Voters choose incumbent, new faces for Madison Heights City Council

Three votes separate candidates for final spot

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 5, 2019

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Shutterstock photo

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MADISON HEIGHTS — One of two incumbents who ran for reelection will retain their seat on the Madison Heights City Council, and will be accompanied by two newcomers, according to unofficial results from the general election Nov. 5.

There were five candidates running for three four-year terms. According to the unofficial results from the Oakland County Clerk’s Office at press time, Emily Rohrbach, a newcomer, came in first at 25.15% (3,009 votes), followed by incumbent Robert Corbett at 23.75% (2,842 votes) and newcomer Kymm Clark at 19.37% (2,317 votes).

Coming up short in the race was incumbent Bob Gettings at 19.34% (2,314 votes), a mere three votes behind Clark. Newcomer Sean Fleming finished at 12.01% (1,437 votes). There were also 45 unassigned write-ins accounting for 0.38% of the vote, none of which were rejected.

Rohrbach, 41, works in campaign management and consulting. She has lived in the city of Madison Heights for 15 years. She is the mother of three young children, and focused her campaign on preserving and restoring the city’s parks and green spaces, investing in neighborhoods by way of public safety and code enforcement, and growing the city by attracting new residents and businesses. She could not be reached for comment by press time.       

Corbett, 64, is a real estate broker at Century 21 Campbell Realty. He has lived in the city his entire life. He helped eliminate the co-pays for Advanced Life Services, and he plans to continue improving services for senior citizens. He also believes that maintaining locally controlled fire and police services is critically important. In addition, he has pushed for enhanced handicapped-accessible playground equipment in the city’s parks.

“This will be my sixth four-year term,” Corbett said. “I’m grateful for the continued confidence of the community. And certainly I will attempt to represent them in a fiscally responsible manner.

“Congratulations to my two fellow new members, Emily and Kymm,” he added. “They’re going to, I’m sure, bring a great deal of energy to the position, and they will be fun to work with.”

Clark, 39, is a designer and fabricator at Clark’s Fabrication and Design. She has lived in the city for eight years. She ran on a campaign of filling business vacancies, growing small businesses and attracting entrepreneurs to Madison Heights, which she believes will bring prosperity and growth benefiting all residents.

Clark said she was elated by her narrow third-place victory. She said that she ran a “completely untraditional campaign” that relied heavily on social media rather than door-to-door canvassing and campaign literature. She also feels that her campaign benefited from her visibility at public events, such as her involvement in the #oneatatime Community Response Team that she helped start to assist the homeless in the city.     

“I’ve been involved with the city for years, ever since my husband and I started our business, so we didn’t want to take energy away from the things we were doing, and I had to find a way to run for council without sacrificing those things,” Clark said. “Going forward, you’re probably going to see me putting together networking events to help connect small business owners and entrepreneurs with building owners in the city. I also feel there’s more that the city could do in terms of purchasing vacant properties to maybe create shared work spaces for these smaller office-type businesses, and to start making revenue off of that. I’m still doing my homework (on the subject). … I think that while what I’d like to do is unprecedented in many ways, I don’t think it’s impossible.”

Gettings, 67, a retired recreation coordinator for the city of Madison Heights, has been a resident for 50 years. He once served on the Madison District Public Schools Board of Education, following which he joined the Madison Heights City Council from 2009 to 2013, and again from 2015 to the present. He has advocated for recreational programming and public safety services.

Fleming, 48, is a military veteran who works in telecommunications and has lived in town for 22 years. During his campaign, he raised concerns about both the city’s aggressive push for marijuana businesses and the tax hike that was presented by Proposal MH. He said that he wants the city to pursue community development grants for improving traffic intersections and crosswalks, as well as for a road lane reduction trial in the downtown district. He also sought a 2% local tax on hotel and marijuana sales to help pay for police and fire services.

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