Election time is here, and there are a lot of candidates running for both local and state government. Voters will go to the polls on August 7 to make their selections. Last week we published the candidates for Solon and Nelson Townships. This week, the Post is covering the townships of Spencer, Algoma and Courtland; Kent County Sheriff; and local legislative district races.
Candidates for Supervisor
Jeff Knapp – Republican is running uncontested for his Supervisor seat. He has been Supervisor in Spencer Township for six years. He is a self-employed builder and has lived in Spencer all of his life. He and his wife Catherine have been married for 18 years, and have three grown children and four grandchildren. Jeff said his main reason for running for office is to serve the community he grew up in and to instill and maintain the sense of community they have enjoyed for many years. Prior to serving as Supervisor he served three years on the Spencer Planning Commission. Jeff feels the major challenge facing Spencer is finding creative ways through grants and volunteers to improve the community, parks, roads, fire department and Internet accessibility with diminishing revenue sharing.
Candidates for Clerk
Denise Biegalle – Republican is running uncontested for her Clerk seat and has been Spencer Township Clerk since 2011. She has been employed by Cascade Charter Township as Human Resource Director/Deputy Clerk for 8 years. She and her husband Jeff Biegalle have been married for 37 years, and have lived in Gowen 9 years. Denise has been working in government since 1976, and said she enjoys working with people and the challenges of working with the public sector. She believes her main strength is her experience. She worked for the City of Rockford as Deputy Clerk 1976-1988; was a City of Rockford Councilperson (elected) 1997-2004; on the Rockford Planning Commission one year as a liaison to Council; and Spencer Township Trustee 2008–2011.
Candidates for Treasurer (1) seat, (2) candidates
Judy Geglio – Democrat is the current Township Treasurer. She did not return a questionnaire.
Misty Jaekel – Republican is running for the Township Treasurer seat. Misty is 27 years old. She and her husband moved into the community a little over a year ago and are eager to get involved. She grew up in the small rural community of Montague, which she sas is very similar to the community of Spencer Township. Misty is currently a homemaker and child care provider. She said she is running for office because she wants to bring a fresh perspective to local government. “I think we need to represent a broader age range on the board to better represent our whole community. As someone in my late 20s I will bring the energy needed to meet my community’s needs,” she explained. She thinks the major issue in the township now is providing adequate infrastructure, including better roads and access to utilities such as broadband, 3 phase power and natural gas. “If the residents in Spencer Township had better access to these infrastructures it would help farmers in our community move products, lower opportunity costs to businesses and bring down costs to our hard working residents,” she said.
Candidates for Trustee (2) seats, (6) candidates – all Republican
Albert Frandsen, an incumbent, is running for his seat as trustee. He did not return a questionnaire.
Kari Kleynenberg is also running for trustee. She did not return a questionnaire.
Christopher Jon Lange is also running for trustee. He did not return a questionnaire.
Eldon R. Lutz is running for trustee. He said he previously served as a trustee a year ago. He is 65 years old and has lived in Spencer Township all his life. He retired from milking cows after 55 years, and retired from Electrolux after 35 years of service. He is now running a beef operation and is a crop farmer. He has been married for 36 years and has two daughters and four grandchildren. Eldon said his primary reason for running for office is because he wants to see the government come back to the people. He believes the main strength he’ll bring to the office is to make the township more accountable for the money they spend. He said the major challenges facing the township is road upkeep, and the way the money is spent in the township.
Jeffrey Stapp, incumbent, is running for his seat as trustee. He is 55 years old, was raised in Muskegon, graduated from Oakridge High School, retired from the U.S. Army, is happily married and has lived near Lincoln Lake for 7 years. He works in facility maintenance for Arbor Circle in Grand Rapids. He has also been an administrator and direct care provider in adult foster care, a youth crisis counselor, and a habitat for humanity coordinator. He was previously selected to be an interim trustee and said he is running because he’d like to continue serving the community. “The major challenge facing our district, our county, our community is continuing excellent services while being fiscally responsible,” he said. “What I want to accomplish during this term is progress towards lakes we can wade in. Barefoot!”
John H. Tow II, 49, is running for trustee. He has lived in Spencer Township for 25 years, and is owner/operator of Tows Country Stores, in Lincoln Lake and Coral, since 1987. He’s been married to his wife, Kelly, for 26 years. They have four children, Sarah, 23; Joshua, 21; Jacob, 18; and Katie, 16. He has also served on the Spencer Zoning and Planning board.
John said his primary reason for running for office is that because he has run a successful business in Spencer Twp. for the past 25 years, he believes he can bring a management viewpoint to the board that few other candidates can. One of his strengths is his daily contact with residents. He believes fiscal responsibility is the greatest challenge facing the township. “With the tightening of funds available at all levels, we must manage like never before,” he said.
In Algoma Township, incumbent Supervisor Dennis A. Hoemke, Republican, 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.
Candidates for Trustee (4) seats, (6) candidates – all Republican
Wayne Bigney is running for reelection, and is a life-long resident of Algoma Township. He is a dairy farmer and a member of the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation Board, of which he has been Chairman for the past 12 years. He is also a Deacon of the Algoma Baptist Church. “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,” said Wayne. “I will work to keep Algoma Township as rural as possible.
Nancy Clary is also seeking re-election. She has been an Algoma Township resident for over 22 years. She has over 30 years experience in national, state, county and township government. She 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 7 years; Algoma Township Trustee for the last 4 years, and currently serving on the Master Plan Committee; Algoma Township Planning Commission member for 8 years; and more. “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, developed and monitored multi-million dollar budgets; provided administrative & coordination services for many state, county & township offices and for an infinite variety of public & private programs. As a retired administrator, I can get things done.” She enjoys using her past experiences to provide public service. “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.”
Robert Newberger is running for the position of Algoma Township Trustee. He has been a resident of Algoma Township for 20 years and has been an environmental Consultant/Engineer for 31 years. Newberger has been on the Algoma Township Planning Commission for 18 years during period of significant growth, currently serving as vice-chairman.
Kristy Lecceadone is running for the position of Algoma Township Trustee. She has been a resident of Algoma Township for 12 years. She works as an executive Assistant at a communications company. She said she 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,” she said. “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 Pickerd and James Powell are also running for trustee. No information was available.
Candidates for Supervisor
Charles J. Porter, age 59, a Republican, is running uncontested for his Supervisor seat. He was appointed to that position in November 2010. He is a lifelong resident of Courtland Township, and owns and operates Porter Grain Farms LLC, with his son Andrew Porter and wife Gayla Porter. He also previously served as a Trustee on the Township Board. “I have common sense and a fair approach to all issues,” he said. He believes in an open and honest line of communication between the Public, Township Board and area communities. “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 Dept., and will continue to be a good listener to others and be a strong honest spokesman for Courtland Township on all issues.”
Candidates for Clerk
Marilynn J. Crosby, current Township Clerk, is running as Democrat for reelection and is unopposed. She has been a Courtland Township resident for 37 years, and been clerk since 1999. She was appointed Clerk at that time to replace the retiring Clerk, after serving as Deputy Clerk for 10 years. She has 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,” she said.
Candidates for Treasurer
Jerry L. Davis, Republican, is seeking re-election to his position as Courtland Township Treasurer. He has been a resident of the township for 36 years. He retired from Herman Miller in Zeeland where he was a plant director, and currently operates a farm with his son, Kevin. “I bring a lot of experience of working with people, which I enjoy. My goal is to continue to make doing business with Courtland Township a fun and happy experience.”
Candidates for Trustee
(4) seats, (6) candidates – all Republican
Mary Ann Andersen seeks reelection to her current position of Courtland Township Trustee. She has been a resident of the township for 37 years and is retired. She said qualities she brings to the office are that she is a hard worker, good listener, and does her homework. She feels she brings experience to the board, having served the township since 1998. “I have served on the Courtland Board for many years, first as Clerk, then as Trustee. We have a Board that is fiscally responsible and works well together,” she said. “I would like to continue to be a part and serve the residents of Courtland.”
Colleen L. Brown is seeking re-election to her position as Trustee for Courtland Township. She has been a resident since 1985. Brown works as a mortgage banker, and besides being a Courtland Twp. Trustee, she is also the Zoning Administrator. She has worked for various township and county governments since 1976. She was Deputy Clerk and Township Secretary of Groveland Township; eight years as Deputy Treasurer of Oakland County; Deputy Treasurer eight years at Courtland Township; Planning Commission Member and Rec. Board Secretary; and Zoning Board. Of Appeals Rec. Secretary. “Courtland Township is very important to me,” said Colleen. “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.”
Thomas F. Kinney is seeking reelection to his position on the board. He is a life-long resident of Kent County and has lived in Courtland Township for 10 years. He is a retired bank executive by profession. He is President of the Kent County Chapter of the Michigan Township Association and a board member of the Cedar Springs Parks and Recreation. “My goals are to continue with the work I am presently doing and accepting additional responsibilities as they become available,” said Thomas. “I have the training, knowledge and desire to be re-elected Trustee to Courtland Township.”
Matt McConnon is running for Courtland Township Trustee. He is currently Chair on the Courtland Township Planning Commission, where he has served since 2005. He is on staff at Rockford Ambulance where he is the Operations Manager. In addition 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 thinks it would be beneficial to open up parts of the township’s most used roads to zoning to 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.
Kimberly McIntyre is running for Trustee. She has lived in Courtland Township for 25 years with her husband and family. They live on a small generational farm. She has been involved in leading 4-H groups for 24 years and enjoys spending time outside with my family working on projects. She said her interest in Courtland Township has always been strong, since her father-in-law was the supervisor for many years. Currently, she is the Chairperson for Courtland Township Zoning Board of Appeals and she works the township elections. She is also a project manager for McIntyre Builders, Inc., a realtor for Property Associates, LLC. During the school year, she is a substitute teacher for Professional Educational Services. “If elected, my goal is to meet the constituents 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,” she said.
Mike Krygier is also running for trustee. No other information was available.
KENT COUNTY SHERIFF
Lawrence A. Stelma, is seeking reelection as the Kent County Sheriff as a Republican. He has been a life-long resident of Kent County (63 years) and has lived on a hobby farm in Solon Township since the mid-1990s. He is married, with two adult daughters. He has over 40 years of service as a deputy with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office, where he started as a corrections officer and served in virtually every capacity, and worked his way up to Sheriff. He has been elected Sheriff for three terms, the last 12 years. He said he is running for office again to maintain momentum and continuity and not jeopardize what has been accomplished over the last few years, including construction of the new correctional facility. He has served on many committees and boards, including FBI appointed boards; President and current past president of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association and various committees, advisory boards to college criminal justice programs and several local organizations including Silent Observer; church boards, Michigan High School Rodeo Association, Kent County 4-H, and Michigan Christmas Tree Association. Sheriff Stelma said his main strength is that he is the only candidate with any proven experience, and the only one involved with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. He has the largest budgeted department in Kent County, and experience running the largest correctional institute in West Michigan. He said the major challenge facing the district is the restructuring of the county-wide dispatch and communications system, and noted that real progress has been made in the last 6-8 years. Other challenges include a smooth transition in the opening of the new correctional facility this fall, and the development of the Sheriff’s Mounted Unit at Kroes and Northland, which is reaching the half-way point. “The challenge is to keep our community safe for those who call Kent County home, staying vigilant in addressing both violent crime and new and developing issues that assault our quality of life, requiring the stable leadership and continuity I bring to office,” said Sheriff Stelma.
Michael B. Scruggs is running for Kent County Sheriff on the Democratic ticket. He did not return a questionnaire, but instead sent a campaign flyer. Qualifications include: a past board member of the Kent County Dept. of Human Services Board of Directors; Chairman of the Black Caucus Practicum; the Cook County Public Defenders Investigation Office where he worked on high profile murder cases; being an instructor in security and investigation. He wants to explore consolidation services with other public safety departments, reduce “revolving-door population” at the Kent County Correctional Facility; scrutinize the correctional budget.
James L. Farris, of Grand Rapids, is running as a Democrat for Kent County Sheriff. The questionnaire was not returned.
KENT COUNTY CLERK/REGISTER
Mary Hollinrake is seeking re-election as a Republican 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 of 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. Holindrake invites voters to visit online to look at the websites of her various offices at www.accesskent.com.
Richard Carrillo, of Grand Rapids, is running as a Democrat for Kent County Clerk/Register.
KENT COUNTY TREASURER
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.
KENT COUNTY DRAIN COMMISSIONER
Running for Kent County Drain Commissioner, a term ending 2016, incumbent William R. Byl of Grand Rapids is the Republican candidate and Democrat Christopher M. Preville, of Grand Rapids, is the Democratic candidate.
KENT COUNTY COMMISSIONER, THIRD DISTRICT
Roger Morgan is seeking re-election to the 3rd District seat on the Kent County Commission and is running as a Republican. Morgan, a Commissioner since 2001, recently served 4 years as Chairman of the Commission after having served as Vice-Chair of the Board for 3 years and 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. 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.
James Black, of Cedar Springs, is opposing Morgan and running as a Democrat.
State district races
STATE REPRESENTATIVE 73RD DISTRICT (2) Candidates
Peter F. MacGregor, of Rockford, is the Republican incumbent running for re-election as State Representative for the 73rd District. He has been a resident of his district for 16 years. Prior to being elected representative, he served as the Cannon Township Supervisor for six years and Cannon Township Trustee for four years. He said he ran for office to contribute to the betterment of Michigan. “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.” He said that as a former business owner and job provider, and a local elected official, he has 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. I am accessible to my constituency, holding bi-weekly district office hours and open to hearing from everyone in my district.” He also noted that while serving on the appropriations committee, they 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,” he said.
G. Scott Schuiling, of Rockford, is running as a Democratic candidate for 73rd District. No other info was provided.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE 74TH DISTRICT (3) Candidates
Rob Verheulen, of Walker, is running as a Republican for 74th District State Representative. He has lived in the district for 31 years and is a lifelong resident of Kent County. He and his wife, Norma, have 4 married daughters and eight grandchildren. Rob has been the Mayor of the City of Walker since September 11, 2001. He is also employed as the General Counsel for The Meijer Foundation and as the Meijer Family Counsel. He is a 29-year employee of Meijer. Until his death last November, he was Fred Meijer’s personal attorney and worked with him on business and philanthropic matters. He serves on several non-profit boards and commissions. Rob said his experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors provides the experience necessary for serving in the legislature. “I have had to identify priorities and make the difficult decisions necessary for the organization(s) to be sustainable,” he explained. “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.” Rob said he wishes to use his decades of experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors to benefit the residents of the 74th district and the State of Michigan.
Steve Maas, of Grandville, is running as Republican for 74th District State Representative. He is a lifelong resident of Grandville. Steve and his wife have been married for 21 years and have seven children. Steve has served for a number of years on the City of Grandville Planning Commission and was elected to the Grandville City Council in 1997, where he continues to serve, and was recently chosen as Mayor Pro-tem. He practiced law for several years, then joined his family in the construction and real estate industry. He owns a meat-processing company near Holland. He served as a bank director for 15 years to two small community banks, and in 2009 was elected as director of a multi-billion dollar bank holding company. He is also director of Access BIDCO, LLC, a business and industrial development company that provides financing and management help to Michigan businesses. He said that though he has a legal background, he has no hidden agendas, and strives for moral and ethical excellence. Steve said the major challenge is the lack of well paying jobs in this 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. We need to create an atmosphere where jobs can easily flourish.”
3RD DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS (Federal)
Justin Amash, of Grand Rapids, is the incumbent and running as a Republican to defend his seat. He did not return a questionnaire.
Steve Pestka, of Ada, is running as a Democrat for the 3rd District seat. He is a lifelong resident of the district, and owns H&H Management, a small business. He and his wife, Alicia, have one son, Nathan. Steve served as a Kent County Circuity Court Judge from 2002-2009; was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 1999-2002, and on the Kent County Commission from 1993-1999. “We need a representative in Washington who can get things done for the people of the Third Congressional District,” said Steve, about why he wanted to run. “I will work tirelessly for legislation that will help revitalize our economy and put West Michigan back to work. I will ensure that the promises we have made to our seniors are kept and that crucial health services for women are never jeopardized.” He said he brings a unique skill set to this race as a small business owner, former judge and assistant prosecutor, and former legislator. “The biggest challenge we face is revitalizing West Michigan’s economy to deal with the damage of the Great Recession. We need a representative with the knowledge, foresight and background to deliver results for our families and Middle Class. I am the only person running in this race who has a background as a small business owner, judge and legislator, and those skills will ensure that I deliver results in Washington that will help improve West Michigan’s economy.”
Trevor Thomas, of Grand Rapids, is also running for 3rd District representative as a Democrat. No other info was available.