2012 General Election Candidate Questionnaires

By Daily News • Last Updated 11:37 am on Monday, November 05, 2012

1. Name, age and city/village/township of residence?

2. Current employment?

3. Education?

4. What qualifications do you have that would effectively serve and benefit your district if you are elected to this position?

5. What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?

6. What is your main concern about your district and how would you address that issue if elected?

7. What would you like to accomplish during your term if elected?


U.S. Senator

Debbie Stabenow (Democrat)

Did not return a questionnaire.


Pete Hoekstra (Republican)

Did not return a questionnaire.


1. Scotty Boman, 50, Detroit. (Libertarian)

2. Professor.

3. Wayne State University teaching certificate (1998) and MAT (1999); Western Michigan University master’s in physics (1987), and bachelor’s (1985) with majors in physics and philosophy and minor in mathematics.

4. I’ve been a professional educator for 20 years. I served on the Wayne State University Student Council in 1999. I was chairman of the Libertarian Party of Michigan in 2006. My most important qualification is the ability to only approve laws that are consistent with the U.S. Constitution and individual liberty.

5. My vote will be for liberty every time. Both of my major party opponents are Washington insiders, who each have a record of doing the bidding of special interests. They do this at the expense of our future: more debt, less liberty. Their reward takes the form of over a million dollars in expensive commercials and advertisements. While this can’t be said for my other opponents, I will support less debt and more liberty than any of them.

6. The ongoing economic depression. Recent administrations have only made matters worse by growing government and adding to the national debt. State and local governments have been forced to tighten their belts because they don’t have the privilege to run serial deficits and legislate their own debt ceiling.

7. Restore Liberty: Repeal indefinite detentions (Section 1021 of the NDAA of 2012). I support the separation of government and marriage, Internet freedom and an end to warrantless surveillance and searches. Furthermore, I will vote to re-legalize incandescent light-bulbs (I know there isn’t an absolute ban, but Congressional restrictions are having the same effect). Restore Prosperity: The Federal Reserve System robs people of their savings while enriching share-holders of Federal Reserve Banks. Legal tender laws need to be abolished. The Federal Reserve System needs to be fully audited, and carefully dismantled. Restore Peace: While I support a strong military to defend the United States against aggression, the United States should take a more diplomatic approach, and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world.


Harley Mikkelson (Green party)

Did not return a questionnaire.


John Litle (Natural Law party)

Did not return a questionnaire.


Richard Matkin (U.S. Taxpayers party)

Did not return a questionnaire.


3rd District Congress representative

1. Steve Petska, 61, Ada. (Democrat)

2. Small business owner.

3. Bachelor of arts in history from the University of Michigan in 1974; JD from Detroit College of Law in 1977.

4. My background gives me a unique skill set in this race. I have worked in my family’s small business for more than 30 years and have legislative and judicial experience. As a legislator, I know how to work to create effective laws. As a judge, I’ve had to implement those laws. As a small business owner, I know the impact that the laws have on our economy. The combination of that experience gives me a strong background to effectively represent the people of the 3rd Congressional District.

5. I am focused on representing the people, not a rigid ideology. I have worked with people from both parties on delivering results that improve the quality of life of the people in West Michigan, and that is a major contrast with my opponent in this race.

6. Making sure that we have a representative who is focused on restoring and diversifying the economic vitality of West Michigan and the rest of the United States. My experience in both small business and public service gives me the background to effectively deliver results from the time I set foot in Washington.

7. I want to make sure that the political polarization that is paralyzing our government is ended, and that we have an effective voice representing the will of the people of West Michigan in Congress.


1. Justin Amash, 32, Cascade Township (Republican).

2. Member of Congress.

3. J.D., University of Michigan Law School; AB in economics, University of Michigan; Grand Rapids Christian High School.

4. I am the leading advocate for government restraint in the United States House of Representatives. My voting record reflects my principled, consistent commitment to limited, constitutional government, economic freedom and individual liberty. As a member of Congress, I have fought for a fairer tax code with lower rates, and I have opposed burdensome regulations that hurt businesses and stunt economic growth. I also am able to work across the aisle to address some of our country’s most serious issues, like the national debt and the preservation of our civil liberties.

5. I have never missed a vote as an elected official and I’m the first ever member of Congress to explain every vote (facebook.com/repjustinamash). I also take our country’s fiscal situation seriously. Those of us who care about this country are willing to make real compromises and work together for the benefit of the American people. I don’t support breaking promises made to veterans or those at or near retirement, but everything else must be on the table — including corporate welfare, special tax breaks and subsidies, military spending, and large mandatory spending programs. Steve Pestka skipped 191 votes (on 69 different days) as a state legislator. On debt reduction, he wants to continue kicking the can down the road, which jeopardizes our economic and military strength and will reduce the economic opportunity available to future generations.

6. Jobs and the debt. Michigan families are hurting because too many people are unable to find sustained work. The federal government can best help the economy and reduce unemployment by making regulations predictable and uncomplicated, simplifying the tax code, and letting businesses stand or fail on their own merit. Our country’s fiscal situation will not improve unless Congress takes serious action. We must address the biggest drivers of the debt — large mandatory spending programs and military spending.

7. I have proposed an innovative balanced budget amendment with wide bipartisan support. H.J. Res. 81, the Business Cycle Balanced Budget Amendment, balances current year spending with the average revenue of the last three years. Averaging revenue smoothes out the jumps and dives in federal revenue, makes the budget more predictable, puts downward pressure on taxes, and over time ensures small, sustainable budget surpluses to pay down the debt. Next term, I will continue working with both sides on this and other proposals that would balance the budget and begin reducing the national debt.


Bill Gelineau (Libertarian)

Did not return a questionnaire.


4th District Congress representative

1. Debra Freidell Wirth, 59, Eagle. (Democrat)

2.  I grew up in Michigan, practiced law as a personal injury lawyer in Missouri for 20 years and returned to the state I love in 2009 to be close to my family and to marry my husband.

3. Waverly High School in 1970; bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University in 1974; law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1977. I served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Ingham County for two years.

4.  As a personal injury lawyer, I represented people so they could get through one of the worst times in their lives, evening the playing field in their fight for justice against massive insurance companies and large corporations. This is a natural match for what I now seek to do, helping constituents with their concerns and, again, working for justice.

5. The most obvious change would be that I would appear in Michigan more often to talk to my constituents. I would also be more concerned with their best interests, than working on “tax reform” with other congressmen and lobbyists. Also, see answer 4 above. My opponent has spent his career representing large corporations, not individuals. If you doubt this, check out the list of corporations that have contributed to his campaign. His voting record reflects his hardline Republican view of the world. For instance, he voted to defund Planned Parenthood and he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. As a member of the Super Committee, he could have been a true patriot, crossed political lines and reached an agreement with regard to the federal budget. Because he failed to be a true patriot, in order to keep his pledge with Grover Norquist, it is estimated the economy will shrink 2.9 percent. I would hold my pledge to do the best for my constituents in higher regard than a pledge to Grover Norquist.

6. Reach an agreement to pull the country back from the fiscal cliff and resulting recession. Reach an agreement to balance the budget, without sacrificing Medicare to a voucher plan, without cutting one-third from the Medicaid budget and then dumping the mess onto the State of Michigan. Keeping lawmakers from passing laws that chip away at women’s rights and women’s healthcare.

7. Every item set forth in answer 6. Also outlaw the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United that allows unlimited corporate money to flow into the political system and rig political races.


1. Dave Camp, 59, Midland. (Republican)

2. U.S. representative for the 4th District.

3. Bachelor of arts degree from Albion College; JD from the University of San Diego.

4. In Congress, whether serving in the majority or minority party, I have worked in a bipartisan manner to solve problems and produce results. For instance, I worked with President Bill Clinton to enact bipartisan welfare reform as well as legislation to promote adoption. I worked with President Barack Obama to enact three trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea, which give Michigan farmers, manufacturers, and service providers new opportunities to sell goods and services abroad. I also worked with President Obama to extend Trade Adjustment Assistance and on legislation to crack down on unfair Chinese trade practices. Most recently, I worked with Congressional Democrats and President Obama to enact the Stop Invasive Species Act to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Lakes.

5. As a lifelong resident of Michigan’s 4h Congressional District, my top priority has always been addressing the daily needs of my constituents. Whether it is resolving casework with a federal agency, expediting benefit claims for veterans or responding to constituent mail, I have consistently striven to serve the citizens of the 4th District in a prompt and courteous manner.

6. Jobs. I am focused on fostering economic growth and job creation in Michigan and the U.S. by advancing legislation in five areas: (1) reducing out-of-control federal spending; (2) pursuing comprehensive tax reform while preventing tax hikes on American families and businesses; (3) enhancing America’s global competitiveness by increasing trade and better enforcing trade laws; (4) reducing unnecessary and burdensome federal regulations; and (5) expanding American energy production.

7. Comprehensive tax reform. Our current tax code is out of date, overly complex and it is costing us jobs. Washington should implement comprehensive tax reform to make the code simpler, fairer, and pro-growth. As chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, I have held more than 20 hearings examining tax reform and released a discussion draft to reform our international tax rules, laying the groundwork for bipartisan tax reform legislation. Regardless of who is president in January, if reelected I intend to work with the White House and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to enact comprehensive tax reform next Congress.


1. Pat Timmons, 62, Traverse City. (Green Party)

2. Retired educator and small businessman.

3. Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan in 1972; master’s degree in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University in 1974.

4. I have two strong qualifications for this position. 1. I have not taken any money from PACs, lobbyists, special interests, corporations or unions. Since I am not tied into the fourth branch of the government, I can speak for the voters of the 4th District. 2. I taught problem-solving at Ford for 20 years. It is clear to most voters that Congress does not know how to solve problems and I could be very helpful in this area.

5. I am different from my opponents in three ways. 1. I don’t take money from the fourth branch of the government. I will

be responsible to voters. 2. I acknowledge that peak oil has occurred and that climate change is occurring earlier than scientists were predicting. Republicans and Democrats aren’t  talking about these issues because they are still promoting the ideals of the growth economy. I believe the growth economy is sputtering to its end point and we need to follow policies that will lead to a steady state economy. No economy has shown growth without the use of cheap, abundant energy. Those days are over and it is time to use America’s strength and initiative to move on these challenges. 3. I am not tied to an orthodox, one-approach-fits-all-problems belief system. Some of my policies are conservative, like expanding the Michigan bottle bill because it successfully uses market forces for a social good. Some of policies are progressive, like mandating the expansion of renewable energy programs, because those mandates have worked in other countries. Problem solving (and we have many problems) requires good data and open minds.

6. My main concern is the debt we are leaving to our children and grandchildren. We have a moral obligation to solve that issue and to free our descendants from the injustice we have committed.

7. Republicans and Democrats have kicked our problems down the road long enough. I want to roll up America’s sleeves and start fixing our problems and our democracy. We need to live within our means and restore the American dream for our grandchildren.


John Gelineau (Libertarian)

Did not return a questionnaire.


1. George Zimmer, 70, Byron. (U.S. Taxpayers Party)

2. Retired.

3. Three years college with an economics major

4. I have worked in three different industries and two branches of federal government. I know their strengths and weaknesses and can bring this experience into play to increase employment in Michigan’s fourth district.

5. My campaign is self-funded and I owe no favors to anyone. I am a veteran and not an attorney. I have no self interests that would prevent me from representing the fourth district.

6. Our district needs more employment of permanent nature. I favor lowering business taxes and restricting imports of medicine,and computers both hardware and software.

7. I wish to reduce national debt, stop foreign wars, stop abortion and increase the nations credit rating. Imports should be equal or more than exports.


70th District State House representative

1. Mike Huckleberry, no age given, Greenville. (Democrat)

2. Owner of Huckleberry’s Restaurant in Greenville.

3. Grand Rapids Community College and Davenport University.

4. As a 20-year small business owner and job provider, I have developed management skills over the years. I believe in bipartisan governing, not party first. I understand the importance of both labor and business being successful and represent both sides.

5. I have integrity. My opponent doesn’t.

6. Jobs, fully fund education and level the field for tax fairness.

7. Create jobs, properly fund education and improve tax fairness.


1. Rick Outman, 48, Six Lakes. (Republican)

2. 70th District state representative, owner of Outman Excavating in Six Lakes.

3. Graduated from Lakeview High School, bachelor degree from Grand Valley State University, teaching degree in biology and Spanish.

4. I am a veteran of the U.S. Army. My military occupational speciality was radar repair. I saw active combat in Beruit. While it was an honor to serve my country overseas, I was more than overjoyed to return home to the community and family that I love. Upon discharge from active duty, I then joined the 1073rd National Guard Unit in Greenville. I am the owner of Outman Excavating, a third-generation small family business. I’ve been there when times were good and I’ve been there through the tough times.

5. When the economy crashed for Michigan and the 70th District, it hit Outman Excavating as hard as anyone. For us, there were no bailouts or stimulus dollars to get us out of financial trouble. We had two options — we could bury our hears in the sand or we could roll up our sleeves and go to work. We chose the latter. I took this experience with me to Lansing and was able to yield the same results. I came into office with a $1.5 billion budget deficit and $100 billion in longterm debt. I applied the same basic principles to the state budget as I did to my business. The state’s budget is now balanced and we have paid off $20 billion of our longterm debt. Contrast this with my opponent — he has never balanced his personal budget or the state budget. When he took office, we had a $1.3 billion budget deficit. When he left office, we had a $1.5 billion budget deficit and our longterm debt had increased substantially.

6. The main concern continues to be creating an environment that is conducive to job growth. We have made dramatic progress toward this goal, but there is still more work to be done. The last thing we need is to return to the failed polices of the Granholm administration.

7. I would like to spend the majority of my second term reforming over-burdensome regulations. Through my experience with Outman Excavating, I know how much of an impediment bureaucratic red tape can be to job growth. I believe we can balance the needs of the business community with environmental concerns.


Ionia County sheriff

1. Gordy Douglas, 54, Orleans. (Democrat)

2. Chief animal control officer for Ionia County.

3. Belding High School graduate, college credits.

4. The ability to work with the public and co-workers. I have been involved with law enforcement for 25 years and a labor leader.

5. Being more in touch with our citizens and fellow employees within our department.

6. Drugs are one of the biggest things facing our youth today. Having officers help educate our youth.

7. I would like to help change people’s thoughts on government and their lack of concern for the citizens of Ionia County.


1. Dale A. Miller, 56, Odessa Township. (Republican)

2. Ionia County Sheriff’s Office undersheriff.

3. Associate’s degree in business management; Mid-Michigan Police Academy; Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command; FBI National Academy (FBINA); FBINA Master Development Series; Michigan State University Highway Traffic Safety Program Accident Investigation Series; University of Virginia Certificate of Achievement Criminal Justice Program; National Institute of Corrections Jail Administration; U.S. Department of Homeland Security Incident Command Training; U. S. Department of Homeland Security National Response Plan; Michigan State Police Advanced Narcotics Training; PADI-certified scuba diver.

4. I am a certified police officer with over 27 years of experience.  I have committed myself to serving the citizens.  I recognize the county’s strengths and needs. I was a deputy providing day-to-day services to citizens. I served as a narcotics investigator and was in charge of the detective bureau. I have  gained experience with budgets, policies and technology. The role of sheriff is to serve citizens and ensure their safety and security.  My sole purpose in running for sheriff is to continue to serve the people. I am eager to show citizens that my dedication to serving them has not changed.

5. I understand that communities and laws are ever changing and I have stayed abreast of current trends. I bring a broad range of experience, including working narcotics, major cases and administrative experience. My loyalty and sense of responsibility have remained strong. I recognize my responsibility and I am eager to show citizens that my dedication to serving them has not changed.

6. My main concern is the continual reduction of resources. My goal is to work with law enforcement agencies and communities to make the best use of scarce resources. I will ensure communication with  law enforcement agencies in an effort to keep everyone apprised of current trends. We will work together on enforcement operations, prevention programs, and community outreach so we can engage the community in our work.  Changes in laws and crimes are also a concern. I will continue to train our staff and the public as these changes occur.

7. I would like to improve public service by assuring our services are timely and efficient. Effective police service is what citizens expect.  I would strive to maintain the current level of highly trained and professional staff and provide them with the equipment to provide the services to the communities. I would continue to collaborate and cooperate with our partners in the judicial system.   I would partner with our local communities and to address local concerns.  I would strive to increase the skills needed to respond to cyber and computer scam crimes that are victimizing our communities.  I would continue to be aggressive in the fight against drug abuse and the manufacturing of drugs. I am dedicated to the citizens and I will do everything I can to have adequately trained staff dealing with these crimes, while making certain the budget is controlled in a responsible and accountable way.


Montcalm County drain commissioner

1. Shane Jacobs, 41, Howard City. (Democrat)

2. Small business owner in landscaping for 20 years.

3. High school, St. Louis College, attended Davenport College.

4. I have been a small business owner for 20 years and know the importance of getting a job done right and on time.

5. My opponent does not have the financial knowledge that I have to succeed in the drain commissioner’s office. I am the only candidate that knows when a report is due, it has to be on time and done correctly. Mistakes could be extremely costly if someone does not know how to work with budgets.

6. I have had people come and complain about nepotism in the drain commission office and about political campaign work being done in the drain commission office. If elected, from day one I will implement an open door policy and will not tolerate nepotism. Any political campaigning in the drain commissioner office will be forbidden.

7. I will ensure a more transparent drain commission office and increase customer satisfaction.


1. Sandy Raines, 53, Sidney Township. (Republican)

2. Chief deputy drain commissioner.

3. State of Michigan soil erosion certification; Leadership Montcalm graduate; numerous professional training seminars; Central Montcalm High School graduate.

4. I have 34 years of hands-on experience serving in our Montcalm County drain office, I am the chief deputy drain commissioner, a position I have held for 15 years. Since 1978, I’ve been involved in every aspect of our drain office, from administrative, public relations and field work. I’m ready, day one, to assume the drain commissioner’s duties without any learning curve or without extensive and costly (paid for by the county) training courses necessary for an inexperienced candidate.

5. My 34 years of hands-on experience in our drain office. I’m the only candidate qualified to take over the drain commissioner’s responsibilities and effectively run the department starting Jan. 1. I have extensive knowledge of the drain office’s administrative duties, of its operations out in the field and of the maintenance history of over 260 county drains. Also, I have invaluable experience that’s given me intricate knowledge of drain laws and procedures, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regulations, relevant financial and bonding concerns, countywide lake improvement boards and county public sewer systems and established working relationships with farmers, engineers, contractors, townships, lake improvement boards, county departments and commissioners and the DEQ.

6. Since I have served, the drain office has taken on more responsibilities and complexities over the years, without any additional help. It’s important to have a drain commissioner that knows the laws, finances and DEQ regulations. The main concern is keeping our county drainage system maintained in a cost-effective manner and making sure we meet the state DEQ regulations. I am committed in keeping expenses down, to looking at how we can improve our maintenance program by working with property owners on finding the most cost-effective approach for getting the work done. I will continue to contract jobs within our county whenever possible, and I will not drive the county vehicle home.

7. I am committed to run the drain office in an efficient, cost-effective manner. I have a proven work record of 34 years, being dedicated and a conservative. I would like to continue to modernize old drain records, and to improve upon our longterm maintenance program. I look forward to continue to serve the people of Montcalm County for many more years. I ask for your support and vote on Nov. 6. Thank you.


Montcalm County Board of Commissioners District 1

1. Ronald Blanding, 84, Greenville. (Democrat)

2. Retired from private business.

3. Graduated from Greenville High School. Two years of Jones Business College, Jacksonville, Fla. Four years as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marines.

4. I have served Greenville as a councilman and mayor. I am currently on the Greenville Planning Commission and Greenville Board of Review. I am serving on the West Michigan Regional Planning Commission and Greater Greenville Transportation Committee. I have previously served as District 1 commissioner.

5. I feel that I am better qualified.

6. I think the city of Greenville needs strong representation on the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners.

7. When I was on the Board of Commissioners, I spent considerable time concerning the Animal Shelter and its problems. Francis Schuliet and I, along with a committee, made many improvements in the operation of the shelter. Many of the health and sanitation improvements have been discontinued because of budget cuts over the past three years. The shelter is down to one full-time employee and has been charged with releasing sick animals recently. I feel the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners has not considered the Animal Shelter important enough.


1. Dale Reyburn, 62, of Greenville. (Republican)

2. Financial representative for Lincoln Investment Planning with a Series 7 and 66.

3. Graduated from Cedar Springs High School. I have a bachelor of science degree in secondary education from Central Michigan University with a double major in political science and sociology.

4. I have been member of the Montcalm County Republican Party since November 2004. I sit on the Greenville Planning Commission.

5. I am a former Montcalm County commissioner. I was president of Flat River Right to Life.

6. Important to me are budget and safety issues of not funding the Sheriff’s Department. Knowing that when we call 911, the response will be the best, most efficient, and professional we can provide is important to me. I was a commissioner when we adopted Renaissance Zones and the economic benefits we have received have been good for our county. I would work to make sure we stay competitive on economic issues. I would like at least one meeting a year in the evening to ensure everybody is able to attend at sometime.

7. Making sure that Montcalm County continues to be the great county it is, agriculturally, modern urban, and the recreational haven, that it is.


Montcalm County Board of Commissioners District 5

1. Jerome Duran, 82, of Edmore, Home Township. (Democrat)

2. Retired teacher from Montabella Community Schools.

3. Fordson High School in Dearborn, Henry Ford Community College, the University of Michigan and the University of Southern Mississippi, where I received my bachelor of science degree in 1954. I did graduate work at Eastern Michigan University.

4. My qualifications for the position are experience on the Home Township Board of review, experience in budgeting while running a part-time cow/calf farm, work experience from teaching classes, organization and accountability. I have plenty of experience in hard work and working with many different types of people to solve problems that affect us all.

5. I differ from the others because I believe in Democrat party values. I’m willing to put any money that being a commissioner brings me into scholarships for students in the areas of teaching and health careers who attend school systems in District 5, including Cedar Lake Academy, Central Montcalm Public School and Montabella Community Schools.

6. My main concern about my district is bettering the lives of the people within it. Hopefully by providing necessary services for law enforcement, public health fire protection and other county services. I would be able  to work with the other commissioners to reach improvements in  all of the above problems.

7. I would like to see a return to Emergency Medical Services stations scattered around the county. In the Road Commission area, I would hope that we could use salt brine from wells in our county for dust in the summer and ice and snow control in the winter.


1. Ronald Retzloff, 69, Crystal, Evergreen Township. (Republican)

2. Retired. Former commissioner for District 3.

3. Some college.

4. 14 years as a Montcalm County commissioner.

5. Knowledge of the county government at this critical time. The reduced funding that we have to work with and the ability to make cuts where needed.

6. Police protection, not only for my district but for the county. Work with Lansing to find ways to consolidate police services.

7. Stated in question No. 6, along with continued upgrading of the Animal Control department.


Montcalm County Board of Commissioners District 7

1. Marjorie Morgan, 78, Reynolds Township. (Democrat)

2. Retired from Spring Arbor University, currently do personnel assessments of early childhood teachers for a national office.

3. PhD from Illinois State University.

4. Past administrative experience in state and local organizations, management of budgets, personnel and services.

5. A belief that the Board of Commissioners is top-heavy in administration and costs. Five commissioners would be more reasonable. Savings could be applied to county services.

6. Focusing on countywide services that should be available to residents, cutting administrative costs, applying savings to services.

7. Leaner administrative costs, improvement in communication on a countywide basis, more throughly detailed reports of Board of Commissioner meetings circulated countywide, improvements in the system of property taxation.


1. Ron Baker, 67, Howard City. (Republican)

2. Self-employed business owner.

3. Bachelor of science degree in business.

4. Years of experience on the following committees: Economic Development and Physical Resources, Finance and Personnel, Collective Bargaining, Motor Vehicle Accident Investigation and the Address Appeals Board.

5. More than 40 years of business experience, local involvement on the Howard City Village Council, Howard City zoning administrator, Montcalm County housing commissioner for Howard City and Howard City Downtown Development Authority, county involvement since 1998, including attendance at various meetings and seminars.

6. County offices are closed for an hour at lunch and should be open so constituents can fully utilize available services.

7. I would like to see county offices open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. including lunch. I would like to add personnel to Animal Control and the Sheriff’s Department.


Cato Township treasurer

1. Riki Jensen, 38, Cato Township. (Democrat)

2. Self-employed as a cosmetologist for the past 7 1/2 years, and also an independent consultant for CAbi (Carol Anderson by Invitation).

3. Lakeview Community Schools graduate (1992), Montcalm Community College (2010), Northwood University bachelor in business administration (2012).

4./5. What sets me apart from others is my deeply rooted connections to the people in Cato Township. My immediate and extended family have always been a part of the Cato Township community and I look forward to the opportunity to serve the community in another capacity.

6. My main focus for Cato Township is to continue the longstanding trust and relationships with the community that Letty Scott had developed over the past three decades.

7. To help make the best decisions pertaining to Cato Township constituents.


1. Joyce Grieser, 39, Six Lakes, Cato Township. (Republican)

2. Secretary at Lakeview Free Methodist Church.

3. Currently working on my bachelor degree in business administration. Will be complete in December.

4. My husband and I own a small dairy farm. I have managed this farm and its finances for over 18 years.

5. No answer.

6. No answer.

7. No answer.


Eureka Township supervisor

1. Laura Shears, 60, Eureka Township. (Democrat)

2. Environmental health and safety at Mueller Industries in Belding.

3. Graduate of Cedar Springs High School, degree in health and safety from Grand Valley State University.

4. Because of my business experience and ability to get things done, the township would be able to move forward as we have in the last four years.

5. I am always willing to listen to what the people have to say and want. And I am also willing to work with them when they need something.

6. My main concern is that the residents of Eureka Township want to stay in the township. By that I mean that I want them to always feel like they are listened too, and heard.

7. I would like to continue to give our residents the police protection they deserve and the fire protection that they deserve and continue to improve the roads on a yearly basis. I want to continue to work for the people and by the people.


1. Les Lillie, 55, Eureka Township. (Republican)

2. Truck driver for the Road Commission for Montcalm County.

3. Graduated from Greenville High School.

4. Eight and a half years serving on the Eureka Township Board, including four years as supervisor.

5. I have the knowledge and the leadership skills that I learned from my eight and a half years on the board to lead the township.

6. The slow breaking-down of the good working relationship between Eureka Township and the city of Greenville.

7. Continue to upgrade roads in Eureka Township and look for ways to bring businesses and jobs to Eureka Township while working with the township board to renew goodwill and reestablish the good, open, working relationship with the city of Greenville by encouraging joint meetings with the Greenville City Council.


Eureka Township trustee

1. Rodney Roy, 66, Eureka Township. (Democrat)

2. Retired in May 2012 after 50 years in the work force.

3. Graduate of Greenville High School and Montcalm Community College.

4. I have served on numerous boards, with local service clubs, church and the township. I am always looking for opportunities to better our community. I have lived in Eureka Township since 1970.

5. I am considerate, open-minded and I listen to comments on both sides of an issue before deciding on my vote.

6. I would bring new business in and work with them to succeed, change ordinances to relieve start-up costs and be less restrictive.

7. Make the community an even better place to live and work and a safe place to raise children.


1. Mark Wilkin, 62, Eureka Township. (Democrat)

2. I am retired, but volunteer for many organizations, including Toys for Tots, Stephens Minister and Bikes for Christmas through First United Methodist Church of Greenville. I am a member of the Greenville Rotary Club.

3. No answer.

4. In the past three years I have worked on the Planning Commission, Board of Review, and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

5. I am a Township Governance Academy Graduate (2012) and believe this training sets me apart from my opponents.

6. My main concern is jobs, facilitating all size companies and home-based businesses to be established in our township.

7. If elected, I would like to partner with local and state governments to create jobs, to listen to resident’s concerns — acting on ones we can, and explaining the laws when we are unable to assist with their concern.


1. Jeremy Austin, 36, Eureka Township. (Republican)

2. Self-employed construction worker, Hispanic pastor.

3. Bachelor’s degree in theology (four years).

4. I have been a licensed builder for 18 years. I lived in another country and faced many hard decisions in life. I have nine children with one on the way.

5. I’m a common sense conservative who promotes entrepreneurs.

6. My pet peeves are set as laws. We need to follow the rules that are already established.

7. I would like to see people use their own imagination to create new businesses that would produce prosperity in the community. New businesses mean less taxes.


1. Brad Kelley, no age given, Eureka Township. (Republican)

2. High Grade Materials.

3. Greenville High School and Montcalm Community College.

4. Thirty years residence in Eureka Township, member of Greenville community for 15 years. I served on the church board for eight years, one year as vice chairman. Plant manager of High Grade Materials for over 20 years. I  have also served on the Planning Commission in Oakfield Township, Kent County, as well as a township trustee.

5. I believe character is what makes a difference. Being of Christian faith, I try to base my decisions on Biblical principles and values. I don’t like grey areas. I try to make a decisions based on my convictions even if sometimes that doesn’t make me very popular.

6. Eureka Township’s relationship  with the City of Greenville. Look at ways to improve it. Balancing a budget with less revenue sharing and tax base.

7. Maintain a balanced budget. Have a productive relationship with the city of Greenville and maintain a high standard of community services for the residents of Eureka Township.


1. Elaine Pendrick, 77, Eureka Township. (Republican)

2. Retired.

3. Three years of college.

4. My qualifications are my previous years of experience on the township board. I recognize that Eureka Township has been growing. I have lived in the township for 54 years. I have always looked out for the best interest for the residents of our township.

5. My age and the wisdom of my years. Over the years I have tried to do things in our community to benefit all citizens.

6. One of the things I want to try to do is work harmoniously with the city of Greenville and secondly, anything that includes the environment for our residents, such as recycling.

7. Former township boards have had excellent working units and have been good stewards with our taxpayers’ money. I would like to continue this. I started a leaf and lawn clipping program to allow our residents and other community members an option for disposing yard waste. I would like to work on getting recycling in our township.


Ferris Township trustee

1. Dan Calverley, no age given, Ferris Township. (Republican)

2. I have worked for Wolverine Power Supply Co-op for 25 years. I am the chief operator at the Vestaburg power plant.

3. I attended Vestaburg Elementary School and graduated from Vestaburg High School. I also attended Montcalm Community College and am currently attending Bismarck State College studying power plant technology.

4. I have served on the Ferris Township Tax Board for over 15 years and understand the fact that the taxpayers make great sacrifices to pay their taxes and when spending taxpayer money, it should be done wisely. At my current position at Wolverine Power, I am responsible for the Vestaburg plant’s annual budget. This budget includes maintenance, operations, fuel cost and manpower needs. It has always been my goal to try keeping maintenance and operating costs down without sacrificing safety and efficiency.

5. I would not say that anything sets me apart from my opponents. I think that either of them would make good board members.

6. One of my main concerns is one several individuals have voiced to me concerning our torn up roads, mainly the roads of McBride and Lake Montcalm that were once paved and are now dirt. I would like to pursue getting these roads repaved.

7. I would like to see the above mentioned roads get repaved. It would also be my goal to be financially responsible to all the taxpayers in Ferris Township and to keep all issues fair and balanced.


1. Randy L. Stearns, 59, Ferris Township. (Republican)

2. Retired after 40 years with the Road Commission for Montcalm County.

3. Carson City-Crystal High School graduate, business classes through Davenport  College.

4. Resident of Ferris Township for 50-plus years. One year as township trustee (appointed to board in 2012).

5. I would bring my experience and knowledge on road and drainage issues to the board along with working knowledge of budgets and funding issues that are facing townships.

6. Concerned with the cuts over the last few years in funding from Lansing. Would touch base with our legislators on a regular basis.

7. Set-up a re-graveling program for the township gravel roads and address brush issues. We also must not forget our paved roads so they don’t become gravel again. Lansing need to address the funding issue. Also I would listen to and help residents of the township resolve issues when they arise.


Jeff Humphrey (no party affiliation)

Did not return a questionnaire.


Montcalm Township supervisor

1. Ron Trachet, 40, Montcalm Township. (Republican)

2. Corrections officer with the Michigan Department of Corrections, firefighter and emergency medical technician with Oakfield Fire & Rescue.

3. Saginaw Fire Academy and bachelor of science in management from Cornerstone University.

4. I have served Montcalm Township for the past three years as chairman of the Fire Board. Conducting  monthly meetings provides me the opportunity to interact with residents. This allows me to work with the other board members and the fire chief as we plan a budget and spending plans for needed emergency equipment. I enjoy what I do and believe I can make a difference in my community.

5. My longstanding service as a volunteer firefighter/EMT. Some of my most significant work was when we challenged our insurance service office (ISO) rating and achieved a reduction in rating.

6. One of my main concerns is accessibility to local government. I believe townships are the first line in government. It should not be a hardship to deal with local government. We are elected to serve  residents. By placing your trust in me I will make myself available to residents.

7. I would like to see the ISO rating carried further. By applying for federal and state grants we should be able to get more training and equipment for our firefighters. I would like to be a leader that sets a positive example and see a greater leadership role with trustees of our township. I would work with members of the township board to accomplish these goals.


1. Michael Adams, 40, Montcalm Township. (no party affiliation)

2. I am currently the Montcalm Township Board supervisor and an accounting instructor at Montcalm Community College.

3. I have a master’s degree in management.

4. I have a proven record for progress since I was elected. My education provides me with skills to create and manage our budget and leadership to keep the township running efficiently. My experience in the service industry give me an advantage in customer service. I am open to listening to concerns. I am fair and empathetic.

5. Being an independent candidate sets me apart from my opponent. I am an independent because I am here to serve every individual in the township. I am not restricted by the peer pressure of any political party or group. I make my decisions based on facts and in the best interest of the entire community.

6. My main concern for our township is continuing to heal and restore trust and respect for our government. I plan to accomplish this by continuing my policy of including the public in meetings, remaining an empathetic listener and making all affairs of the township transparent. This community belongs to all of us. This is your business and you have a right to know.

7. We have accomplished much since my election with our great fire department, cemeteries and administrative functions. My goal for the next term is to turn attention toward getting our roads back to the level that we all want and deserve.


Sidney Township trustee

1. Rex R. Clock, 48, Sidney Township. (Democrat)

2. Self-employed.

3. K-12 at Central Montcalm Public School, two years of skill trade Montcalm Community College.

4. I have been a resident for 48 years. I work with the people every day so I know what they want.

5. I have lived in Sidney Township for 48 years. I know what the people want.

6. We need to slow down the money spending and make changes that help the people.

7. Make Sidney township a better place to live at a lower cost of living.


Jeff Hopkins (Democrat)

Did not return a questionnaire.


1. Larry Ek, 66, Sidney Township. (Republican)

2. Farmer.

3. Two years of college.

4. I have lived most of my life in Sidney Township and I have served as a trustee for 18 years.

5. No answer.

6. No answer.

7. Continue to provide the best roads we can afford and a safe place to live and raise our families.


1. Veldra Raines, 51, Sidney Township. (Republican)

2. Road Commission for Montcalm County Stanton garage.

3. High school graduate; and numerous management seminars

4. My knowledge of road maintenance, and 20 years of upper-management in the private sector doing budgets, contract negotiations, and dealing with the public.

5. I have been endorsed by all of the Sidney Township Board members, and the past treasurer Esther Petersen. My experience and willingness to work together with the township board and community for the good of the township. I am a conservative and fiscally responsible. I believe in what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong, and I take my voting liberties seriously.

6. The health, safety and welfare of all residents of the township. I would be very conservative and will strive for responsible budgeting and avoid any reductions in fire, police protection, and road improvements. I am committed in keeping our township a wonderful place to live and raise a family.

7. Continue to work on road improvements, and to promote small business growth in our township. I ask for your support and vote on Nov. 6. Thank you.


Village of Edmore president

Chet Guild. (no party affiliation)

Did not return a questionnaire.


1. Lon Leonard, 64, Edmore. (no party affiliation)

2. Retired.

3. High school graduate, management training. 30 years in retail and distribution management for Quality Stores Inc.

4. Six years as village trustee and six years as village president of Edmore.

5. People skills, many years experience dealing with people.

6. My main concern is that some of the projects that we are working on to better our community, such as the bag factory and the farm market, would not get the support to finalize the project.

7. I would continue to work with the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to get these to full potential.


Village of Edmore trustee

Eddie Adams (no party affiliation)

Did not return a questionnaire.


1. Bonnie Ashbaugh, 72, Edmore. (no party affiliation)

2. Retired

3. High school graduate, Ionia High School, plus several health related classes through community colleges.

4. Retired. I am available, I care about Edmore, I want to serve and am willing to put in the time to be informed about issues and projects

5. There are many good, caring people in our community who may not be available or able to serve. I also am a graduate of Series 5 Leadership Montcalm class, a super informative organization that presents an overview of the leadership of Montcalm County.

6. Lack of quality employment opportunities to support a family. Continue to work toward developing the Sunrise Center.

7. Continue to work toward decisions that better the quality of life in Edmore for families, with the other trustees of Edmore.


Jamie Ballard (no party affiliation)

Did not return a questionnaire.


1. Tom Colburn, 52, Edmore. (no party affiliation)

2. Pastor of the United by Faith Christian Church.

3. Associate degree in business, bachelor’s degree with a social science emphasis and a second bachelor’s degree in theology.

4. I have a diverse background, including serving in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, the NH Legislature in the 1990s and currently as a pastor. I’ve served the community on a volunteer basis in a variety of ways including the PTO, MMA and various school and business committees and initiatives.

5. As editor of the Church & Community News, having a seat on the council would give me firsthand information I could then analyze and pass on to my readers in an informative, helpful manner, encouraging their input along the way. One of my primary motivations for starting the Church & Community News was to help encourage a greater sense of community by keeping people informed of the various interests in the area; be it school, church, businesses or other events. The more we know and get involved with each other, the more ownership we’ll take in our community and the better off we’ll all be. I love our community and will be happy to serve as a trustee.

6. No answer.

7. No answer.


1. Bonnie Gray-Davis, 77, Edmore. (no party affiliation)

2. Retired.

3. Two years of college.

4. I have the experience of serving on the village council for approximately nine or 10 years.

5. I was born in Edmore and raised my four children in Edmore. I’m not new to the community. I have worked well with members of the council.

6. My main concern is to see the village grow and to be prepared for new business as the economy grows.

7. I’d like to see our village continue to keep a healthy budget and continue to provide the current services that we have at present and still not have to raise taxes.


Art Schuitema (no party affiliation)

Did not return a questionnaire.


Belding Area Schools Board of Education

1. Cori Anderson, 37, Otisco Township.

2. Supervisor of community programs at Spectrum Health and owner of Ridgeview Golf Club of Belding.

3. Bachelor of science in community development with a concentration in public administration from Central Michigan University.

4. I’ve served on the Belding Board of Education for 11 months. I understand the major functions of a Board of Education are policy making and financial management, which allows me to effectively serve the district. I’m a member of the district school improvement team, the Wellness Committee, the Ionia County Substance Abuse Initiative and the Belding Community Garden.

5. I’ve spent the my time on the board reviewing facts before each and every decision/vote is made. I have a great deal of respect for our educators and staff. Every day I send my kids to them. I don’t take that lightly.

6. The most important issue facing our district is financial. We are a fiscally responsible district and are doing the best possible with the funds received to provide a phenomenal educational experience for our students. I’ll continue to educate myself and my community on the different streams we receive funding from.

7. I’d like to see the district continue to grow as that brings more funding. I’m excited to watch our kids continue to improve on test scores. I know we are doing some great things with curriculum and that we’ll see great results from it.


1. Jennifer “Jenni” Boroff, 34, Otisco Township.

2. Employed at Professional Benefits Services in Grand Rapids.

3. Belding High School graduate, graduated from Olympia Career Training Institute, took basic courses at Grand Rapids Community College.

4. I am a parent of a Ellis and Woodview student.I was the Ellis parent representative for PTO for one year, PTO president for one year, on the Woodview school improvement team and I also volunteer at both Ellis and Woodview.

5. I am honest, fair, open-minded, hard worker

6. My main concern for our district is that we are not making our cut scores. We need to pay more attention to the kids that fall in the middle with their learning. We need to figure out how to make everyone successful in school, not just the top or the bottom performing students.

7. I would like to see a more positive relationship between the school board and the public, and school board and staff. Building bridges to help all of the kids in our district to be successful. I would like to see the bard members volunteer in all of the schools (helping in the class rooms, cutting veggies in the kitchen, helping our secretaries and paraprofessionals, volunteering for PTO events.) I feel that it is important that board members be on the school improvement teams. Our board needs to move away from being a “good old boy’s club.”


1. Thomas W. Cameron, 63, Belding.

2. I am currently retired.

3. Graduate of Belding High School in 1966, Alma College BS teaching certificate in 1970, Eastern Michigan University masters degree in education (emphasis in curriculum) in 2001.

4. I have 24 years of service in the USN. Much of it was in initial and recurrent training of Naval aircrew. I have 18 years of public education experience as teacher, principal and superintendent. With my very current experience in following budgets and designing curriculum, I would like to bring this experience to Belding Area Schools.

5. My extensive background in public education

6. Declining enrollment must be addressed. It has been a serious problem due in large part to jobs leaving the area. As Michigan’s economy returns to normal, much of this problem should be alleviated all over the state. I would demand that principals visit each students family and personally find out if there was something that they could have done to keep the child in the district or go to home schooling. I would ask that if a student is home schooled, that at least ask the parents to give consideration to limited enrollment. I have been successful with these discussions before and reached a satisfactory comprise.

7. Hire a competent supervisor. Improve MEAP scores.


1. Robert Insley, 52, Belding.

2. Service consultant at Premium Truck & Auto.

3. Graduated from Belding High School and Ferris State College majoring in community school education with a minor in teaching.

4. I am board-certified by the Michigan Association of School Boards. As a lifelong resident of the Belding area, I am familiar with the issues facing our district. I am positive, team oriented and have good problem solving skills.

5. I have board experience. I work to stay informed and prepared for the decisions of the board.

6. Our focus needs to be on providing the best education/educational opportunities we can to our students preparing them for the future. We need to strive to increase performance and we need to do it with less funding. As a member of the board,  I will base my decisions with these goals in mind.

7.  I would like to see increased participation from all stakeholder groups in our district as a way to help improve our schools. Also, it is important we promote/market our schools and community to help get people into the district to reverse the trend  of losing students.


Carson City-Crystal Area Schools Board of Education

1. Diane Demenov, 45, Carson City.

2. Michigan Department of Corrections,

3. High School diploma, some college.

4. I am an open-minded person who looks at a problem from both sides. My decisions are based on what’s best for the education of the children without breaking the backs of taxpayers.

5. I have a 7-year-old daughter in the Carson City-Crystal Elementary School system. I think it is best to have children in the system to really know what is going on. I think if you have a child in the system you have a greater interest in what is happening.

6. My main concern about the district is the classroom size. Especially at the early elementary levels. It’s a proven fact that children are developing their learning skills that will stay with them for a lifetime and need more one on one time at that age. I would like to see a school policy that points us in that direction so our children can have the same advantages as students in schools with 20 or less in a class room.

7. I would like to accomplish a great learning environment with smaller class room sizes and teacher to student ratio so all children can learn. Every child learns in their own way and we need to have the adaptability to reach all children.


1. Randy Stearns, 59, CC-C school district.

2. Retired after 40 years with the Road Commission for Montcalm County.

3. Carson City-Crystal High School graduate, business classes at Davenport College.

4. I would bring my business background to the board. Also a good communicator. I feel communication is a vital part of success and communication can always be improved.

5. Not afraid of hard work or making tough decisions.

6. I’m not afraid to stand up for what is best for the district and most of all the kids. I would listen closely to the stakeholders in the district, not only the ones with children in school but all stakeholders.

7. We need to stay on track and up to date with technology to give our students that upper edge so when entering the job market they won’t be out the of the game. I also would like to see some academic programs added back into list of classes such as FFA and home economics. These classes develop skills that all students can take with them and use in everyday life. With the new superintendent on board, I see great thing happening for our district.


Montabella Community Schools Board of Education

1. Bill Burggren, 40, Edmore/Home Township.

2. Full-time State of Michigan employee at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

3. Montabella High School graduate with the class of 1991.

4. I have been a State of Michigan employee for 15+ years and I have a broad range of experience, from union activity to labor and trades. I was born and raised in Edmore and have been an active part of the community. My wife and I have both coached for Montabella schools and own a local business.

5. I’m a second generation graduate of Montabella High School and have two boys who are third generation graduates. I have been actively involved in my sons’ academic and athletic progress and am now familiar with Montabella school policies.

6. Communication between parents, teachers, coaches and administrators is my main concern. I have experienced the negative effects of poor communication firsthand and believe that forming committees for parents and faculty would bridge that gap.

7. I would like to accomplish a sense of unity between students, parents, faculty and administrators to ensure students reach their full potential.


1. Don Havlicek, 75, Home Township.

2. Retired

3. BS and mathematics, University of Cincinnati; post-graduate work at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Xavier  University, North Dakota State University, Kent State University,  Purdue University, Indiana University and Ball State University.

4. My qualifications include 40 years as a professional educator in three states, serving schools with diverse populations. Spent 35 years coaching.

5. Was elected village councilman in Grafton, Ohio, by 3-1 majority in 1977.

6. The main concern is the lack of openness at board meetings. I will insist that proper meeting structure includes input on measures by the citizenry prior to any vote being taken, and no decisions made in private except those mandated by law.

7. My wish is to work with the administration, students and staff to increase academic success and guarantee that the curriculum includes necessary and sufficient programs for all.


1. Scott Parks, 47, Broomfield Township.

2. Plant manager at Bandit Industries.

3. Montabella graduate with the class of 1983.

4. I have 29 years of management, leadership and decision making for a local business, which is also one of the largest employers for this area.

5. I have very strong ties and loyalty to the Montabella school district and local communities. I’m a Montabella graduate along with my wife and two children, member of the Montabella Sports Boosters, Quarterback Club Officer, volunteer worker for numerous school activities and athletic events.

6. Budget cuts — I would strive to not let those cuts negatively impact the education of Montabella students by constant communication and planning between the board, the staff and the community members.

7. To see Montabella become the No. 1 school of choice for the area.


Tri County Area Schools Board of Education

1. Janice “Jan” Dewey, 59, Sand Lake/Nelson Township.

2. Retired from Tri County Area Schools in February 2012 after 38 years as an educator with the district, currently work and do consultation as a counseling psychologist.

3. BA in music and elementary education, master’s equivalent in early childhood education and infant mental health, MA in counseling education and counseling psychology, licensed professional counselor for the State of Michigan, education in effective teaching and learning strategies and educational best practice.

4. I have lived in the village of Sand Lake/Nelson Township since 1976. I am a passionate, dedicated, experienced educator, hoping to promote and continue serving the Tri County district as a member of the Board of Education.

5. I am a good leader, possibility thinker, experienced in bringing people together in conversation, collaboration and cooperation, working together to make our district the best it can be.

6. I believe the Board of Education, administrators, staff, students, families and community needs to make a conscious effort to improve communication and provide opportunities to work together as we continue to improve our schools.

7. I will give support to parents and teachers and encourage them and help find ways for them to become a more integral part of our schools’ decision-making process. We need to actively involve  parents, teachers, and our community at every level.


1. Carrie Paulen, 42, Pierson.

2. Morley Stanwood Community Schools seventh grade teacher.

3. Master’s in education from Grand Valley State University.

4. Due to the fact I am a Tri County graduate and parent of three Tri County students, I believe I have a grasp on what the community believes is important. Likewise, as a public school teacher, I am using my knowledge of the needs of schools to help my home district.

5. In many regards, my opponent and I have more similarities than differences. We have both enjoyed a career in education and share the desire to serve the public through the school board.

6. Having the opportunity to serve on the board in an interim capacity over the last 12 months has given me the chance to learn some of the basic issues  facing schools in the near term. Funding is an issue that impacts all the schools in our area. I would look forward to working together to create solutions to potential funding issues. Additionally, I would strive to continue to uphold the purpose statement of our district, “Helping every child achieve their best future.”


Vestaburg Community Schools Board of Education

1. David Freeman, 41, Vestaburg.

2. Employed at Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial.

3. Associate’s in finance/business.

4. I’ve owned my own business for 15 years prior to going into financial planning and I bring knowledge on budgeting. I have been on the school board for six years.

5. My past experience of being on the board and how it operates. Many new candidates think you can change the world when elected and don’t understand that there are rules and regulations to follow.

6. Our budget, although the district has done an exceptional job in recent years it is always an area of concern. Keep our children first.

7. Better morale in the district. It is hard to keep morale up when our funding is so uncertain but I am confident, if re-elected, that we can work to keep the budget in the black and help boost staff morale. I want to make sure people know the people they are voting for, their occupation as well as their spouse’s occupation, as I find it a conflict of interest to have a staff member’s spouse on the board.


1. Nicole Gorsuch, 36, Vestaburg.

2. I have worked for The Dow Chemical Co. for almost 14 years. I am currently a product marketing manager covering North America at the Dow Chemical Co., and also lead a global team.

3. I graduated from St. Louis High School and received my bachelor of science in business administration from Central Michigan University (major in management information systems, minor in interpersonal and public communication). I also hold an MBA from CMU with a concentration in value driven organizations.

4. I have a strong background in business management, finance, and communication. I feel that my business background, coupled with my passion for children, makes me a great candidate for school board.

5. I feel that I would bring a completely different perspective to the school board, which is currently lacking. I see issues through the eyes of a businesswoman and a mother.

6. During the last few months, I have spoken to several parents, community members and teachers who feel that their concerns are not being heard when they are brought to administration. I would like to see a change in the manner in which concerns are managed.

7. I would certainly like to see more unity between the community and the school board.


1. Lynn Van Sickler, 66, Vestaburg/Richland Township.

2. Retired elementary school principal.

3. Master’s in educational administration, bachelor’s of science in education.

4. I have 30 years experience in education with various positions, such as elementary school principal, teacher, athletic director and director of community education. This allows me to look at issues and consider all solutions. I have been involved in Vestaburg schools for many years as a coach and a board member.

5. My many years in education give me a better understanding of state requirements, educational issues and what must take place in classrooms for optimal learning to take place.

6. We need to continue to graduate students that will be successful in their chosen field and be productive and contributors to our society. I would like us to go ahead with our technology plans to give students the tools to be lifelong learners and adapt to changing career opportunities.

7. I would like Vestaburg to be a leader in technology for schools in Montcalm County and be a school that students and parents would want to attend.


1. Brian Zinn, 35, Vestaburg/Ferris Township.

2. Michigan Department of Corrections.

3. Alma High School graduate, Davenport Community College.

4. I’m the father of two young girls who attend Vestaburg schools. I volunteer within the district as a mentor and assist with educational needs. I’m a supervisor/middle manager within the Department of Corrections and a member of the Cost Team that evaluates and establishes significant cost saving measures and administrative efficiencies within the department’s operations.

5. My ability to look at the district needs from a third party view, gather information to make decisions that will minimize negative impacts while creating optimal gain within our community and students.

6. My main concern is the community, the faculty and students are not being involved enough during the input and decision processes. I would do this by reinforcing a more positive involvement by all of these individuals, so that collectively we can find solutions that benefit our district’s needs.

7. I’d like to make Vestaburg the blueprint and leaders in education while continuing to grow and improve extracurricular activities for our student body.  I’d encourage our community, district staff and students to have a vested interest in making our school a place parents want to take their children.

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