Voters decide local judge, county tax proposal

Troy Times | Published July 23, 2014

Troy voters will go to the polls Aug. 5 to decide who will run for the state Senate’s 13th District and U.S and House’s 11th District in November. Voters will also decide who will serve as judge for the 52-4 District Court, as well as ballot proposals to amend the state use tax for businesses and a millage increase to fund the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation public transportation system.

Following are profiles of the candidates, as well as the exact language of the proposals as they will appear on the ballot.

Candidates were asked, in 150 words or fewer, to state the top items they would wish to accomplish if elected and how they would go about accomplishing them. If a candidate went over the word limit, ( … ) replaces the rest of the answer. (I) indicates the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim. Profiles were only sent to candidates in races that are being contested in at least one party in the primary.


U.S. House of Representatives, District 11
Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination and four candidates are running for the Democratic nomination to compete for one two-year term in November.

Kerry Bentivolio (I)

Age: 63

Occupation: Congressman

Municipality of residence: Milford

For how long: 32 years

Education: Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary’s College, Master of Education from Marygrove College

Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals:  - I would like to pass my bill, the Safe and Secure Federal Websites Act. It addresses the security of the personal information you give to federal websites, such as It prohibits government agencies from launching websites until they are certified as secure. Currently, the bill has 126 cosponsors—more than any bill introduced by a freshman republican in Congress. It has already been passed out of committee and we are optimistic it will be brought to the floor of Congress.

-Repeal Obamacare

-Pass the ROAR Act to fix our roads. The bill creates road bonds – a similar concept to the war bonds we used to fund WWII. Every dollar raised would go directly to the states. The bill doesn’t raise taxes and doesn’t raise our debt. For each bond sold, there will be an equal cut to discretionary spending.

For more information, visit our campaign website at

David Trott
Age: 53

Occupation: President and CEO, Trott & Trott, P.C.

Municipality of residence: Birmingham

For how long: 14 years

Education: A.B. – University of Michigan, J.D. – Duke University

Previously held elected offices: Council of Bingham Farms

Top goals: The size and scope of the federal government is a daunting problem facing the people of Michigan. We need to cut wasteful government spending and reduce the debt and deficit. The government has grown at an unsustainable rate under the present administration and has expanded into even more areas of our lives, including our families’ health care. The best solution to this problem would be to roll back our federal spending on unnecessary programs and eliminate the costly and ineffective Affordable Care Act. The government must learn to live within its means, just as families across the country must do every day. I will also provide outstanding customer service to my district that has been lacking for so long. As a businessman, I have taken great pride in providing the best service to our customers, and I will bring that same drive to Congress.

Anil Kumar

Age: 63

Occupation: Urologist

Municipality of residence: Oakland County

For how long: 30 years


Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals: I will return Jobs back to Michigan by negotiating with companies that have federal grants. I will also have Medicare negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to have products produced in Michigan. Make changes in the Affordable Care Act to benefit the patient by capping high deductibles and co-pays. And last, I will make higher education Affordable through debt forgiveness plans and incentivizing companies to hire local graduates with debt forgiveness plans.

Bobby McKenzie

Age: 39

Occupation:  I am a full-time candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to launching my congressional campaign, I served as Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of State

Municipality of residence:  Canton

For how long: 9 months

Education:  BA Economics; Michigan State University, MA Security Studies; Georgetown University, Visiting Scholar; University of Oxford

Previously held elected offices:  N/A

Top goals: I will protect Social Security and Medicare. They are vital programs that seniors rely on, and I will oppose any attempt to cut or privatize them. It is long past due that women receive equal pay for equal work, and I will support legislation to ensure we close the pay gap. Women today should not have to endure the same challenges my mom faced at work forty years ago and should be paid the same as men. Lastly, we need to create good-paying jobs here in Michigan. In order to do that, we must invest in public education and infrastructure.  Education is the key to our economic future, and rebuilding our aging infrastructure will both put people to work in the short-term and create the economic environment necessary for businesses to thrive. We also need to help small businesses hire and end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. 

Bill Roberts
Did not return questionnaire by press time.

Nancy Skinner

Age: 49

Occupation: Sustainable Economic Developer

Municipality of residence: Grew up in Birmingham/Royal Oak and lived here my entire life except for when my radio show was based in Chicago.

For how long: No answer given

Education: Guardian Angels, Clawson, MI K-8; Bishop Foley, Madison Heights, MI 9-12; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (Business Degree, Finance Major)

Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals: 1) The Economy and 2) Energy/Environment are very intertwined as my top 2 priorities.

I have been working for 21 years now on dealing with the reality of global warming and transitioning to a clean energy economy in a way that creates whole new industries and jobs here in Michigan. Michigan has the manufacturing and engineering talent needed to own the booming renewable energy market, let’s do it! We saw this brutal Michigan winter destroy our roads. We need better road materials. We need a stronger power grid to ensure our seniors are safe. We need to protect 21% of the world’s fresh water supply by switching to clean energy. 3) Woman: We can change the world but not when we make up only 18% of Congress; equal pay and reproductive rights are on the ballot! I talk more in-depth about my policies and how to achieve them at


State Senate District 13
Five candidates are running for the Republican nomination, and two candidates are running for the Democratic nomination to compete for one four-year term in November.

Ethan Baker

Age: 34

Occupation: Attorney

Municipality of residence: Troy

For how long: 5 years

Education: J.D. Magna Cum Laude, Whittier College School of Law; B.A. University of Southern California, Political Science

Previously held elected offices: 

Top goals: Michigan families need and deserve better roads without raising gas taxes, quality education reform kept at the local level, and a business climate that will entice new businesses and jobs into Michigan and reward and retain those already here. Our gas taxes collected at the pump must all go to funding the roads; Our Education standards should and can be the highest in the nation, but made at the local level, so that our children can thrive; and Continued tax reform and across the board incentivizing for businesses will make Michigan a magnet for jobs and business growth. All of these objectives can be obtained with a smaller, smarter and more efficient government. As a Citizen-Politician, I will build new coalitions and partnerships to better our state.  As your State Senator, I will work hard every day on these issues for you and your family. Please visit for more

Al Gui

Age: 50

Occupation: Mathematics instructor Oakland community college Auburn Hills campus.

Municipality of residence: Royal Oak

For how long: Living in the district for almost 10 years

Education:  1.Master of Arts, major mathematics

2.Master of science in educational leadership, major Administration

3. Bachelor in pure mathematics

Previously held elected offices: No

Top goals: 1. Improve the quality of life
Repeal Michigan pension tax.
Create a state bank and bring back the 62 billion Michigan is keeping in some banks in New York. It will protect our pensions and help address the foreclosure crisis.

Also eliminate driver responsibility fees and eliminate Michigan state income tax.

2.  Improve education

Reject common core. Reduce the number of standardized tests to two tests a year. Eliminate multiple choices questions and shorten the number of questions. Teach moral values in K-12.
College level: At least  a 50% college tuition  cut. Als  allow community colleges to award bachelor degrees.

3.  Jobs and economy

Repair our roads by using general funds. No more tax increase.
Market Michigan oversea: I’m the onl candidate who speaks French, I can help.
Also give tax incentives to all businesses that hire local people.
Opportunities to veterans and job seekers to afford owning productive farms.

Marty Knollenberg

Age: 50

Occupation: Owner of Allstate Insurance Agency

Municipality of residence: Troy

For how long: 14 years

Education: Albion College BA, History

Previously held elected offices: State Representative: 2007-2012, Oakland County Commissioner: 2003-2004

Top goals:

Fix our roads without raising our taxes.

Redirect gas tax money collected at the pump that goes to state general fund to roads.

Change axle load requirements to be more in line with neighboring states.

Better specifications and warranties placed on our contractors.

Repeal prevailing wage law.

Continue to competitively bid state agency services.

Create opportunities for job providers.

Rein in regulations.

Stop government picking winners and losers.

Fix our roads without raising taxes.

Provide the educational tools for our kids to succeed.

Early intervention in the child’s life that teaches them the basics such as reading, writing and math.

We must have effective and consistent teacher evaluations.

Rewards for both teachers and students if goals are met.

Teach for the jobs of tomorrow.

Allow for more opportunities for vocational and technical training.

Charles J. Moss

Age: 60

Occupation: Writer, Adjunct Professor, Oakland University

Municipality of residence: Birmingham, MI

For how long: 33 years

Education: JD, University of Detroit Law School, 1979. Passed Bar 1979.)

BA, Michigan State University, James Madison College

Previously held elected offices: State Representative, 40th District, 2007-2012

Oakland County Commissioner, 2001-2006.

Birmingham City Commissioner, 1997-2000. Mayor Pro Tem, Mayor.

Top goals: 1) Continue Lansing budget reform and paying down debt. HOW: As Chairman of Appropriations, I worked with Governor Snyder and Senate to get budget done early, balanced, without smoke and mirrors I have the experience and record to return and continue the job.

2) Get Oakland County’s fair share of state funds. Oakland County is the only donor county in Michigan; we send a billion dollars to Lansing more than we get back. HOW: I have the budget experience to bring OUR MONEY back home to fix our roads, fund our schools, and pay our police, fire and first responders.

3) Fix our roads. HOW: we need to find over a billion dollars a year more, without shorting our schools or other needs. We need to overhaul our obsolete road revenue system. In Lansing I led budget reform, I know how to do it, with real solutions.

Rocky Raczkowski

Age: 45

Occupation: President, Imperium Logistics LLC

Municipality of residence: Troy,  MI

For how long: 1 Year, Life Long Oakland County Resident

Education: 1. JD,  Juris Doctor of Law,   MSU  (Graduated), 2.  MA,  Business,  CMU  (Completed), , 3.  BA,  Political Science/Psychology,  EMU  (Graduated), 4.  Command & General Staff College, US Army (Graduated), 5.  Civil Military / Psychological Operations,  JFK Special Warfare  School,  Ft Bragg, NC,  US Army  (Graduated),n6.  Infantry Officers Advanced Course, Ft Benning, GA, US Army (Graduated), 7.  Infantry Officers Basic Course, Ft Benning, GA  US Army (Graduated)

Previously held elected offices: State Representative, Majority Leader, Michigan House of Representatives  (1997-2003).

Top goals: “I am focused on improving our economy by creating diversification into the healthcare, and financial investment sectors with research, development and innovation in our region. This will allow us incredible growth without an economy that is solely tied to manufacturing. Furthermore, we need to lower classroom sizes and focus on educational excellence at the student level and encourage parental involvement. Lastly, our roads must be improved by seeking greater efficiencies in State spending, lowering Truck axel weights and demanding road builder warranties.

These are common sense proposals that have great rewards for our State if implemented by someone that has a track record of service and success.  I humbly ask for your support and would be honored to answer any questions or comments you may have by calling me directly at 248-388-4664, or visiting our website at:  Thank you and I hope I may be able to serve you!”

Ryan Fishman

Age: 26

Occupation: Attorney and small business owner

Municipality of residence: Birmingham, Michigan

For how long:  3 years in Birmingham, lifelong district resident

Education: No answer given

Previously held elected offices:  First time candidate

Top goals: Jobs

Michigan needs more good paying jobs that create long-term opportunities in the 13th District. I will fight to bring new jobs in growing sectors like green energy, science and technology and the Michigan film industry.  I have written a job creation plan which is available on our website,

Accountability to Tax Payers

I will push for spending reforms in Lansing. Lansing needs to make the same cuts they have asked taxpayers to make. I will cut my own pay on day one in order to demonstrate that spending cuts begin with our lawmakers.

Michigan’s Public Schools

I’m the son of a public school teacher and the graduate of our public schools. I will fight to restore the billions cut from education and ensure our schools stay internationally competitive. I will push for a comprehensive overhaul of our current funding model to improve the quality of education.

Cyndi S. Peltonen 

Age: 60

Occupation: Music teacher

Municipality of residence: No answer given

For how long:  No answer given

Education: Bachelor of Music, Wayne State University

Previously held elected offices:  I was elected to the Clawson Board of Education five times, serving over 20 years as President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Trustee.

Top goals: Restore funding to schools and communities.

Legislators slashed school funding by $1.4 billion for corporate tax breaks. Cities and towns have 25% less money for public services than they did in 2000.

Create jobs by investing in infrastructure.

When we put people back to work fixing crumbling roads and unsafe bridges, they have money to buy goods and services. This increases demand and stimulates job growth.

Be a voice of common sense, and promote transparency in government and integrity in public service.

I have experience developing public policy and monitoring a multi-million dollar budget. Crafting good public policy requires thoughtful consideration of abundant input, respectful debate, and honest deliberation. 

I will work with like-minded people in the legislature to accomplish these goals. If there are not enough votes there, I will work with people throughout the state to bring pressure on the legislature to serve the people.

District Court 52-4 Division
Three candidates are running for the one non-incumbent, non-partisan six-year judgeship.

Mike Bosnic

Age: 45

Occupation: Attorney specializing in District Court prosecutions

Municipality of residence: Clawson

For how long: Lived in Troy 1994-1998, in Clawson from 1998 to present

Education: Michigan State, B.A., Notre Dame Law School, J.D.

Previously held elected offices: Clawson School Board 2003-2012, Oakland County Commissioner, representing Troy and Clawson 2010-2014

Top goals:

I would like to bring the “Veterans Court” model to our local District Court. I was fortunate to be involved in one of the first Veteran’s Court programs in Michigan.  We owe our freedom to our Veterans and I would like my Court to be one of those who make a specialized effort to reach out to those Veterans who need a helping hand.

I will run my docket in an efficient and orderly manner.  With nearly 20 years of District Court experience, I know how important it is for a Judge to have the utmost respect for litigants and witnesses.

I will bring the perspective of a District Court prosecutor to the Bench. I have prosecuted literally thousands of cases in District Court, keeping communities safe. I also have experience in every type of District Court case.

AnnMarie DeVito

Age: 40

Occupation: Attorney for 14 years

Municipality of residence: Troy

For how long: 37 years

Education: I attended Troy schools and graduated from Troy Athens High School in 1991 with honors.  I attended Oakland University in the fall of 1991 and received my bachelor›s degree in the spring of 1994 and graduated in less than three years. In 1999, I earned my Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and graduated at the top of my class. While attending law school, I served on the Law Review as Associate Editor and on the Moot Court Board of Directors.

Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals: 1. If elected, I already accomplished my number one goal! I will have accomplished this goal by hard work and listening to the voters.  I ran this election with dignity, integrity, and without political games! Please visit

2. I want to have a courtroom that encourages integrity and honesty. Years ago, I was involved in a case and encountered ethical and procedural dilemmas. I approached the District Court Judge with my opinion on how I thought I should proceed. That Judge commended me on how I handled the situation. From that experience, I learned that honesty and proceeding with integrity is the best policy.

3. I intend to encourage programs targeted at minors. Most cases in District Court are traffic violations. Kids need more education regarding driving laws; especially distracted and drunk driving. The youth today need to be reminded that their actions could have serious effects on their future.

Maureen Martha McGinnis

Age: 36

Occupation: Attorney

Municipality of residence: Troy

For how long: Life long resident, with the exception of college

Education: Graduate of Troy High School. Bachelor of Arts, University of Colorado. Juris Doctor,  Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law.

Previously held elected offices: Troy City Councilperson (2009-2013). I served as both Mayor Pro Tem and Acting Mayor during my tenure.

Top goals: 1.) Running an efficient and accessible courtroom to ensure that all parties that appear before the court have the opportunity to be heard; maintaining a high level or preparedness in each case; continuing my intensive study of the law; and considering all sides in any matter that appears before the court, so as to make a fair and reasonable ruling in every case, the first responsibility of a judge. 

2.) Keeping the community safe and protecting the property values of Troy and Clawson residents and business owners by holding people accountable for their actions if they are found to be in violation of the law.

3.) Continuing my service to the community outside of the courtroom by working in conjunction with the school districts, service organizations and municipal governments of Troy and Clawson to educate the communities about the justice system and other community issues.

State Use Tax Proposal

Approval or disapproval of amendatory act to reduce state use tax and replace with a local community stabilization share to modernize the tax system to help small businesses grow and create jobs.

The amendatory act adopted by the Legislature would:

1. Reduce the state use tax and replace with a local community stabilization share of the tax for the purpose of modernizing the tax system to help small businesses grow and create jobs in Michigan.

2. Require Local Community Stabilization Authority to provide revenue to local governments dedicated for local purposes, including police safety, fire protection, and ambulance emergency services.

3. Increase portion of state use tax dedicated for aid to local school districts.

4. Prohibit Authority from increasing taxes.

5. Prohibit total use tax rate from exceeding existing constitutional 6% limitation.

Should this law be approved?

Oakland County Public Transportation Millage Renewal 

If approved, this proposal will renew and increase the .59 mills currently levied by the Oakland County Public Transportation Authority for the years 2012 through 2013, to 1.0 mills for the years 2014 through 2017, and will allow continued support to the Suburban Mobility Authority for
Regional Transportation (SMART) for a public transportation system serving the elderly, disabled, and general public of Oakland County.

For the purpose of providing funds for the support of a public transportation system serving the elderly, disabled and general public of the County of Oakland, as a renewal and increase of the mills which expired with the 2013 tax levy, shall the limitation on the amount of taxes imposed on taxable property in the Oakland County Public Transportation Authority area be renewed and increased from .59 mills (59 cents per $1,000 of taxable value) to 1.0 mills ($1.00 per $1,000 of taxable value) for four (4) years, 2014 through 2017, inclusive? It is estimated that 1.0 mills would generate approximately $27 million when levied in 2014.