OUR VIEW: Ionia County primary recommendations

By Daily News • Last Updated 10:43 am on Thursday, July 26, 2012

A young Ionia County commissioner is challenging the current Ionia County clerk for her position in the Aug. 7 primary election.

James Lower, 23, of Ronald Township, is facing off against Tonda Rich, 41, of Belding, Orleans Township. Both candidates are Republicans.

Mr. Lower is an ambitious young man with lots of ideas. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics and expects to earn his master’s degree in business administration next year. He previously worked for then-State Rep. Brian Calley (now lieutenant governor) and is a member of the Ionia County Board of Commissioners.

Mr. Lower wants to bring change to the clerk’s office by focusing on customer service, innovation and accountability. He believes that accountability can be achieved by greater transparency and properly following state election law.

We admire Mr. Lower’s ideas and applaud him for filing to run for a major county seat. It’s heartening to see young professionals like him take an interest in local government.

Ms. Rich was appointed county clerk in 2005 and has almost eight years experience in leading that office.
She has prior experience in other county offices dating back to 1996 and is also well aware of Ionia County courthouse operations, including the crucial task of maintaining, updating and indexing court records. She functions well in multiple environments, has reduced operating costs in her office and has the goal of placing county records online so people can conduct secure searches from the comfort of their own home.

The responsibilities of the clerk’s office are many, varied and complex. Ionia County needs a leader with experience. We are in favor of re-electing Ms. Rich as Ionia County clerk.

• • • •

The longtime Ionia County drain commissioner is facing off against a fresh face.

John Bush, 68, of Belding, has been drain commissioner for more than 23 years. He is being challenged for the position by David Daniels, 44, of Lake Odessa, Sebewa Township. Both men are Republicans.

Mr. Bush was previously a farmer and excavating contractor before becoming drain commissioner. Mr. Daniels is employed as an over-the-road carrier. He has experience with excavating as well.

As the longtime drain commissioner, Mr. Bush has established good relationships with local townships and the Ionia County Road Commission. If re-elected, he wants to address the issue of aging tile drains and getting drains mapped and digitized, as well as keeping an eye on the high costs of state regulations and permit fees for local property owners.

Mr. Daniels’ goals as drain commissioner would be to maintain drains in a cost-effective manner, to find new ways to manage right-of-ways without spraying brush and trees throughout the county and to look at water quality and management.

We appreciate Mr. Daniels’ new ideas, but we feel Mr. Bush’s experience is an invaluable asset to Ionia County. We are in favor of re-electing Mr. Bush as drain commissioner.

• • • •

Three men are running for the open District 5 position on the Ionia County Board of Commissioners.

Chad Murphy, 41, of Orleans Township, manages a Sears store in Ionia and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in strategic management.

Kenneth Thompson, age unavailable, of Ronald Township, is employed as a consultant.

Scott Wirtz of Fenwick did not return a Daily News questionnaire seeking comment, so we were unable to take a position on his candidacy.

All three men are Republicans.

Mr. Murphy’s goals for Ionia County include keeping a balanced budget, crime prevention to protect citizens and better security for county employees. As a manager of several Sears stores, he has experience in staffing, budgets, scheduling, security, customer service, business operations and human relations.

Mr. Thompson’s goals for Ionia County include rolling back local regulations that hinder business entrepreneurs, closing down antiquated local government agencies and commissions and rolling back the size of county government in general. A self-described “Constitutional,” he is offering his own common sense solutions to reducing county government expenditures, spending and the tax burden.

We think Mr. Murphy has the most appropriate background and experience for this important position on the Ionia County Board of Commissioners. We are in favor of electing him as the new commissioner for District 5.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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