Voters decide state legislature, commissioner and millage issue

Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 23, 2014

Readers in the Chronicle’s coverage area will head to the polls Aug. 5 to vote for primary candidates in several races, including state representative and county commissioner, as well as to decide on a library millage. 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, ( … ) replaced 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.


State House of Representatives — 31st DistrictThree candidates are running for the Democratic nomination, and one candidate is running for the Republican nomination to compete for one two-year term in November.

Kathy Anne Blanke

Age: 66

Occupation: Retired from the city of Fraser after 25 years of employment as Recreation Director

Municipality of residence: Fraser

For how long: 46 years

Education: Graduated from Dominican High School - then attended University of Detroit and received an Associate Degree. Several certifications through Michigan Municipal degree during my career. Years of volunteer work at Church and City - much life education along the way.

Previously held elected offices: Fraser Councilwoman, 2009-2013

Top goals: 1. A part time legislature - no pension/health care benefits after 6 years. 2. Lower taxes for Seniors. 3. Road repair.
Pay politicians an hourly & part time schedule. They should serve; not be served.
Benefits cost taxpayers greatly; focus to regulate entitlements to our electorate. Not being an incumbent brings objectivity.
Stop over taxing Senior income. Seniors worked years, saved and budgeted. Seems they are penalized for and governmental waste and self interest. Review Homestead Act and modify taxes on Social Security and pensions. Disability issues, children and military Veterans are necessary costs. Government lacks common sense and reality.
Road repair is obvious to all Michigan residents. Use Lottery Ticket revenue to fund since it did not seem to work for school districts budgets.



Juliana Rita Goldwater

Age: 26

Occupation: High School ELA Teacher

Municipality of residence: Clinton Township

For how long: 26 years

Education: 2006 Fraser High School Graduate. Achieved BA in English (minor in history), with Secondary Education Certification from Oakland University in 2012. Currently working towards Masters in Instructional Technology from Saginaw Valley State University.

Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals: The duty of an elected official is to represent one’s constituents, fighting for their interests. Too often, politicians become busy fighting one another, and lose sight of that duty. Our interests include, but are not limited to, the following:

Education: We must foster creative, critically thinking minds.  Providing educators with the necessary professional learning and materials will help everyone become successful citizens within a democratic society.

Environment: Michigan has the unique privilege to house many lakes, rivers, and forests. With that privilege comes responsibility. We must maintain our environment for future generations.

Furthermore, the fishing, tourist, and shipping industries are reliant upon our environment. We must ensure that industries integral to our economy can maintain a success that will ripple across the state.

Infrastructure: Our roads are broken; our buildings, vacant; and our systems and networks, flawed. We must restore infrastructure, beginning in our neighborhoods, and extending into our workplaces.


Marilyn Lane (I)

Age: 55

Occupation: State Representative, Serving Clinton Township, Fraser, & Mount Clemens

Municipality of residence: Fraser

For how long: My entire life.

Education: Macomb Community College, Michigan Builder’s License and Michigan Realtor’s License

Previously held elected offices: Mayor of Fraser, 2003-2007. Vice-Chair, Macomb County Charter Commission, 2007-2009.

Top goals: (1)  Jobs and Economic Growth: We need to increase partnerships with all levels of government, our schools, and the private sector to ensure that our workforce has the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy.

(2)  Investing in Schools and Local Governments: For too long, Lansing has balanced it’s budget on the backs of our local governments and public schools. We need to invest in our core, local services so that Macomb’s communities and schools can continue to provide the high level of services that our residents deserve.

(3)  Fixing Our Roads: As the Vice-Chair of the House Transportation Committee, I’m working on a solution that eliminates special interest loopholes in our vehicle code, holds overweight trucks accountable for the damage they cause, ensures quality workmanship warranties for work performed by our contractors, and utilizes all existing resources before asking the voters for revenue enhancements.\


Philip Rode

Age: 57

Occupation: Sales - Engineering Software Solutions

Municipality of residence: Clinton Township

For how long: 50 years

Education: Fraser High School graduate, Wayne State University B.S. Finance

Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals: Represent the 31’st District at the State level in the areas of Business Development and Job Creation.  Encourage and Create Educational Opportunities for Students Going to Collage and the Trades. Drive to get your State Tax Dollars back to our District especially in the area of roads. Through my diverse background in Finance, Banking, Mortgage, Real Estate then Engineering Design to Manufacturing and Production, I have developed a keen understanding of what Good Government means and its affects on our community. Send me to Lansing and I will Represent our community!




State House of Representatives — 24th District
Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination to compete for one two-year term.

Anthony G. Forlini (I)

Age: 52

Occupation: State Representative/Certified financial planner

Municipality of residence: Harrison Township

For how long: 27

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Western University

Previously held elected offices: Supervisor of Harrison Township, State Representative.

Top goals: For over 10 years state government has grown at a disproportionate rate compared to local units of government. Serving on appropriations my passion has been to find areas of waste in state government and send the savings to local units of government. This effort has fruitful as two of my communities collectively will receive approximately $300,000 in additional revenue sharing.

Continue to bring jobs to Michigan by allowing for a business friendly environment and continuing to seek out new industry for Michigan. I have personally been invited to speak at the Turin Chamber of Commerce and have hosted those jobs providers here in Macomb County.

Find alternative ways to keep our kids here in Macomb County. One way would be to offer state tax credits to graduates of vocational or college programs. Let their wealth of knowledge propel us to the economic powerhouse that we once were.


Philip Kurczewski

Age: 61

Municipality of residence: Clinton Township

For how long: 19 years

Education: High School:  Detroit St. David; College:  BA Mercy College of Detroit

Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals:There are many things that need attention, but my top three are; Education, Roads and Taxes.

Over the past three years the average household in Michigan has seen their taxes increase, while corporate taxes were cut. The new taxes on retirement income, the reduction or elimination of exemptions for homesteads, per child credit and the earned income credit and charitable contributions have hurt many in michigan.

Our roads have been falling apart for years without action. Everything regarding roads should be up for review: truck weight limits, commercial and personal vehicle fees, road construction specifications, and yes, taxes. When it comes to education we need to act quickly, our efforts should center on one thing, to provide a world class learning environment for our children.

On these three issues and many others I will work with all parties to find common ground and solutions that help make peoples lives better.


Arzo F. Smith

Did not submit questionnaire by press time.




County Commissioner — 11th District

Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination to compete for one two-year term in November.

Arlene P. Edmonds

Age: 68

Occupation: Retired - Controller - City of Dearborn Housing Department and Housing Commission

Municipality of residence: Roseville

For how long: 39 years

Education: Wayne State University - B.S. Corporate Finance, Post Graduate Accounting  and Continued Education in Public Housing Administration and Finance               

Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals: Smaller efficient government and this could be accomplished by transferring some services to the private sector and eliminating duplication of services.

Use different compounds to repair our roads as they do in Europe on the Auto Ban that would last longer and improve our state for travelling.  It would save money with less labor costs.

Better control of environmental issues such as planned regional water, air and waste authority to include illegal dumping and use of toxic chemicals.  This could be accomplished by hefty fines to companies who do not comply and strict protection of whistle blowers. Make the board elected positions that represents all the areas served.  This would save money with a single controlling authority avoiding duplication of position and costs.


Mark Henry

Did not return questionnaire by press time

Kathy Tocco (I)

Age: 50

Occupation: Attorney and Macomb County Commissioner

Municipality of residence: Fraser

For how long: 25 years

Previously held elected offices: Macomb County Commissioner

Education: Cousino Senior High School, Warren, MI; University of Detroit, Detroit, MI; Detroit College of Law, Detroit, MI  

Top goals: To continue to participate in a transparent system of oversight and checks and balances relative to the county’s finances; with a goal of maintaining  a healthy general fund balance while ensuring the county’s future financial stability.

To participate in the decision making relative to rebuilding of the county’s aging infrastructure.  Doing so will keep the county on sturdy footing and enable the continuation of much needed services particularly to seniors, children, veterans and the mentally ill.  

To focus on county road repair and the establishment of regional transportation.


Macomb County Executive
Three candidates are running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination to compete for one four-year term.

Mark Hackel (I)

Age: 52

Occupation: Macomb County Executive

Municipality of residence: Macomb Township

For how long: Macomb County, life-long.  Macomb Township, 12 years


Associate’s Degree – Macomb Community College

Bachelor’s Degree – Wayne State University

Master’s Degree – Public Administration – Central Michigan

Previously held elected offices: Macomb County Sheriff

Top goals: Leverage Macomb County’s Assets

I established the Michigan Defense Center in Sterling Heights to help promote and leverage our defense industry and wealth of advanced manufacturing and automotive companies.

Through the Blue Economy initiative,  transforming our 32 miles of Lake St. Clair coastline and the Clinton River into national attractions. After hosting the first Macomb Bass Masters Tournament, Lake St. Clair was pronounced the “best smallmouth fishery on the planet.”

Make Macomb Your Home

I started the Make Macomb Your Home program to promote and enhance the county’s great quality of life - everything from our waterfront to country-side communities and award-winning schools to world-renowned companies.

Good Government

This was the first four years of our new executive form of government.  We balanced the budget, eliminated $60 million in deficit spending and consolidated public safety and emergency management in the new COMTEC facility., Twitter @MarkHackel or on Facebook

David John Novak

Age: 47

Occupation: Corporate Account Executive

Municipality of residence: Chesterfield Township, Macomb

For how long: 14 Years

Education: Masters of Science

Previously held elected offices: None

Top goals: Community Development: Work In a partnership with the elected County Commissioners and elected Township, City and Village leaders in conjunction with organization such as SEMCOG and MEDC along with the Chamber of Commerce to bring Business to Macomb. “Market Macomb”. 2) Economic Development: Review the budgets and cut waste. Review and recommend changes to the County Commissioners regarding spending and how these proposed cuts would affect the business of operating the County and its citizens. 3) Public Policy: Roads, Police and public safety, Emergency Preparedness, Water and Sewer issues. Parks and recreation, downtown revitalizations, Waterfronts and lake quality, overall infrastructure.

Randell J. Shafer

Did not submit questionnaire by press time.

Erin Alana Stahl

Age: 44

Occupation: Self-Employed (Independent Contractor)

Municipality of residence: City of St. Clair Shores

For how long: 15+ years (Macomb County for 20+ years)


1) MSU - Bachelors in Entrepreneurship

2) Walsh College - Masters in Finance

3) Former St. Clair Shores (SCS) Gen. Emp. Pension Board Trustee

4) Financial Peace University class leader

5) Certified Trainer – Total Quality Process Management

6) Senior Graduate of

Previously held elected offices: 2007 Mayor ProTem, St. Clair Shores (60,000 residents)
2003-2007 Councilwoman, St. Clair Shores

Top goals: 1) Creating an atmosphere and policies that RESPECT the rights, dignity, and worth of all people 2) Design Macomb County government into the example for other communities, of how to LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS while strategically dumping our debt 3) DEFEND ourselves FROM ASSAULTS by contractors and special interests trying to make a quick buck.

I’ll accomplish this by:

1) Continue standing up for SCS residents and broaden my efforts to all Macomb County communities

2) Use my unique way of analyzing government budgets; getting to the problem’s root cause, rather than haphazardly throwing more money at the problems

3) Provide free FOIA information to citizens to hold elected officials and employees accountable.  Then use the inquiries to develop statistical reporting systems

4) Give citizens the truth so we can fix problems and have a higher quality of life for Macomb County families.

Clinton-Macomb Public Library Millage Proposal:

Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property

within the Clinton-Macomb Public Library District be increased in an amount not to exceed .39 mills ($0.39 on each $1,000.00 of taxable value) for a period of 8 years,

beginning in the year 2014 and ending in the year 2021, inclusive, for the purpose of providing funds for Library purposes? It is estimated that .39 mills would raise

approximately $2,000,000 when first levied in 2014.

Macomb County Public Transportation Millage

If approved, this proposal will renew and increase the 0.59 mills formerly authorized, to 1.0 mills for years 2014 through 2017, and 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 Macomb County.

For the purpose of providing funds in support of public transportation serving the elderly, disabled, and general public, shall the limitation on the amount of taxes imposed on taxable property located within Macomb County, be renewed and increased from 0.59 mills to 1.0 mills for a period of four (4) years, being years 2014 through 2017? It is estimated that if approved, this millage would raise approximately $24,093,287 in the first year.

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?