STANTON — Behind the rhetoric, finances and experience are the top two hot topics being addressed by Sandy Raines and Dennis Lance, the two Republican candidates for Montcalm County drain commissioner.
The two will face off in the Aug. 7 primary election. The winner will face off against Shane Jacobs, a Democrat from Howard City, in the Nov. 6 general election.
Lance, 56, of Crystal Township, is marketing himself as the candidate of change. With 16 years of experience on the Crystal Township Board and 15 years at Carson City-Crystal Area Schools (currently as transportation director), Lance says he has the experience in public relations needed to effectively perform the job of drain commissioner. Lance currently serves as Crystal Township treasurer.
“Twenty years farming, 16 years serving on Crystal Township Board, managing operations and transportation budgets, working closely with students, parents and staff, has prepared me to effectively lead the drain commissioner office with fairness, efficiency and transparency for the residents of Montcalm County,” Lance said.
The office needs to change its policies and practices in order to deal with the current financial picture, Lance added.
“If elected, I would operate the office and projects of the office in an economical, efficient and transparent manner,” Lance said, adding that he would also do whatever it takes to improve the relationship between the drain commissioner’s office and the public.
Lance calls the county’s drainage issues the “life blood” of area farmers.
Raines, 53, of Sidney Township, currently serves as the county’s chief deputy drain commissioner and has 34 years of “hands-on” experience.
“Since 1978, I’ve been involved in every aspect of our drain office,” Raines said. “From administrative to public interaction to field work. I’m ready, day one, to assume the commissioner’s duties without any learning curve and without expensive training courses necessary for less qualified candidates.”
Raines adds that that experience includes a solid working knowledge of drain laws, procedure, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulations, relevant financial bonding concerns, countywide lake improvement boards, sewer systems, historical knowledge of established county drains and drain office administrative requirements.
“Our drain office has taken on more responsibilities and complexities over the years without additional employees,” Raines said. “I am committed to keeping expenses down, to not driving the county vehicle home and to contract jobs within our county whenever possible.”
Additionally, Raines intends to modernize old drain records and operate the office in a cost effective manner.