Two vie for Republican slot against Sheriff
Nearly every public office in Clare County will be up for grabs in November and one of the choices on the November ballot will be decided next Tuesday in the August 7 Primary Election.
Two Republicans and former employees of the Sheriff’s Department – former Undersheriff Richard T. Miller and Mark M. McClellan – will face off August 7 for the chance to go against Democratic Incumbent Sheriff John Wilson in November, who is seeking reelection for another four years.
Mark McClellan said, “I have 36 years of Law Enforcement experience. For the past 30 years, 5 months I have shown dedication to the citizens of Clare County. I am committed to returning more professionalism to Law Enforcement in Clare County.”
“I have the most experience and training, of the other candidates, I started out 1974 at the bottom, working in the jail as a corrections officer, then onto marine/snowmobile, Dispatch, taught DNR Hunters-Marine-Snowmobile safety, taught Basic First Aid, Fire Fighter for 5years (Baldwin), Certified Law Enforcement Officer (1978) Kalamazoo Valley Community College. I started work in Clare County January 1980 as Road Deputy, Command Officer from 1983 to March 2009.”
He said, “Becoming your Clare County Sheriff has been my ultimate goal for the 30 years 5 months of my service to the Citizens of Clare County. I have been asked why I am running now. I would have run 4 years ago but my loyalty to then Sheriff Jeff Goyt was so that I would not run against him, & loyalty means a lot to me. I am a straight shooter, there is no Bull S***. I am very Professional & I will bring this back to Clare County Citizens.”
McClellan continued, “I will have an open door policy, if you have a concern, you can stop in, call, or I will come to your home and have a cup of coffee with you while we discuss your concerns.
He said if he is elected, “Deputies uniforms will be changed back to Class A uniforms, no more fatigues unless on special assignment, Attitudes will change or they won’t work for the Clare County Sheriff’s Department, and we will treat citizens with respect as they want to be treated.”
Former Undersheriff Rick Miller said he was born, raised and is a lifelong resident of Farwell. He has been at the Clare County Sheriff Department since 1975, as Jailer, Dispatcher, and police officer as Deputy, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Undersheriff; has been 911 Director, Civil Defense Director, Shift Supervisor, Road Patrol Commander and Jail Administrator.
He said he developed largest Neighborhood Watch program in Michigan. “I believe it is time to get back to basics and with my experience and knowledge I want the people of Clare County to know I believe the citizens of Clare County come first. I’m fair, honest and really have my heart in it.”
Wilson will be running for a second term on the November ballot, “We have come a long way at the Department since I was elected Sheriff in 2008,” he said. “I feel we have made a big impact in the County of Clare in solving crime and getting the community more involved with the Department with program like the Neighborhood Watch.”
He said with the help of Jess Loudenslager, he has “created one of the most professional and trained volunteer Mounted Divisions in Central and Northern Michigan, instituted 12 hour shifts, utilized a purchase policy to review bills and purchases, reduced incoming illegal contraband in the jail, utilized several Federal, State and Local grants for equipment purchases, integrated a paperless booking system and live scan finger print palm scanner, obtained military equipment, and added to K-9 Division.”
Other County seats unopposed in Primary
With both unopposed in the Primary, Incumbent County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis (R) will face challenger Jon H. Ringelberg (D) in November for a four-year term.
Ambrozaitis said she has “drawn a hard line on crime; improved case tracking and file retention systems; instituted a bad check enforcement program, a diversion program for misdemeanor cases and a Truancy policy and enforcement program; aggressively acted on drug forfeitures and drunk-driving vehicle forfeitures.”
She continued saying she “has enhanced communications with a user friendly website, www.clarecountyprosecutor.com, and the utilization of an office Facebook group page.”
Ambrozaitis has lived in Clare County since 2003 and resides in Harrison with her husband, Gabe, and their son Vincent.
Ringelberg, an area attorney and former Judge, said, “Following some six years of retirement I am running for the office of Clare County prosecutor in order to contribute back to Clare County. So, my main purpose in running is to contribute all net salary earned to youth programs in Clare County.”
The race for Clerk – Register of Deeds will also be decided in November when Democratic Incumbent Pamela G. Mayfield faces Republican challenger Kimberly G. Davis for the next four year term.
Mayfield said, “The Clare County Clerk and Register of Deeds offices are complex and complicated offices; not one office but two. It takes someone with dedication, experience and the ‘know how’ to get the job done.” Ms. Mayfield said she has worked within the office for the past 12 years and has worked hard and dedicated herself to the job and constituents of Clare County. For the past 3 ½ years she said she has been “on-the-job as your Clerk and Register of Deeds and has save taxpayers nearly $200,000 in reduced labor costs.”
She continued, “The Clerk and Register of Deeds office is the only office within the past four years that has reduced office staff while others have added employees.” She has been married to her husband Randy for the past 36 ½ years, has three daughters and two grandchildren.
Davis, a life-long resident of the county, has worked for the Clare County Sheriff’s Department for 26 years.
With several degrees, she said she is experienced with county budgeting, well versed in labor relations, human relations and payroll. “I am running because I believe the citizens of the county deserve respect and courtesy overall.”
County Treasurer and Democrat Jenny Beemer-Fritzinger is seeking another four year term and is unopposed in both August and November. Also unopposed in either the Primary or on the November ballot, Republican Paul Lapham will likely add another four year term to his longtime position as County Surveyor.
Democrat Philip Duggan will challenge Incumbent Republican Carl Parks for a four year term as County Drain Commissioner. Neither will face competition in the August Primary.
Parks said, “During my tenure, I have completed the Surrey Lake Dredging Project, redone the Leitner Drain and cleaned out Larson Elliott Drain.”
Incumbent Democrat Mike Duggan will face Republican Don Kolander in November for a six-year term on the County Road Commission in November.
Kolander is a longtime County resident, and owned and operated Sportsman Bar over 30 years; worked with Harrison Schools 10 years; was a driver of special needs children for Clare/Gladwin RESD for the past four years; worked at Special Olympics; was the Hayes Township Civic Center activities coordinator for 8.5 years; is the current director of Clare County parks and Recreation; a board member Clare County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Friends of Clare County Parks and Recreation Committee and is a current member of the Harrison City Council. “My goals and objectives as Road Commissioner would be to improve employee/management relations, policies and budget issues,” he said.
There will be competition for three County Commission seats in November but no competition from their own parties in the August Primary Election.
Incumbent Republican Jerome Burger and Democrat Dale Majewski will both see their names on the November ballot for a two-year term representing District 1.
Burger said, “It has been my honor to have served you for the past two years as your County Commissioner. If re-elected, I will continue to support your best interests in developing an effective, efficient and fully transparent government. Emphasis must be placed on budget reduction through less spending of your taxes. I will support upgrading the county website to promote smooth county e-business. Top priority will be given to Emergency Services and 911 Dispatch through improved communications and by upgrading systems with cutting edge technologies. I will continue to look for funding to support farm land preservation, recreation activities, senior citizen needs and veteran services. Where possible, emphasis will be placed on sharing intergovernmental activities for tax dollar savings. As always, I will promote the completion of the Clare County Broadband Network.”
Incumbent Republican Donald David will face Democrat and former Magistrate Rick LaBoda in November for two years representing District 5 on the County Board.
David has been the board Chair for six years.
The third seat up for grabs will be for two years representing District 6. Democrat Incumbent Karen Lipovsky is being challenged by Republican Jim Keysor.
Keysor said, “I’m running for County Commissioner, District 6. Why? Because I believe in the motto, “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you will always get what you always got.” It’s time for change on the County Commissioners. I believe in less intrusive government, more fiscal responsibility, improved hiring standards and less permits and fees. I am a lifelong resident of Clare County and have over 40 years of proven experienced leadership in government, business and non-profit organizations. I am a member of Browns Corner Church and President of the Clare County Habitat for Humanity. I am not a “yes man” but rather a “Why or Why not” type of person. During these tough times, the county needs people who can make the tough decisions at the right times. I am that person. The county needs people who can make the tough decisions at the right times. I am that person.”
For District 2 Lynn Laverty-Grim (D); for District 3 – Leonard Strouse (R); and for District 7 James Gelios (D) are all unopposed in both Primary and General Election.