By Pat Maurer
Voters all over the United States will head for the polls Tuesday to have their say in the country, state and local leadership for the next two, four or six years.
Democratic President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden face a serious challenge from Republican Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in their bid for another four years in the White House. Polls this week show the President only slightly ahead.
Republican Clark Durant will face Democratic Incumbent Debbie Stabenow Tuesday in a bid for a six-year term in the United States Senate; while in the race for 4th District Representative in Congress, Republican incumbent Dave Camp will face Democrat Debra Freidell Wirth for another two year term in the U.S. House.
At the State level, Incumbent Republican Representative Joel Johnson will face Democratic contender Chris Breznau of Standish for another two-year term representing the 97th District.
Johnson said, “I’ve raised my family here and felt the pain of having one of my children leave the state in search of work. My experience running a small family farm and as a longtime business manager with Johnston Elevator has helping me greatly in seeking ways to grow jobs in Michigan. I know from experience that we can’t spend money we don’t have and that a government budget should be managed like your family budget. This involves tough decisions that must be made – it also involves tackling problems now rather than waiting for them to get even worse.”
A resident of Gladwin County for 15 years, Breznau said he is highly qualified to be the next State Representative. His campaign stresses quality jobs, quality public education and quality involvement and representation for the community. He said he plans on “working with the legislature to make it work.”
Clare County Prosecutor
Locally, Incumbent Republican Michelle J. Ambrozaitis will face Democratic challenger Jon H. Ringelberg in her bid for another four-year term as Clare County Prosecutor.
At Candidate’s Night before the Primary Election, Ambrozaitis, who has lived in Clare County since 2003, said she has “drawn a hard line on crime. She listed the improvements she has made in the prosecutor’s office including a check restitution program, truancy policy, OWI vehicle forfeiture program, new web site and Facebook page; and said they are “working towards a paperless office.” She outlined the development of a “multi-disciplinary task force or team, which would work together when questioning victims.”
Ringelberg, an attorney and former judge, said, “I am running for the office of Prosecutor in order to volunteer my legal skills and time in appreciation to Clare County, a great home to myself and family for over 40 years; all net salary received will be donated to Clare County youth programs.”
Clare County Sheriff
Mark McClellan will face Democratic Incumbent John Wilson in his bid for another four year term as Clare County Sheriff.
Wilson said, “I feel that under my guidance that the Clare County Sheriff Department has come a long way in my term as Sheriff. We have created ways of keeping the public better informed on what is going on, and using the public to help us solve crime. We have stayed well within the monies budgeted by the commissioners, and have even added several thousands of dollars in equipment for the department at no cost to the taxpayers of Clare County. I believe that if I am re-elected we (the Department) will continue to grow in the right direction, and in a direction that the citizens of Clare County will like.”
McClellan retired From the Clare County Sheriff’s Department in 2010 as a detective and was a Command Officer from 1983 to 2009. He said, “I have worked 36 years in Law Enforcement, 30.5 years in Clare County, raised my family in Clare County. I will bring Professionalism, Integrity [and] Experience. Look at my Qualifications compared to Sheriff Wilson’s. I do not sugar coat or cover up – Straight Talk, No B.S. Equal Justice for All.”
Clare County Clerk/Register of Deeds
Incumbent Clare County Clerk/Register of Deeds Pamela G. Mayfield (D) will be facing Republican Kimberly G. Davis in Tuesday’s election in her bid for another four-year term in office.
Earlier Mayfield stressed the many facets and duties of the Clerk/Register of Deed’s office. Formerly Chief Deputy Clerk, she has been with the office since 2001 and said, “I am the best candidate for the position.” She continued, “We maintain the offices by statute (by law). It takes a lot of knowledge.”
Davis said, “I believe my training and experience in County Government, since 1986, makes me a viable candidate for the Office of Clerk/Register of Deeds. If elected, my goal is to improve the working environment for the employees and colleagues to ultimately benefit the citizens of Clare County with efficiency, courtesy, and effective cross training of employees as well as myself.”
Clare County Road Commission
Incumbent Democrat Mike Duggan is facing a challenge for re-election to a seat on the Clare County Road Commission from Republican Don Kolander.
Kolander, owner of the Sportsman’s Bar in Harrison for 33 years, is a member on the County Parks and Recreation Board, the Clare County Visitors Bureau and currently is a driver for special needs students for the RESD. Earlier he said, “As commissioner I will try to balance the budget and keep policies in place. I will try to eliminate employee grievances with a more open-door policy.”
Clare County Commission
On the Clare County Commission, only three face serious competition next Tuesday. District 2 Democrat Lynn Laverty Grim, District 3 Republican Leonard Ray Strouse, District 4 Republican Jack Kleinhardt and District 7 Democrat Jim Gelios are all unopposed on the ballot for another two-year term on the board.
In District 1, however, Incumbent Republican Commissioner Jerry Berger faces a challenge from Democrat Dale Majewski. District 1 encompasses Redding Freeman, Garfield and part of Lincoln Townships.
In July, Burger said if re-elected, he will “continue to work on efficient, complaint government.” His goals include information on the internet, and his top priority is emergency services. “I will seek funds for parks, tourism, veteran’s services and senior services,” he said, “and always continue to promote Broadband services.”
His opponent Dale Majewski (D) listed his qualifications including 30 years in manufacturing, 30 years on the Lincoln Township Fire Department with 17 years as Fire Chief and his membership on the Lincoln Township Zoning Board of Appeals. “I am running for this position because I believe that the citizens deserve responsive and responsible leadership. I seek to address the needs of the citizens, businesses, organizations and agencies that served the community in order to create a cooperative spirit.”
District 5 Commissioner and Chair Donald David (R), will be up against former Clare Magistrate Rick R. LaBoda. District 5 includes Franklin, Hamilton Arthur and the northern two-thirds of Sheridan Township
David has been board chairman for six years. At Candidates Night just before the Primary Election, he said he feels the Commission has done well in their efforts to conserve money. “There’s very little wasteful spending,” he said. He said the budget has been reduced from $13 million annually to $10.4 million. He continued, “We have many hard decisions coming. Some will reduce services and some will cost jobs. There’s no way around it.”
Former Magistrate Rick LaBoda (D) will challenge David Tuesday. He said earlier that in the time he worked with the District Court he gained “good solid working relationships for good solid intelligent decisions.”
Finally, in District 6, Incumbent Democrat Karen E. Lipovsky will be up against Republican Jim Keysor for the seat. District 6 includes Winterfield, Summerfield, Frost, Greenwood and the northwest corner of Hayes Township.
Keysor, a 40-year resident and business owner in Harrison, said earlier, “We need a lot of change in this county. I believe I can be instrumental. We have a very intrusive government,” he added, citing building permits should only be required for structural changes.
Unopposed County offices
County Treasurer and Democrat Jenny Beemer-Fritzinger is seeking another four year term and is unopposed on the ballot. Also unopposed , Republican Paul Lapham will likely add another four year term to his longtime position as County Surveyor and Incumbent Clare County Drain Commissioner Carl J. Parks, who won the Democratic slot in the August Primary, is also unopposed on Tuesday’s ballot.