Several positions decided in Tuesday’s Primary

If political ads constantly running on your television set, didn’t give you a clue- READ this loud and clear- the Primary Election is this coming Tuesday, and if you’re registered, please figure out how to get to your precinct and VOTE.

The Primary is a precursor to November’s General Election at which we elect a new president as well as many other public servants. In the Primary, we must vote either Republican or Democrat, except in the case of judges- which are non-partisan. There are also several ballot proposals that will need your consent or not- depending on your preference.

At the Clare County REVIEW’s Meet the Candidates’ Night, held at the Doherty Hotel last Monday attendees got a firsthand look at most of the candidates. I came away very impressed with the caliber of candidates running for political positions in Clare County. Most of these people truly care about their county and local townships- care so much they have spent their own time and money to campaign to be elected to serve their fellow citizens.

One of the Primary races that has caused quite a stir is the battle between Rick Miller and Mark McClellan for the Republican nomination and opportunity to take on Democratic Sheriff  John Wilson.

Miller and McClellan have over 30 years of law enforcement experience- most of it in Clare. Miller was Wilson’s undersheriff before resigning to announce his candidacy. McClellan was a detective who retired in 2010. Either candidate should give Wilson a run for his money in November.

A second battle that deserves close attention is that of Probate and Family Court Judge. This position covers both Clare and Gladwin counties, and involves three highly qualified candidates. One of those candidates will go home after Tuesday. That will be a shame- I sometimes wish all three could be elected because they all are worthy. I’m writing about Norm Gage, Tara Hovey and Marci Klaus.

Gage, the former prosecutor, and actually now assistant prosecutor in Gladwin County, Hovey in private practice in Harrison and Klaus, in private practice in Clare, all gave inspiring speeches at Candidates’ Night. All have spent hundreds of hours campaigning and spent thousands of dollars trying to get their message to voters. It will be interesting to see who the winners are in the Primary.

At the township level there is a barn burner of a race in Grant Township between the established board and challengers. Dan Dysinger, current Grant Township supervisor, spoke on behalf of the current board at Candidates’ Night, explaining that they all have the best interest of the citizens at heart, and have done so for many years.

Tom Kunse, the lone challenger to make the Night, had a different opinion. He said if he was one of the two selected to be a township trustee he would improve communications, be an independent thinker, and most importantly would cut costs. He chides the Board for spending $65,000 on legal fees and $6800 to study roads. Since all candidates on the Grant ballot are Republicans, the makeup of the township board will be decided Tuesday.

One major ballot issue affecting the City of Harrison and surrounding townships is whether the United Rescue Ambulance Authority should be able to levy up to an additional .90 mills for 5 years. This would  raise approximately $415,000 per year for the ambulance service.

Of course their competitor, MMR is spending lots of money to defeat the proposal. The two competing ambulance services would both like to be the exclusive service for this area. If United gets the millage increase, the cash strapped company would be in a better position to fight off MMR.

It wouldn’t be very interesting if their wasn’t some controversy at a gathering with over two dozen candidates. Leave it to Ghazey Aleck to get it started. Aleck is taking on sitting circuit judge, Roy Mienk in November. Rather than talking exclusively about his qualifications, Aleck cited a couple of cases he had before Mienk, and how he felt they were mishandled. Mienk, of course, had his time for rebuttal.

And then there was Jon Ringelberg, Democratic candidate for Prosecutor, who implored candidates to get their campaign signs off of public property. That resonated with me. There are few more disgusting campaign no no’s to me, than signs being posted everywhere. As Ringelberg said, if you have permission of a property owner that’s fine, but if they are on public property, get them off. I agree and would go one step further- after the Primary, pick them up. We don’t need to see them for the next three months.

That said, let’s all make sure we get to the polls this Tuesday.