Royal Oak incumbents hold on to seats

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published November 6, 2019

 A sign directs voters where to go at Royal Oak High School Tuesday, Nov. 5.

A sign directs voters where to go at Royal Oak High School Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

Advertisement

ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier and three members of the City Council all retained their seats in the Nov. 5 election.

According to unofficial election results released by the Oakland County Elections Division, Fournier outpaced his opponent, Stephen Miller, with 56.61% of the vote — 7,371 votes — to Miller’s 42.88% — 5,583 votes.

Incumbent City Commissioners Patricia Paruch, Kyle DuBuc and Randy LeVasseur held on to their seats. Paruch received 18.77% of the votes, a total of 6,820; DuBuc received 17.58%, a total of 6,385 votes; and LeVasseur received 16.22%, a total of 5,894 votes.

City Council hopefuls Pamela Lindell received 15.95%, a total of 5,793 votes; Tom Hallock received 15.75%, a total of 5,723 votes; and Belem Morales received 15.60%, a total of 5,667 votes.

After the race, Fournier said he was glad to be reelected and was proud of the strong voter turnout.

“I think the voters sent a resounding message that they have confidence in the job we’re doing and the positive vision we have for the city,” Fournier said. “There was certainly a lot of misinformation and mudslinging going around in this election, but I’m glad residents chose truth over fear, and stability over anger.”

DuBuc said he was thrilled that the voters placed their confidence in him, but that while he welcomes healthy debate, the period leading up to the election was overshadowed by “conspiracy theories and mudslinging.” He said he was excited for the upcoming groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies associated with the new civic center.

“Property values are up, crime is down, we’re investing in environmental sustainability,” he said. “We’re putting energy into things residents find most important.”

Paruch said she was honored that the residents reelected her to the City Commission and that there are many projects she would like to see through to fruition, specifically the civic center project.

“I think Royal Oak voters have always appreciated a positive message with substantive goals, and that’s what our campaign team decided to focus on, and not to go negative,” she said.

LeVasseur said he appreciated the support and faith the voters placed in him, and that he will continue to move forward and do what’s best for Royal Oak.

“I was disappointed the people I was promoting did not get to join me. They came up a bit short,” LeVasseur said. “I do think we need some change in the way we govern here in Royal Oak. I thought that this was a grand opportunity to bring about that change.  We got status quo, but that’s what the voters chose and you have to respect that.”

LeVasseur campaigned with Lindell, Hallock and Miller.

“I’m bummed, but not horribly surprised, because name recognition incumbents prevail a lot of the time,” Lindell said.

Lindell, a longtime volunteer with the Friends of the Royal Oak Public Library and the Royal Oak Animal Shelter, said she decided to run because she wanted to enact change, and she might run again in the future.

“The spending started to get off the charts and the same players were getting all the benefits — the same players were getting variances,” she said. “I’m really proud to have met so many wonderful people. I’m going to miss walking and knocking on doors.”

Morales, who was born to a family of migrant workers and is now a practicing attorney, said she has always been active in the community and has enjoyed advocating for the public. She said that this was her first foray into politics, and she definitely intends to run for office again.

“I had a baby two years ago, and it really made me want to invest in my community,” she said. “I want him to know what it’s like to be rooted in my community.”

Royal Oak resident Michael Schwartz voted at Royal Oak High School.

“I feel like the opposing candidates were just upset about the growth in Royal Oak and didn’t really propose any solutions, so I stuck with the incumbents because they actually said, ‘We want to do this, this and this over the next couple of years,’” said Schwartz.

Schwartz moved to Royal Oak four years ago from Madison Heights and said he likes the city “a lot,” but was surprised that, while he pays higher taxes, he also had to pay to replace his sidewalk and his street isn’t plowed “for a while” in the winter.

He said he felt there were a number of fronts on which the city could improve, and that the government could be more transparent with how money is spent.

Schwartz said he cast his vote for Fournier, Paruch, Morales and LeVasseur.

“(Morales) seemed new and she had some good ideas on keeping families safe,” he said. “I voted for LeVasseur for just more of the financial keeping tabs on things.”

Candidates wrote the following information in questionnaires returned to the Royal Oak Review: Fournier works in innovation, commercial and business development and has lived in Royal Oak for 17 years. Paruch is a retired environmental lawyer who has lived in Royal Oak for 44 years. DuBuc is the director of policy and advocacy for United Way for Southeastern Michigan and has lived in Royal Oak for 17 years. LeVasseur is a real estate attorney and has lived in Royal Oak for 31 years.

Results from all 16 voting precincts in Royal Oak were in by 10 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5. Polls were open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

To view more election results from Oakland County, visit www.oakgov.com.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.

Advertisement