Ionia County Clerk: Commissioner aims to unseat clerk


By Cory Smith • Last Updated 4:53 pm on Monday, August 06, 2012

IONIA — The position of Ionia County clerk will be decided between incumbent Ionia County Clerk Tonda Rich and current Ionia County Commissioner James Lower in the Aug. 7 primary election.

Both candidates are running on the Republican ballot and with no candidate running on the Democratic ticket, the winner of the primary election will win the four-year term.

Tonda Rich

Rich, 41, of Orleans Township, says experience plays a large role when searching for qualifications to be county clerk. She is a graduate of Belding High School and Davenport University.

“I started working for the county in 1996 in the Probate Court Office,” she said. “I started serving as the county clerk in 2005 and am very familiar with the court system, issuing and maintaining vital records and the election process.”
Rich said she has been very comfortable holding the position of county clerk and has no intentions of using the position for any political gain.

“I’ve worked for the county for 16 years and I have no intentions of climbing the political ladder,” she said.
Rich said she has reduced operating costs each year and would like to offer the ability to do record searches securely online while still being able to offer public access to record books.

Lower, 23, of Ronald Township pointed to his experience as a county commissioner as being beneficial to the position of county clerk.

“Having been a commissioner, I feel I have a good understanding of the challenges I will be faced with if elected to the clerk’s office,” he said. “My experience leading change and my respect for taxpayers is what sets me apart from my opponent.”

James Lower

Lower graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and expects to receive his master’s degree in business administration from Grand Valley State University in 2013.

If elected, Lower said he would like to improve customer service and innovate by using more technology, as he said he has been disappointed with the way the clerk’s office has been run.

“There are many specific things I would like to accomplish,” he said. “But (everything) boils down to excellent customer service.”

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