Eight Republican candidates are running for four contested positions on the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners.
Jack Johnson, 39, of Greenville, and Dale Reyburn, 61, of Greenville, are facing off for the District 1 position.
Johnson is employed as a fire lieutenant through the Grand Rapids Fire Department and a fire training officer and reserve police officer with the Greenville Department of Public Safety.
“I have been involved with Montcalm County since 1992,” Johnson said. “I have worked for Montcalm County Animal Control, the Road Commission for Montcalm County and Montcalm County Emergency Services.”
Johnson is also director of Montcalm County’s Fire Academy and secretary/treasurer of Montcalm County’s Firefighters Association.
“I have retained knowledge of how county government is structured and have a professional relationship with some department heads,” he said.
With the working knowledge of departments and how they operate, Johnson said he would be able to make good, sound decisions on county issues that arise.
Issues Johnson would like to address if elected are the Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services millage, ensure residents are represented appropriately with fresh ideas and promote economic recovery through the county.
“I will be available to my constituents,” Johnson said.
Reyburn is a financial representative for Lincoln Investment Planning and a membership representative for the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Since 2004, he has been a member of Montcalm County’s Republican Party and he sits on the Greenville Planning Commission.
“I am a former Montcalm County commissioner,” Reyburn said. “I was president of the Flat River Right to Life.”
One issue important to Reyburn is the budget and safety issues related to not properly funding the sheriff’s office.
“I would work to make sure we stay competitive on economic issues,” he said.
Reyburn said he would like to see at least one meeting a year to be moved to the evening.
“If we were to have an evening meeting, people that work during the day and can’t attend meetings would be able to come and it would be a way to reach out the general public,” he said. “It would force us to be a little more mindful to those we serve.”
The winner of the Republican primary race will face off against Ronald Blanding of Greenville, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 general election.
Tom Lindeman, 68, of Greenville, and Lloyd Walker, 83, of Greenville, are running for the District 2 position.
Both Lindeman and Walker are currently on the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners — Lindeman as District 2 commissioner and Walker as District 1 commissioner — but the two men are being forced to campaign against each other due to redistricting.
Lindeman is an owner of a small business in the Greenville area. During his career, he worked in the private enterprise system doing work to improve efficiencies and services.
It’s working in a private business that Lindeman thinks sets him apart from Walker.
“We have got to keep working on consolidating,” Lindeman said, and added when looking to other counties that consolidate, those counties are able to show efficiency.
Some issues Lindeman would like to address are how to effectively serve the public with services, plan for the future of the citizens and keep citizens informed of plans and proposals.
“Change the mindset of officials, keep the county on a fiscally sound basis, improve the travel infrastructure of the county and work in cooperation with other local units of government and adjacent counties,” said Lindeman.
Walker is retired and a graduate of Greenville High School. He has received short courses in real estate, lumber merchandising and property assessment along with technical training classes. He said he has knowledge of city and county government.
“I served 22 years on the city council — 13 years as mayor — and six years as a county commissioner,” Walker said.
He also served on the State Boundary Commission and the Michigan State Air Pollution Control Commission.
“My opponent is a hard-working, good commissioner,” Walker said. “Both of us would aim to serve the best interest of our district we represent as well as the best interests of the entire county. My years of experience in local government and my age are the main differences between us.”
Issues Walker would like to address are balancing the budget, providing services and promoting economic development.
“I would like to help improve cooperation among county commissioners, all other elected officials and all units of government in the county,” said Walker of what he hopes to accomplish if re-elected.
Ron Braman, age unavailable, of Richland Township, and incumbent Roger Caris, 65, of Richland Township, are running for the District 4 position.
Braman is a trustee on the Richland Township Board, president of the Bass Lake Association, recording secretary of the Blanchard Telephone Association, serves on the Richland Township Planning Commission and the Montcalm County Parks and Recreation Commission.
“When I worked at Saginaw Steering Gear, I served as financial secretary treasurer for 10 years, president for three years and chairman for three years,” Braman said.
One issue he would like to address is the lack of funds in the county.
“I would take a look at what’s funded and to make sure we aren’t wasting money,” he said.
Items Braman would like accomplish if elected include not seeing Montcalm County struggling to make ends meet, working on getting industries to relocate to the county and creating jobs.
Caris works in health care and is a retirement specialist. He has 43 years of experience in public and private sectors and previously served eight terms as a Montcalm County commissioner.
Caris said the reason he wants to keep serving as county commissioner is because of the knowledge and experience he has accumulated, which helps him to serve as commissioner with the best interest of the county’s residents.
Issues he would like to address if re-elected are finances, jobs and county image.
“(I want) to continue to be a team player on the board, ensuring that we are doing the right things for all our constituents and county employees,” Caris said.
Steven DeWitt of Pine Township and Thomas Porter of Maple Valley Township are running for county commissioner in District 8.
DeWitt, 43, is the chief of police for the village of Howard City.
He said his qualifications include common sense, practical experience, leadership, 22 years of experience as a public employee in local government and membership he has obtained within ten groups and associations.
“My experiences, strong common sense and practical abilities,” DeWitt said is what sets him apart from other candidates. “My promise to never forget who pays the bills for every decision made in Stanton.”
Issues he would like to address if elected are the budget crisis, the lagging economy and the lack of public participation in government.
DeWitt said he would like to represent tax payers and work on getting county commissioner meetings moved to the evening when more people could attend.
“I want to see meetings get moved,” he said. “Currently, the everyday average tax payers can’t go.”
DeWitt said the county commissioner meetings should mimic the township and city council meetings where they are all usually held in the evening.
Porter, 66, is retired.
Things he said set him apart from other candidates are his problem solving skills, budget problems he faced being a business owner, dedication to the community and coming up with solutions for the good of everyone.
“(I) lived in Montcalm County for 38 years, run a small business (and) 15 years of helping my community,” Porter said as setting him apart from others. “This is my home and I will go/do whatever it takes to improve it.”
Issues he would like to address if elected are learning more about resources, cleaning up deserted businesses and getting more information out about services that are available.
“It opened my eyes when I found out what resources were available and weren’t pursued,” Porter said.
He said with gathering that information and getting it out to the people of the county, he hopes to help local organizations get things done.