Voters to decide school boards, authority assessment and millage proposal

Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 27, 2016

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In the Eastsider’s coverage area, voters will decide three school board races, two county commissioner races, the Regional Transit Authority assessment and an Eastpointe library millage proposal, among other races, on Nov. 8. 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 the answer. (I) indicates that the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim except where material is omitted due to personal attacks or items we know to be false or that are blatant misrepresentations.

State House of Representatives District 18
Two candidates are running for one two-year term.

Republican
Renata Polonaise
Age: No answer given
Occupation: Self-employed and small business owner for the past 25 years
Municipality of residence: St. Clair Shores
For how long: since 2005
Online campaign information: No answer given
Education: Bachelor of Science from UDM and now in MDA program
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: I have decided to run for a political office because I don’t want to sit on the side lines and watch this great country being destroyed by the current and corrupt political system. And now, while I am running for the office, I see firsthand the corruption that is going on. Think about how many decades Lansing and other local politicians and interest groups have been talking about the roads and schools. And what do we have to show for it? We need a real change!
I will bring the best minds to work with me and others to solve our problems. And there are so many: old pipes, failing schools, terrible roads, and endangered lakes, just to name a few.
There are other issues that are very important but always forgotten that I will be a champion for:
-lower taxes for the Seniors
-support for the nursing homes; they (...)

Democrat
Kevin Hertel
Age: 31
Occupation: Analyst, Blue Cross Blue Shield of MI
Municipality of residence: St. Clair Shores
For how long: 7 years
Online campaign
information: www.HertelforHouse.com
Education: Attended Michigan State University
Previously held elected
offices: None
Top goals: 1. Creating a Michigan economy that works for everyone, not just wealthy special interests in Lansing
2. Properly fund our public education system so that our children and teachers have the resources to be successful. 
3. Return revenue sharing to our community to fund EMS, police and fire services and improve our roads and infrastructure.
Together, we will create a Michigan economy that works for everyone by making large corporations pay their fair share in Michigan. It was not right to give the wealthiest corporations a $1.6 billion tax break while working families are asked to pay more. I want to be your voice in Lansing to fight for fairness and to ensure our community has clean water, safe roads and strong public schools.

State House of Representatives District 22
Three candidates are running for one two-year term.

Republican 
Jeff Bonnell
Age: 55
Occupation: Retired Military
Municipality of residence: Roseville
For how long: 50 years
Online campaign information: www.Bon
nell2016.com
Education: MCCC, 24 years of military schools, courses, seminars and certifications
Previously held elected offices: 9th Congressional District Delegate (R) 2014 -2016,
9th Congressional District Delegate (R) 2016-2018 *2nd term*
Top goals: The greatest accomplishment your representative can do is to bring in high paying jobs to our community and have our neighbors gainfully employed.  This will provide financial stability for our families and improve our quality of life. We pay too much in taxes and millages and they’re asking for MORE.  Lansing needs to stop treating us like personnel bank accounts they can make withdrawals from every time they overspend. Common-sense budgeting.
End special interest, lobbyist, corporate sponsored mandates on where and how to spend OUR money. Stop the kick-backs, special campaign donations and pay-to-play policies. Remove the corruption and abuse of OUR money.  Every dollar THEY have was taken from US; from OUR budgets and families.  WE need more control over how it’s used and where it’s spent.  Remove the “players” from the welfare rolls and redirect those funds BACK to our seniors, veterans and tax payers. Jail officials caught (…)

Democrat
John G. Chirkun (I)
Age: 64
Occupation: Current State Representative, 22nd District; former Mayor of Roseville; retired Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy (29 years)
Municipality of residence: Roseville
For how long: 35 years
Online campaign information: www.JohnChirkun.com
Education: Attended Macomb Community College and Highland Park Community College. Graduated from the Wayne County Police Academy in 1979 and the State Police Instructor’s School in 1984. Also served in the United States Air Force from 1971-1977.
Previously held elected offices: Roseville City Council, November 1995-January 2009; Roseville Mayor, January 2009-December 2014; State Representative, January 2015-present
Top goals: Improving the Economy: Strengthen economic development efforts and crafting a fairer tax structure that promotes entrepreneurship and creates good paying jobs; review existing tax incentives; repealing Right to Work and pension tax; restoring the EITC and Homestead Property Tax exemptions to put money back into people’s pockets.
Investing in Public Education: Investing in our future, from preschool to public universities/community colleges by ending the raiding of the School Aid budget and reprioritizing existing funding to reflect priorities; finding a sustainable and fair funding model for education.
Keeping Our Communities Safe: Restoring revenue sharing dollars to local communities to fund police, fire, and EMS services; financing sewer/water improvements to protect our water and Great Lakes; implementing a fair road funding plan that actually fixes roads; preventing dangerous felons from being released back into the community; providing sufficient funding for proven crime reduction approaches such as mental health/substance abuse counseling and enforcement.

U.S. Taxpayers
Les Townsend
Did not return questionnaire by press time.

Macomb County Board of Commissioners District 3
Two candidates are running for one two-year term.

Republican
Ryan Hurd
Did not return questionnaire by press time.

Democrat
Veronica Klinefelt (I)
Age: 52
Occupation: County Commissioner
Municipality of residence: Eastpointe
For how long: 23 years
Online campaign information: No answer given
Education: Bachelor of Science from Wayne State University majoring in Criminal Justice.
Previously held elected offices: Eastpointe City Council (Mayor-Protem) 8 years. East Detroit School Board 6 years
Top goals: Helping seniors stay in their homes with home chore programs is a priority for me. This program increases quality of life but it also cuts down on government costs in other areas so we all see the benefit.
The most important focus is always the health of the budget. Getting into financial trouble always results in cuts in services that the residents have come to expect. I voted against the elected official pay increases because I know that we cannot give similar size raises to employees and we should lead by example.
I am thankful to the voters for passing the Veteran’s millage. There has been an increase in the need for services for those who have served in multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is rewarding to know that we are helping veterans achieve new job skills so that they can find meaningful work with decent pay.

Macomb County Boardcof Commissioners District 11
Two candidates are running for one two-year term.

Republican
Mark Henry
Did not return questionnaire by press time.

Democrat
Kathy Tocco (I)
Age: 52
Occupation: Attorney and Macomb County Commissioner
Municipality of residence: Fraser
For how long: 28 years
Online campaign information: No answer given
Education: Cousino Sr. High School, Warren, MI; University of Detroit, Detroit, MI; Detroit College of Law, Detroit, MI  
Previously held elected offices: Macomb County Commissioner, January, 2007 until present.
I previously represented Fraser and Clinton Township.  I currently represent Fraser and Roseville.
Top goals: 1. To improve the current system of oversight and checks and balances relative to the county’s finances, with a goal of maintaining a healthy general fund balance to ensure the county’s future financial stability.
2. To continue participation in the decision making and oversight relative to rebuilding the aging infrastructure. An updated infrastructure is vital to the continuation of much needed services, particularly for senior citizens, veterans and the mentally ill.  In addition, an updated infrastructure is necessary to maintain safe communities, a clean water supply and safe roads.
3. To focus on county road repair and the establishment of a regional transportation system which includes and benefits the residents of Macomb County.

Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds
Two candidates are running for one four-year term.

Republican
Karen A. Spranger
Age: 64
Occupation: Organizational Environmental Consultant
Municipality of residence: Warren, Michigan
For how long: All my life
Online campaign information: http://www.karen4macombclerk.com
Education: Ascension Catholic School, Warren Lincoln High School, vocational training at Van Dyke Public Schools.
Previously held elected
offices: None
Top goals: The top three things I will accomplish as Macomb County Clerk and Register of Deeds is 1)  Implement advanced website technology to provide extensive educational outreach to all customers. 2) Aggressively pursue any reported election fraud affecting the integrity of our voting processes while eliminating real estate fraud, and 3) Unite by seminars our cities, villages, and townships (CVTs) Clerks to address their obligations under the State of Michigan statutes.
After years as a citizen advocate participating in public meetings, I ran for the Office of Mayor of Warren in 2015. I am very involved with people, processes, and paperwork. I will promote these County offices to be inclusionary for everyone. Online education and simple document checklists will increase revenue sources. As your elected county-wide official custodian of records, Karen A. Spranger will provide responsive, efficient, transparent and ethical government services to the residents of Macomb County.

Democrat
Fred Miller
Age: 43
Occupation: Macomb County Commissioner
Municipality of residence: Mount Clemens
For how long: 18 years
Online campaign information: www.thefredmillerspot.com
Education: BA of Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy from James Madison College at Michigan State University
Previously held elected offices: Macomb County Commissioner 2011 to present; State Representative 2005 to 2010
Top goals: My priorities as Clerk/ RoD would include creation of the “Senior Advocate” position to better meet the needs of our aging population, proactive outreach to new county residents to welcome and include them in Macomb County, and standing up against further efforts to erode voting rights. I will push the entire department to place older customers at the center of our thinking and reform the office to better serve the needs of older citizens, including doing outreach to places seniors live and socialize. Newer residents are similarly important. Again, proactive outreach to update voter registration as well as familiarize new residents with available services will help make the Clerk’s Office an important “welcome wagon” for new residents. Lastly, Carmella Sabaugh has been an outspoken advocate for voting rights and if I am honored to serve as Macomb County Clerk, I will be similarly outspoken both locally and in Lansing.

Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney
Two candidates are running for one four-year term.

Republican
Michael R. Wrathell
Age: 55
Occupation: Attorney/Artist
Municipality of residence: Sterling Heights
For how long: Off and on since 1969
Online campaign information:
https://twitter.com/Mike_Wrathell
Education: Sterling Heights High School, University of Michigan, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
Previously held elected offices: Precinct Delegate, State Delegate (both in Macomb County)
Top goals: The first thing I’d like to do is make sure all the unconstitutional provisions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the assistant prosecutors and the County are rescinded. Everyone is America has the right to run for office. Fundamental rights like freedom of speech cannot be bargained away. The current CBA is grotesque. 
I will advocate making justice even better in Michigan — making the criminal laws tougher on serious crimes like dealing heroin, meth and cocaine, being a predator on the elderly, women and children, and lighter on matters that shouldn’t even be criminal, like marijuana possession by adults.
Additionally, some past convictions in Macomb County were the result of intimidated witnesses and other disturbing unethical events. Only the truly guilty should be locked up. Having a high conviction rate is only a good thing if you don’t throw innocent people in jail.

Democrat
Eric J. Smith (I)
Age: 50
Occupation: Macomb County Prosecutor
Municipality of residence: Macomb
For how long: No answer given
Online campaign information: No answer given
Education: Chippewa Valley High School
Central Michigan University
Detroit College of Law
Previously held elected offices: Macomb County Prosecutor; first elected in 2004
Top goals: As your prosecutor, I established the Senior Protection Unit to stop and punish criminals who prey upon our county’s elderly. The Senior Protection Unit has prosecuted over ninety-five hundred cases, with a 100% conviction rate. We have returned over a million dollars to seniors who were scammed. We also canvass the county to teach seniors what to look out for and what steps to take when they are approached by thieves and con artists. Dedication to education and prevention is central to our mission.
Additionally, our families are under threat from the heroin epidemic. My office works hard with drug coalitions including Families Against Narcotics and schools across the county to meet this challenge head-on. We have instituted drug courts, seeking more effective treatment programs. We collaborate with parents, police, treatment officers, and educators to drive a wedge between our kids and drugs. Maintaining this vigilance is the key.

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