Allegan County News & Union Enterprise News

Storey will launch write-in campaign for re-election

By John Raffel

ALLEGAN –Jim Storey, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners, is seeking re-election but will have to do it as a write-in candidate.
“Due to a paperwork snafu, my name was excluded from the pre-printed ballots the voters in County Commission district one will receive,”Storey said. “That district is comprised of Fillmore, Overisel, Laketown and Salem townships, and the city of Holland. After speaking with many residents, I decided to seek re-election as a write-in candidate, assuring Republican primary voters in district one will now have a choice of whom will represent their area over the next four years.
“Working with the Michigan Association of Counties, I persuaded the legislature to expand from two to four years county commissioner terms, achieving term parity with the countywide elected officeholders such as the drain commissioner. Asking voters to write-in my name is challenging, but keeping Allegan County moving forward is worth it. Most importantly, voters themselves should have the final say as to who serves as their county commissioner.”
Storey added: “Current county commissioners have added services and protected county resources in a cost-effective manner. For example, 1,000 miles of fiber optic cable are being installed to bring high speed internet service to 11,000 unserved or underserved residents – without raising county taxes. Contributions from the federal ARPA programs, state-directed federal funds, and a matching contribution from the contractor are funding this much needed improvement for residents.
“Likewise finding cost-efficient solutions for increasing space demands of county offices has been a hallmark of this set of commissioners. When the legislature authorized the election of a third circuit court judge last year, space in the courthouse building had to be found. Luckily, the mental health department had vacated space at the Dumont Lake county complex. Converting that space for county offices achieved a savings of $40-50 million over building a new structure from scratch. While a few county employees faulted that decision, with taxpayers in mind, commissioners continued the Allegan Model of using existing, sound buildings for new uses. It is the same decision-making that saved $15 million when providing a new correctional center 10 years ago and similar savings when finding new space for the mental health agency, OnPoint, two years ago.”
Storey said the Allegan model has proven to be a boon for Allegan taxpayers. By comparison, two nearby counties this year completed court building projects of $30 million and $90 million.
“Going forward these will be my objectives if returned to the county commission,” Storey said. “Beefing up cell phone service will be important once the internet expansion is complete. Protecting the underground aquifer is also of concern as the county’s eight percent population growth has created escalating demand. Protecting as well our prime-producing agricultural fields from state-mandated solar and wind installations will also require constant monitoring.
“Confronting private interests’ plans to shut down the Calkins Street hydro dam, potentially threatening financial ruin for Lake Allegan residents. Another area needing continued attention is, working with the road commission and Saugatuck township, obtaining a small set-aside from the billions of federal infrastructure dollars to permanently fix the Lakeshore Drive washout that hinders public safety. Finally, this present commission has shown interest in one of the areas often neglected by elected bodies: sustained oversight of existing operations. The great masking debate during Covid saw this board stand-up for parents when others decided all students should be masked.”
Storey added: Hoping that my service can make a difference for residents, I am humbly going about speaking with as many District One residents as possible before the August 6 primary election. Since first elected 10 years ago, matters that come to me are always considered with 100 percent care for Allegan County. Above all, acting 100 percent of the time for county residents will continue to be my guide.”

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