When it comes to the race for Montcalm County Board of Commissioners District 1, there’s no shortage of experience between the two candidates.
Democrat Ronald Blanding, 84, of Greenville, and Republican Dale Reyburn, 62, of Greenville, have both served as county commissioner in the past and both currently serve on the Greenville Planning Commission.
Now both men are fighting for the District 1 position, which covers precincts 1, 2 and 4 in the city of Greenville.
Blanding graduated from Greenville High School, was a staff sergeant in the Unites States Marines and is now retired. He said one of his biggest concerns is keeping the city of Greenville relevant in the eyes of the Board of Commissioners.
“I think the city of Greenville needs strong representation on the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners,” he said.
Blanding, who said he is the “better qualified” candidate, believes extra initiative needs to be shown regarding the Montcalm County Animal Shelter.
“When I was on the Board of Commissioners, I spent considerable time concerning the Animal Shelter and its problems,” he said. “Many of the health and sanitation improvements have been discontinued because of budget cuts over the past three years.”
Blanding added that 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,” he said.
Reyburn, a graduate of Cedar Springs High School with a bachelor of science degree in secondary education from Central Michigan University, said one of his major concerns is the fate of the Montcalm Country Sheriff’s Office in light of recent budget cuts.
“Knowing that when we call 911, the response will be the best, most efficient, and professional we can provide is important to me,” he said.
Reyburn said that the economic prosperity of the area is also very important.
“I was a commissioner when we adopted Renaissance Zones and the economic benefits we have received have been good for our county,” he said. “I would work to make sure we stay competitive on economic issues.”