Allegan County News & Union Enterprise

Many state, local seats up for grabs on November 8

By Gari Voss

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 elections are rapidly approaching. For those who have not completed the Absentee Ballot process and those who plan on voting at local polling places, there remains an opportunity to examine the candidates. Some precincts have little competition for School Boards, township positions and city government officials while others require careful consideration. State and Federal positions require additional consideration.
It is time for each eligible voter in Michigan to become educated to the beliefs of each candidate. Current advertisements often have candidates or their supports proclaiming what an opposing candidate believes. Because of these advertising gimmicks, voters must be extremely careful when selecting an official at all levels of government.
This list begins with local government positions because of their importance to local residents. Next are county commissioners and a variety of judges. Then the State Representatives and Senators before the Federal Congress positions. Finally, the top State officials.
A simple explanation of the positions is given along with a question that may help find a candidate’s beliefs and abilities no matter what the media has presented. On the Allegan County Clerk website https://www.allegancounty.org/departments/elections is a link to all candidates. Available for the majority is an email address to which questions can be addressed.
There are several Districts across Allegan County for the State House of Representatives and Senate. Check your sample ballot or speak with your clerk to verify your district. A copy of the ballot for each precinct/city/village/township can be located at https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/PublicBallot/Index.
Local candidate positions:
A question to ask may be – Who has a deep understanding of the needs of and has demonstrated leadership in this community? These and school board are all non-partisan positions. The councils hold regular meetings, which are open to the public, hear requests and grievances of people from the community, as well as receive updates from staff on projects and initiatives. The councils can also recognize and award local citizens.
Mark T Miller

Plainwell City Council:
Choose 3 for 4-year terms.
Stephen D Bennett
Roger Keeney
Randy Wisnaski
Todd Smits
Brad Keeler

Otsego City Council:
Members at Large, 4-year terms (choose 3)
Nick J Breedveld
Lauri A Krueger
Chuck Moore Jr
Vincent Pagano Jr
Stacey Witheeare
Members at Large, 2-year terms (choose 2)
Jason Smith
Robert Schurman
Wayne Rayburn

Allegan County Commissioners:
Question to ask – Who will best represent the interests of all county residents considering that rather than 7 commissioners, there are only 5 for this growing county? The Allegan County Board of Commissioners are expected to plan, develop and evaluate the necessary policies and resources and oversee the county’s management and administration, represent county interests at the state and federal level, participate in long-range planning, and manage the county budget and finances. (Districts 1, 2 and 4 had only one candidate each.)
Check your District.
Select 1 for 2-year terms…
District 3:
Don Doggendorf
Dean Kapenga.
District 5:
Austin Marsman
Dale Dugan.

3rd District Court of Appeals:
Question – What is the record of each candidate as a lawyer and how have they supported issues? Justices hear criminal and civil cases from the trial courts, and review decisions of administrative, or tax, tribunals. Judges of the Court of Appeals sit state-wide, although they are elected or appointed from one of four election districts.
Select 1 for 6 years.
Kathleen Feeney
Raymond Voet

Justice of the Supreme Court:
Question – What is the record of each candidate as a lawyer and can s/he impartially make decisions on issues? The highest court’s role in Michigan’s system of government demands that the law​ is interpreted dispassionately, ensures that justice is available to everyone, remains responsive to the needs of communities, and resolves disputes efficiently.
Choose 2 for 8-year terms.
Richard Bernstein (incumbent, Farmington Hills)
Kyra Harris Bolden (Southfield)
Paul Hudson (Kalamazoo)
Kerry Lee Morgan (Redford)
Brian Zahra (Northville Township)

State House of Representatives:
Question – Which candidate understands the needs and desires of all people in a district, no matter a particular party, and will work with everyone in the Michigan legislative and executive branches to make impartial decisions? Along with the State Senate, representatives represent the people of their District and form the legislative branch that works with the governor to create laws and establish a state budget. Legislative authority and responsibilities of the Michigan House of Representatives include passing bills on public policy matters, setting levels for state spending, and raising and lowering taxes, along with other responsibilities outline in Article IV of the Michigan Constitution.
Check your District.
Choose 1 for 2-year terms.
39th District:
Jared Polonowski (Otsego)
Pauline Wendzel (Coloma)

State Senate:
Question – Which candidate understands the needs and desires of all people in the State, no matter a particular party, and will work with everyone in the Michigan legislative and executive branches to make impartial decisions? Along with the House of Representatives, senators represent the people of their District and form the legislative branch that works with the governor to create laws and establish a state budget. Legislative authority and responsibilities of Senators include passing bills on public policy matters, setting levels for state spending, and raising and lowering taxes, along with other responsibilities outline in Article IV of the Michigan Constitution.
Check your District.
Choose 1 for 4-year term.
18th District:
Kai W. DeGraaf (Ada)
Thomas A. Albert (Lowell)

U. S. House of Representatives (Congress):
Question – Which candidate understands the needs and desires of all people, no matter a particular party, in Michigan, the laws governing the House of Representatives and will work with everyone in the Washington legislative and executive branches to make impartial decisions? The House of Representatives is where government is formed; decides matters of national interest; represents the interests of people in their electorates; proposes, debates and votes on bills and amendments; examines issues in committees; and scrutinizes the executive branch.
Choose 1 for 2-year term.
4th District:
Joseph Alfonso (Holland),
Bill Huizenga (Holland),
Lorence Wenke (Galesburg)
Curtis Michael Clark (Allegan)

Attorney General:
Question – Which candidate understands the law, no matter the desires of a particular party, and will make impartial legal decisions to protect Michigan’s citizens? The Attorney General’s Office brings and defends lawsuits on behalf of the State and prepares formal legal opinions requested by State officers, legislators, state agencies and county attorneys on issues of law.
Choose 1 for 4-year term.
Dana Nessel (Lansing),
Matthew DePerno (Kalamazoo),
Joseph W. McHugh, Jr. (Detroit)
Gerald T. VanSickle (Wellston)

Secretary of State:

Question – Which candidate has the knowledge and organizational skills to ensure that records are maintained and clerks across Michigan are properly trained and remain in compliance with the rules and regulations? The highest profile duties of the office are oversight and administration of secure and accurate elections and record keeping of real estate, vehicles, taxes, etc.. The Secretary of State serves as Chief Election Officer for the State. One goal of the office is to register voters and encourage active participation in elections.
Choose 1 for 4-year term.
Jocelyn Benson (Detroit)
Kristina Elaine Karamo (Oak Park)
Gregory S. Stempfle (Ferndale)
Christine Schwartz (Jenison)
Larry Hutchinson (Landing)

Governor/Lt. Governor:
Question – Which candidate understands the needs and desires of the diverse backgrounds of the people in Michigan and will advance and pursue new and revised policies and programs using a variety of tools, such as executive orders, executive budgets, and legislative proposals and vetoes while serving as the intergovernmental liaison to the federal government on behalf of the state? A governor is the head of government of a state. Governors oversee the executive branch of government that executes, or carries out, the law. Defined in Article V of the Michigan Constitution are the roles and expectations of the governor.
Choose 1 for 4-year term.
Gretchen Whitmer (Lansing),
Tudor Dixon (Lansing),
Mary Buzuma (Grand Haven),
Donna Brandenburg (Grand Rapids),
Kevin Hogan (Garden City),
Daryl M. Simpson (Davison)

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