Harrison TownshipAugust 8, 2012
Supervisor wins re-election in Harrison
By Julie Snyder
C & G Staff Writer
In Harrison Township, voters gave support Aug. 7 to many of the incumbents, including Supervisor Ken Verkest, who was looking to retain his spot as head of the township against resident Bill Servial.
Verkest received 66 percent of the vote and will remain for another four years. Servial received 957 votes for 33 percent.
“I’m honored to have won,” Verkest said after his second election win. “I saw that there were some other races where the incumbents didn’t do as well, so I feel fortunate to have the support I have in Harrison Township.”
In the trustee race where four seats were up for election, there were four Republicans and three Democrats seeking a spot.
Going up against incumbents David Bratto (D), John Swiatkowski (D), Lawrence Tomenello (R), and Frank Kapral (R) were well-known vocal community members Marshall Rosquin (R), James Senstock (R), and Richard Sheehy (D).
Those on the Democratic ticket — all three received less than 1,000 votes — didn’t fare as well as those on the Republican ticket, though all seven are moving on to the General Election.
Township Treasurer Darrin York won re-election against Doreen Glappa, a former township employee.
In the township clerk race, Deputy Supervisor Adam Wit won the race against Deputy Treasurer Jared Maynard.
Current Clerk Jan Jorgensen decided not to run for a third term this year because she has higher aspirations. Her term ends Nov. 20.
“I’ve been in the township for 13 years (five as deputy clerk); I’m ready to move on,” she said. “I’m very interested in public policy. It’s either in your blood or it’s not, and it’s certainly a passion for me. I would like to look at something at either the state or federal level.”
Jorgensen said she will miss the challenges that being a township clerks brings.
“It’s a great opportunity to serve in a capacity like this,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to give back and be involved in your community. It’s a very rewarding position. It’s a lot of work, but at the end of the day you feel good about what you’re doing.”
Jorgensen went on to say that Harrison Township’s 26 percent voter turnout is pretty much on par for the community for a primary.
“Everything went smoothly,” she said. “There was some very competitive campaigning and with a local proposal, that tends to bring out more voters. And when you have write-ins and precincts delegates, it makes it a more difficult process, but it was all very manageable.”
The township’s one-year police and fire millage renewal passed with a favorable 77 percent of the vote. The millage that first passed in 2006 maintains police services with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and fire services.
“I’m happy to see that it’s been renewed another year,” Verkest said. “The voters know that 6.67 mills in 2013 will still generate less revenue than it did four years ago.”
Verkest said that even though property values have declined, resulting in less revenue to the township, it nonetheless still has to grapple with higher costs in health care and other fixed costs. The millage remaining the same will just keep police and fire in the community.
In District 10, a familiar name came out on top on the Democrat side of the ticket. Michael Boyle, a former County Commissioner before the charter form of government was enacted and a former St. Clair Shores city councilman, won with 60 percent of the vote, beating retired police Lt. David Chavis, who brought in 1,769 votes, or 40 percent of the total.
Boyle said his win was likely “because I’ve been around a long time.”
“I’m involved in the community, I’ve been involved for 35 years,” he said.
But he said he’d have to work hard to get his name out in Harrison Township. He wants voters to know that he supports recreational use of the water and is concerned about the quality of Lake St. Clair.
“I want to increase the senior citizen services, make sure we have good transportation for everybody,” he said.
He said he was happy with the win and plans to continue to work hard to win the November general election.
“I’ll work hard for everybody,” he said.
His Republican challenger in November, Harrison Township resident Zach Eineman, took in 2,292 votes. Eineman beat fellow Harrison Township resident Jennifer Piecuch by just 69 votes; she had 2,223, according to unofficial results from the Macomb County clerk’s office.
“It’s nice to win and that’s just one piece of the puzzle, and it’s a long road to November and that’s what we’re focused on,” he said. “I’m going to be someone who gets in there and I’m going to push for things. I’m going to try to get things done.”
He said he is against any change to Selfridge Air National Guard Base and any higher taxes, and wants transparency and honesty in government.
“I’m not going to be someone who just quietly votes. I’m going to be someone who makes a difference,” he said. “That’s the main thing.”
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