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Woodward Talk voters to choose county, state candidates, decide proposals

Woodward Talk | Published July 20, 2016

In the Woodward Talk’s coverage area, voters Aug. 2 will choose the county, state and federal candidates who will square off in November. Residents of the Ferndale Public Schools district have a sinking fund millage proposal to consider, and the Ferndale Area District Library also has a millage proposal on the ballot. All Oakland County voters will be voting on a zoo millage renewal.

Candidates were asked, in 150 words or less, 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 their word limit, ( … ) replaced the rest of their answer. (I) indicates the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim.

U.S. House of Representatives District 9
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.

Republican
Christopher R. Morse
Running unopposed

Democrat
Sander Levin (I)
Running unopposed

State House of Representatives District 27
Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination for one two-year term in November.

Republican
Kyle Forrest
Did not respond to questionnaire by press time

Republican
Stefan Graziano 
Did not respond to questionnaire by press time

Democrat
Robert Wittenberg (I)
Running unopposed

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.

Republican
L. Brooks Patterson (I)
Running unopposed

Democrat
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.

Democrat
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 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.

Republican
Mike Goetz
Running unopposed

Democrat
Jessica R. Cooper (I)
Running unopposed

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.

Republican
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.bartonforcountyclerk.com
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.

Republican
Bill Bullard Jr.
Age: 72
Occupation: Consultant
Municipality of residence: Highland Township
For how long: 42 years
Online campaign information: www.billbullard.com
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.

Democrat
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
Brown4Michigan.com
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.

Democrat
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: www.smithforcountyclerk.com
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 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.

Republican
John P. McCulloch
Running unopposed

Democrat
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.

Republican
Robert E. Buxbaum
Running unopposed

Democrat
Jim Nash (I)
Running unopposed

Oakland County Board of Commissioners District 18
One candidate is running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination for one two-year term in November.

Republican
Steven Zimberg
Running unopposed

Democrat
Helaine Zack (I)
Running unopposed

Oakland County Board of Commissioners District 19
One candidate is running for the Republican nomination, and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination for one two-year term in November.

Republican
Michael Ryan
Running unopposed

Democrat
Dave Woodward (I)
Running unopposed
Oakland County Board of
Commissioners District 20
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.

Republican
David J. Harrell
Age: 53
Occupation: Automotive engineer and small business owner
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 22 years
Online campaign information: www.Da
vidHarrellforCommissioner.com
Education: B.S. Engineering Management
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals:
• Road Improvements
Our roads were neglected for many years and Oakland County has had to take on many repairs, but there is more to be done.  This will be a budgetary priority for me.  I will work to make Oakland County the leader in road building and maintenance technology.
• Eliminating Excess Spending
I will work tirelessly to prioritize our budget and prevent wasteful spending.  I will treat your (and my) tax dollars as if they were my own family budget.  I have not and will not vote for any tax increases.
• Attracting New Business
Oakland County is a great place for business with a highly talented work force.  I will help attract new businesses and increase the corporate tax base so we can give tax relief to the residents.

Republican
J. Karl Jackson
Did not return questionnaire by press time

Democrat
Gary McGillivray (I)
Running unopposed

Ferndale Public Schools sinking fund millage proposal
Shall the Ferndale Public Schools, County of Oakland, Michigan, be authorized to levy 1.30 mills ($1.30 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) to create a sinking fund for the construction or repair of school buildings, the improvement and development of sites and any other purpose permitted by law, by increasing the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property in the School District for a period of fifteen (15) years, being the years 2016 to 2030, inclusive? It is estimated that 1.30 mills ($1.30 per $1,000 of taxable valuation) would raise approximately $843,000 in the first year that it is levied.
(Under state law, sinking fund proceeds may not be used to pay teacher or administrator salaries.)

Ferndale Area District Library millage proposal
Shall the Ferndale Area District Library, County of Oakland, Michigan, be authorized to levy a new additional millage in an amount not to exceed 3.50 mills ($3.50 on each $1,000 of taxable value) against all taxable property within the Ferndale Area District Library district for a period of ten (10) years, 2017 to 2026, inclusive, for the purpose of providing funds for all district library purposes authorized by law? The estimate of the revenue the District Library will collect if the millage is approved and levied by the District Library in the 2017 calendar year is approximately $1,799,000. A portion of the revenue collected may be required to be distributed to the City of Ferndale Downtown Development Authority and the City of Ferndale Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

Oakland County Zoological Authority Renewal Millage
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?