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Sun voters head to polls for primary

Southfield Sun | Published July 20, 2016

Readers in the Sun’s coverage area will head to the polls Aug. 2 to vote for candidates in the primary election. Following are profiles of the candidates who are running in contested races.

Candidates were asked, in 150 words or fewer, to state the top items they 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 their answer. (I) indicates that the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim.

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

L. Brooks Patterson (I)
Running unopposed

Vicki Barnett
Age: 61
Occupation: Consultant for Emerge America
Municipality of residence: Farmington Hills
For how long: 35 years (I have lived in Oakland County my entire life)
Online campaign information: Vicki Barnett for Oakland County
Education: MBA from University of Michigan Dearborn 1993; BGS from University of Michigan Dearborn 1981
Previously held elected offices: State Representative for the 37th District, 2009-2014, Mayor of Farmington Hills, 2003-2007, Farmington Hills City Council Member, 1995-2003
Top goals: 1) Economic Development (County has lost 16% of its jobs since 2007): Expand focus to include agriculture/urban farming technology; invest in job training; require “clawbacks” of corporate tax subsidies when promised jobs are not created; institute county purchasing guidelines to support women-, minority- and veteran-owned small businesses; support RTA so workers can get to jobs, and to encourage redevelopment around transit hubs and reduce pollution.
2) Poverty (County poverty rate is up 76% since 2005): Expand pre-school education; increase access to health care; improve support for Community Mental Health; invest in programs to end homelessness (average age of homeless person is 8!).
3) Infrastructure and Environment: Test drinking water in schools and child care centers for lead; enact “fix it first” policy for roads and bridges; ban deep injection fracking around county lakes and streams; institute inspection and repair schedule for all private underground transportation pipes.

Mark Allen Danowski
Age: 58
Occupation: Eligibility Specialist for State of Michigan DHHS
Municipality of residence: Rose Township
For how long: 18 years / 32 in Oakland County
Online campaign information: Mark Danowski for County Executive on Facebook
Education: Bachelor of Science in Earth Science and a double minor in History and Coastal Environments from Eastern Michigan University
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: My first priority is to revive our middle class through a series of initiatives that will help make Oakland County prominent in the renewable energy industries and create significant manufacturing jobs, the building of the “Small Towns” bike path will create jobs and welcome growth, and the new Regional Transit master plan will provide transportation to allow residents a way to get to and from employment.
My second priority is to reduce costs. This will be achieved by phasing in new county facilities that are self-sustaining smart buildings that use the latest technologies to make them incredibly energy efficient. The initial costs will be offset through energy savings, it will save taxpayers millions in the long run and stimulate job growth.
Lastly I will deal with environmental issues through EPIC a consortium that brings together college research teams and environmental engineers to develop new technologies to protect our natural resources.

Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds
Two 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.

Tina Louise Barton
Age: 44
Occupation: City Clerk for the City of Rochester Hills
Municipality of residence:  Springfield Township
For how long: 16 years
Online campaign information:  www.barton
Education: Master of Arts – Management and Leadership, Bachelor of Arts – Business Administration
Previously held elected offices: None, I’m appointed in my current role
Top goals: Protect the Integrity of Elections - New election equipment is in the process of being certified and considered by the Bureau of Elections.  The Clerks of each county will be selecting the equipment to be used in their county. I am the candidate with years of experience using election equipment and that understands the needs of Clerks, election workers, and communities. As your County Clerk, I will ensure that election laws are followed, voter rolls are secure, and election fraud prevention is a top priority.
Collaboration – I will engage citizens, attorneys, title companies, and employees in discussions about becoming more user-friendly and efficient. I will empower employees to be creative and innovative with solutions.
Fiscally Conservative – More with less is possible when you work smarter, not harder. I will leverage the technological resources Oakland County has to streamline processes and procedures.

Bill Bullard Jr.
Age: 72
Occupation: Consultant
Municipality of residence: Highland Township
For how long: 42 years
Online campaign information: www.bill
Education: B.A. University of Michigan; J.D. Detroit College of Law.
Previously held elected offices: Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds; County Commissioner (Chair of the County Commission six years); State Senator; State Representative; Highland Township Trustee & Supervisor
Top goals: I am the only candidate in the Republican Primary running for Oakland County Clerk/Register who has experience as Clerk/Register. I was a successful Clerk/Register who won six national service awards for new innovative programs. I want to accomplish as Clerk/Register 1.) More electronic transactions--e-filing and e-recording. These transactions are more convenient for the customers and save taxpayers dollars. 
2.) I implemented “Express Deeds” which allows a person recording a deed to walk out of the office in 3-4 minutes with a fully recorded document. I will re-install the streamlined electronic recording system I implemented.
3.) Increased outreach by scheduling more mobile offices and more visits to Farmer’s Markets. Any transaction that can be completed in the Pontiac office can be completed off site. The present Clerk did just a handful of mobile offices before a slight uptick in mobile offices this election year.

Lisa Brown (I)
Age: 49
Occupation: Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds
Municipality of residence: West Bloomfield
For how long: 25 years
Online campaign information:  Lisa
Education: B.S., Michigan State University; J.D., Detroit College of Law
Previously held elected offices: State Representative 2009-2012
Top goals: 1) I want to insure every citizen has access to the ballot. I have held voter registration drives around the county and will continue to do so. I have worked with the State’s Bureau of Elections and L. Brooks Patterson’s senior staff on the purchase of new voting equipment for Oakland County and will work with our municipal clerks to make our selection.
2) I will continue to fight fraud in the Register of Deeds office. I brought Super Index, a free searchable database, and Property Records Notification, a free alert system, the first of its kind in the country, earning an award from the National Association of Counties, to Oakland County.
3) To continue providing accessibility to services by more local office visits and Passport Days (office open on Saturday), and programs I pushed for, like eliminating the fee for Veterans cards, while continuing to cut expenditures.

Michael D. Smith
Age: 35 years old
Occupation: Current Deputy City Clerk for the City of Clawson – prior 6 years experience working at the Oakland County Clerks Office
Municipality of residence: White Lake Township
For how long: for over 35 years – except while attending GVSU for college
Education: Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Leadership & Diversity from Grand Valley State University in 2003. Master of Public Administration from Oakland University in 2008. Post Masters Certificate in Local Government Management from Oakland University in 2011.
Online campaign information:
Previously held elected offices: I was an elected School Board Member for the Walled Lake Consolidated School District from 2010-2013. I have been an elected Precinct Delegate as well since 2008.
Top goals: 1) Elections – I will advocate for no reason absentee voting, early voting, same day registration, and the continue efforts to fight for voters rights and the sanctity of open and secure elections. I will fight to create an Independent Redistricting Commission and to modernize our election equipment.
2) Outreach – I will create a culture that is open, fair, and one that listens to the people, both customers and employees, by reaching out through social media, education initiatives, satellite offices and local visits to increase communication and accessibility. I will push for the expansion of services online while also focusing on decreasing inline wait times.
3) Security – I will research the best practices across the nation to make sure our record keeping efforts are the most up to date, secure and user friendly that they can be to fight fraud and to allow for more transparency.

Oakland County Prosecuting Attorney
One candidate is running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination for one four-year term in November.

Mike Goetz
Running unopposed

Jessica R. Cooper (I)
Running unopposed

Oakland County Sheriff
One candidate is running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination for one four-year term in November.

Michael J. Bouchard (I)
Running unopposed

Craig S. Covey
Running unopposed

Oakland County Treasurer
One candidate is running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination for one four-year term in November.

John P. McCulloch
Running unopposed

Andy Meisner (I)
Running unopposed

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner
One candidate is running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination for one four-year term in November.

Robert E. Buxbaum
Running unopposed

Jim Nash (I)
Running unopposed

Oakland County Board of Commissioners District  17
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.

Regina Brim
Age: 66
Occupation: Retired Media Specialist/Teacher and Librarian
Municipality of residence: Lathrup Village
For how long: 30 years
Online campaign information: No answer given
Education: Bachelors in Music Education,  and teaching Social Sciences grades 7-12, Masters Degree from Wayne State Univ. in Libary and Information Science
Previously held elected offices: No answer given
Top goals: I am responsible for writing the resolution against Civil Asset Forfeiture, which passed in the Oakland County Republican Party Executive Committee, of which I am a member. This applied  pressure in Lansing to create needed reforms to our laws. I have worked  to get Term Limits in Lathrup Village city government and to pass a law in Lathrup Village requiring accountability from law enforcement and city officials, regarding Civil Asset Forfeiture.
I will continue to work on abolishing Civil Asset Forfeiture in Michigan, making it a criminal-not a civil offense, so that owners must first be proven guilty before their assets can be seized.
I will work to expose the far-reaching  tentacles of the Agenda 21 plans in our Oakland County communities.
I will work  to counter any further bail out schemes (such as the Great Lakes Regional Water Authority) which is responsible for increasing our water bills.

David A. Cuttner
Did not return questionnaire by press time.

Nancy Quarles (I)
Did not return questionnaire by press time.

Oakland County Board of Commissioners District 21
One candidate is running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination to compete for one two-year term in November.

Richard A. Van Camp
Running unopposed

Janet Jackson (I)
Running unopposed

State House of Representatives District 35
One candidate is running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination to compete for one two-year term in November.

Robert Brim
Running unopposed

Jeremy Moss (I)
Running unopposed

U.S. House of Representatives District 14
One candidate is running for the Republican nomination, and three candidates are running for the Democratic nomination to compete for one two-year term in November.

Howard Klausner
Did not return questionnaire by press time.

Brenda L. Lawrence (I)
Age:  61
Occupation: US Representative in Congress, MI-14
Municipality of residence: Southfield
For how long: 31 years
Online campaign information:
Education: Central Michigan University, Public Administration
Previously held elected offices: Mayor of Southfield, Southfield City Council, Southfield Schools Board of Trustees
Top goals: Sensible gun reform: I will continue to stand with my colleagues and demand action on common sense gun reforms.
Reinvestment in our nation’s infrastructure: I am working with my colleagues across the aisle as this is a national issue that has impactw everywhere, we cannot stand by and allow another Flint to happen.
Education: We must improve access and affordability to education that will lead directly into jobs. I will continue my work promoting the skilled trades and public/private partnerships with universities.

Terrance Morrison
Did not return questionnaire by press time.

Vanessa Moss
Age: 53
Occupation: Attorney
Municipality of Residence: Southfield
For how long: 23 years
Online campaign information:;
Education: Wayne State University B.A. 1987; University of Detroit School of Law Juris Doctor 1999
Previously held elected offices: Not applicable
Top goals: Greater employment opportunities, better education and increased safety are the top three things I wish to accomplish if elected. I would support legislation which would institute a living wage, strengthen job training and streamline our regulatory system. I would work to renew our commitment to quality public education, expand after school and summer programs, and renew our commitment to teacher funding. Additionally, I would fight to end the cradle-to-prison pipeline, improve public safety in our neighborhoods and work towards a more comprehensive approach to fighting crime.

46th District Court Judge
Six candidates are running for one six-year term.

Cynthia M. Arvant (I)
Age: 45              
Occupation: Judge of the 46th District Court
Municipality of residence: Beverly Hills
For how long: 12 years
Online campaign information:
Education: B.A., Michigan State University, 1992
J.D., Michigan State University College of Law (formerly Detroit College of Law), 1995
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals:
1. Serve my community in a just and compassionate manner, as I’ve done since taking the bench, by treating all who come before me with courtesy and respect, and by applying the law consistently and fairly.
2. Protect the public by fashioning appropriate sentences in criminal cases. I take into consideration the nature of the offense, the circumstances of the offender (including criminal, personal, educational, substance abuse and physical/mental health history) and the resources and programs I have available for the offender, with the goal of preventing recidivism.
3. Manage my docket in an efficient manner, by being prepared every day, taking the bench in a timely manner, and scheduling matters as expeditiously as possible, so that justice is not delayed.

Dorothy Dean
Age: 58
Occupation: Attorney at Law
Municipality of residence: Southfield
For how long: 21 years
Online campaign information: www.dean
Education: Juris Doctor
Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Bachelor of Arts
Michigan State University
Previously held elected offices: None 
Top goals: I will create an innovative Youth Crime Deterrent program to offer to area schools aimed at prevention of young adult crimes. I will implement this program by scheduling forums in schools to educate our youth about the most common crimes youth are charged with and show youth why they should respect the law. The program will require our youth to tour the strictest areas of juvenile detention facilities and Oakland County Jail before a crime is committed.
Additionally, I will promote electronic filing at the District court in order to provide more efficiency at the court. I will start with the civil docket at the District Court.
Finally, I will implement a program in the 46th District Court to accept felony pleas from Defendants who choose to accept responsibility for their actions, which would help to relieve the courts of some of the current congestion as well as provide overall (...)

Kameshia D. Gant
Age: 42
Occupation: Attorney in private practice and Consultant for Neighborhood Legal Services Michigan, Children’s Justice Center
Municipality of residence: City of Southfield
For how long: 16 yrs.
Online campaign information:
Education: Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Michigan and Juris Doctor Degree from Wayne State University Law School
Previously held elected offices: N/A
Top goals:
1. Reduce Recidivism: Having represented the disenfranchised for 10 years across the state as a Trial Attorney, I have the insight to recognize issues faced by the community and knowledge of community based programming to address the needs of the clients that the 46th District Court serves.
2. Program Development: I believe in education and providing access to programming over incarceration to reduce recidivism in the community when appropriate. I intend to utilize my unique experience working in different facets of the legal system to develop specialized programming at the 46th District Court that would better serve the public.
3. Youth Outreach: I am committed to educating youth regarding the legal system to deter them from criminal behavior and other legal issues. I will continue to devote my time mentoring youth, volunteering with programs and activities, and serving as an inspiration for the youth to make positive career choices.

Marc S. Herschfus
Age: No answer given
Occupation: Attorney and Physician
Residence: Southfield
How long: Most of my life
Online campaign information: No answer given
Education: Wayne State University - J.D. degree
Wayne State University - M.D. degree
Tufts University - D.M.D. degree
Wayne State University - B.A. Political Science and Biology
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: If I am elected judge: (1) All parties will receive respect from me and my staff, regardless of how many attorneys they have hired or whether they are representing themselves. We serve the public. (2) A party will prevail in a civil case depending on the law. In criminal cases, we need to be mindful that rehabilitation is usually a far better result for society. (3) No unnecessary adjournments. People have arranged for time off from work; they may have arranged for childcare; they may have paid experts that are present; they are often paying attorneys to be present; and there is the stress of being a litigant or witness. It is my responsibility to be prepared and make sure the docket moves efficiently.

Eman H. Jajonie-Daman
Age: 51
Occupation: Attorney/Magistrate of the 46th District Court
Municipality of residence: 46th, Franklin Village
For how long:  15 years
Online campaign information: www.daman
Education: Juris Doctor from University of Detroit Law School
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: I am running for judge because we need someone who can make a difference on the bench and because I can bring about the greatest positive impact in our court. My judicial philosophy is prevention of recidivism (repeat offender) over punishment; I advocate education over incarceration; I am the bridge which can link the youth to the business community and can open doors for job opportunities because I have access to over 942 employers throughout Southeast Michigan, and can expand on what I am already doing as a magistrate and will do so more effectively as a Judge. Furthermore, I will bridge the gap between public understanding and civic responsibilities to respect the law and be respected by the law. My compassion for equality, readiness to serve, social activism, vast legal experience on the bench and behind the bar has qualified me to be the best candidate and most unique.

Devlin K. Scarber
Age: 41
Occupation: Attorney and Counselor at Law
Municipality of residence: No answer given
For how long: 14 years
Online campaign information:
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Social Science – Law and Society, Michigan State University
Juris Doctor, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: Promote better interactions between the community and law enforcement: Conduct forums on police interactions. Provide guidance to males about police stops, conducting ourselves, and our rights. I too have been stopped unlawfully numerous times. I’ll address racial profiling and sentencing discrepancies.
Inspire children to pursue legal careers and expose them to the positives of court: Inspired into law by my grandmother’s battle to become the first African American teacher in Taylor Michigan School District, I will work with students to emphasize writing, analytical, and advocacy skills. I believe they will identify with me and be inspired.
Bring high level of practical experience to the bench:  There is a significant increase in complex civil and No-Fault insurance cases being filed. As an attorney recognized for obtaining some of this State’s most successful trial/court results in these areas, I will use my expertise in making these cases efficient and fair for (...)

The Oakland County Zoological Authority was established pursuant to Public Act 49 of 2008 and formed to allow for continuing zoological services for the students, residents and visitors of Oakland County. The law allows the Authority to seek authorization from the electors to levy a tax on real and personal property to provide revenue to an accredited zoological institution for this purpose. Accordingly, as a renewal of the previously approved millage authorization which expires with the 2017 tax levy, to continue providing zoological services to benefit the residents of the County, shall the 0.1 mill (10 cents per $1,000 of taxable value) on all of the taxable property located within the County continue to be imposed for a period of ten (10) years, being years 2018 through 2027? It is estimated that if approved and levied, this millage would generate approximately $5,609,562 in 2018. Shall this proposal be adopted?