springs in 2001. After retirement, he has worked for Senior Neighbors, Howard Christensen Nature Center, and as a military consultant. Since 2006, he has published The Bugle, which has served the Cedar Springs community for over 30 years. Tom and his wife, Nancy, have four adult children. Tom said that since he began serving as trustee, he has considered running for Supervisor should the opportunity occur. Other boards he has served on include secretary of the CS Rotary Club, trustee on the CS Education Foundation, Committee Chairman for Boy Scout Troop 222 and Venture Crew 2222, and Chairman for CS United Methodist Church Council. He has also served as treasurer for the CS Theatre Association and as a member of the board of directors for Howard Christensen Nature Center. Tom said the main strengths he can bring to the position are over 35 years of public service, eight of which are as a Trustee for Nelson Township. “As a 26-year Army veteran, I led organizations with hundreds of personnel and managed budgets in excess of $30 million. I thrive on challenge and seek opportunities to give back to my community,” he explained. Tom said the township does not face any major challenges and it is fiscally sound. “I want to make sure we preserve the rural character of our township while encouraging responsible growth in the commercial corridors. One service I would like to explore is a way to provide broadband internet service to all areas of the township,” he said.
Kirk Thielke is running as a Republican for Nelson Township Supervisor. He is a 47-year-old married father of four, and a 25 year resident of Nelson Township. He is currently fulfilling his 3rd term as village president for the Village of Sand Lake and has recently been appointed as the Nelson Township Deputy Supervisor. Thielke says he offers the township excellence through experience. “I am a military veteran with practical and financial experience in both private and public sectors,” he explained. Kirk has started and owned 2 retail businesses within the township; volunteered for many years on the local chamber of commerce; and coached several local sports teams. He has also served on both local police and fire departments, which he said contributed to his ability to be provide for the needs of both. “I believe a good leader must be a great servant. As my record clearly exhibits, I am dedicated whole-heartedly to our community. I am not afraid of hard work or tough decision. I was an unequivocal opponent of the disincorporation of the Village of Sand Lake and consider the significant victory by the voters, a great accomplishment for the entire community,” said Kirk. “I retain excellent problem solving skills and if given the opportunity, I will approach all township issues with the same diligence, honest and integrity I live by and that the township and its people deserve. I believe strongly that the township should be more accessible and accountable to the people it serves. I feel that with unambiguous job descriptions and clearly defined objectives this can be accomplished benefiting all residents.”
Candidates for Clerk
Laura Hoffman is running for as a Republican her seat as Nelson Township Clerk. She is currently uncontested. She and her husband Curt have been married for 26 years and have two married daughters and three grandchildren, who speak three foreign languages between them. After moving to Nelson Township in the fall of 1987, she began working elections the following year and has worked every election since. In 1992, she was offered the deputy clerk position, and in 1995 was appointed township clerk. Shortly afterwards she was asked by the Kent County Clerk to administer two recall elections in neighboring townships. “I take great pride in running local elections and pledge to uphold the law and its integrity,” said Laura. She is currently the treasurer for Kent County MTA Chapter, the Vice Chair of the Friends of the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library, and the secretary for the Nelson Township Planning Commission. The primary reason she is running for a fifth term is to continue helping residents by promoting services such as Passport agency and notary services. “One of my long term goals includes improvements to our township cemeteries. Throughout my years serving Nelson Township, I’m most proud of assisting township residents in resolving community issues,” she said.
Candidates for treasurer
Katy Austin is running as a Republican for Nelson Township treasurer. She did not return a questionnaire.
Candidates for Nelson Township trustee (2) seats 4 – candidates
Glen Armstrong is running as a Republican for Nelson Township trustee. He has lived in Nelson Township his entire 56 years, and is employed at GE Aviation as a manufacturing engineer. He and his wife have raised three children in Nelson Township. Glen believes his main strength is the experience he has in township government. Glen has served for over 25 years on the planning commission, as a trustee, and most recently as Supervisor. He said his primary reason for running is that he would like to see the government serve the people and not the other way around. He would also like to see paving roads become a priority again.
Maureen Mahoney is running as a Republican to hold on to her seat as a Nelson Township trustee. She has lived in Nelson for 12 years, and moved here from Kansas City, Missouri to be closer to her family. She is single and has no children. She is currently employed at Advantage Health Physician Network as a Medical Assistant. She was elected four years ago and knew little about government but has enjoyed the learning process and would like to continue to serve. She is currently President of the Friends of the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library. What is the main strength she would bring to the board? “I think I’m a very fair minded person. I listen to all sides before making a decision or voting,” she said.
Warren Hanson is running as a Republican for Nelson Township trustee. He has lived in Nelson Township his whole life. For 20 years he owned Hanson’s Radiator and Auto Repair on Main Street in Cedar Springs. He also served for five years for the Department of Defense in Iraq, and just returned in November of 2011. Warren was a member of the Cedar Springs Lions Club for 20 years. He said the reason he is running for office is because he would like to see the assessor removed.
Gabrielle Warner is running as a Republican for Nelson Township trustee. She moved here from Toledo, Ohio and has lived in Nelson Township 12 years. She is a financial services professional with Mass Mutual and owner/agent at Innovative Solutions Agency. She has been married to her husband, Bill, for 31 years, and they have two grown children. Gabrielle said her primary reason for running is to stay involved with her township and get to know her neighbors better. She hopes to bring her skills in business efficiency to the Nelson Township board to benefit residents. Gabrielle has served on the Nelson Township Board of Review for four years, been on the board for the Cedar Springs Rotary Club, and is 2010 past-president. The major challenge she sees facing Nelson is providing expected services for the township despite budget pressures due to the economy and reduced state funding. “I hope to bring fresh ideas with a business owner’s efficiency to the board,” she said.
See next week’s paper for more candidates.