A full slate of county commissioners races face voters in Montmorency County during this year's primary election. Three districts have contested Republican races.
District 1 has two people running unopposed in the primary. Current Commissioner Albert LaFleche, a Democrat, will face Republican Dawn Lawrence in November.
"I decided to run again because I'm hoping to see different people there to help get stuff straightened out. We need to get the county back on track, as far as I'm concerned we're way off track," LaFleche said.
LaFleche said if re-elected, he would continue doing the best he can with what he has to work with, but opponent Lawrence said her 27 years of experience in finances, accounting, and as a board member for the Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency would be useful tools while working as a county commissioner.
"I will work to ensure that our citizen concerns are fulfilled and that the state and federal requirements of our county operations run smoothly," Lawrence said.
A pair of Republicans will face each other in District 2, current Commissioner Brock Baggett and first-time candidate Rick Ferguson.
Montmorency County Board of Commissioners races
- District 1
- District 2
- District 3
- District 4
- District 5
"We still need to move forward with openness and accountability on the board. I just don't think the job's done, but we're moving forward and morale is going up," Baggett said. "In the future I'd like to expand sheriff coverage and work on a retirement plan. I'm strong enough to take the bullets and make decisions for the good of the county."
Ferguson said the direction the county is going right now will lead to troubles, which is why he decided to run for the first time in this election.
"I want to find out more about how the courthouse operates and see the board work smarter instead of harder. It's time to get things done promptly while working for the people," Ferguson said.
Three Republicans are running in District 3 - current Commissioner Daryl Peterson, Everett Swift, who has has experience working with financial and administrative issues on a nonprofit board for the past four years, and Oscar Wicks, first-time political candidate.
"I'm running again because I like to help the public, and the county needs my assistance in financial planning. I've been involved in different levels of government for a long time and have been very successful," Peterson said. "I want to keep the county on a strong financial stable budget, add more personnel on road patrol, and to have people step up and help in various capacities. Right now the county is very unstable, I'm worried about the future and if they can afford liabilities."
Swift said he decided to run again after people approached him and asked him to run, and because he does not like where local government is headed.
"If you want a change, be a part of it. I would like to see a financially stable county and find ways to bring people into the area while creating more jobs. We need less micromanagers in the courthouse by the commissioners," Swift said.
Wicks said he decided to run in this election because people from his community asked him to be a candidate, especially because he is retired and could devote time to the position.
"A lot can be done for this county, especially for Hillman, and I'd enjoy doing it. I want to ask serious questions that need to be asked. I'd like to see the county become solvent and have tax dollars go to where it needs to be going," Wicks said. "I'm not a yes man, but I will stand up for people. I don't owe anyone political favors, I'm honest and I have honor."
District 4 also has two Republicans seeking the seat, current Commissioner Margaret D'Agostino and Gene Thorton, who filled a vacant commissioners seat and served on the board for two years, was an Albert Township supervisor, and served 16 years on a township board and worked for the Michigan Township Association.
"I enjoy serving the people of our county, right now our budget is in the black and we gave up benefits to serve on this board," D'Agostino said. "I'm interested in more law enforcement and making sure the elderly get what they need from MCCOA. I'm not in it for the money, I'm here to serve the people. When I sit here I think about them, this is their seat and I always want to do what's best."
Thorton said his years of experience and degree in finance will help with major issues that the board currently is facing.
"I think they have major budget problems, they didn't properly adopt the budget this year and it should be looked at least once every quarter. It's time to manage how funds are coming in and being spent," Thorton said. "A lot of procedures and board meetings could be a lot more organized too."
Stacy Carroll is running unopposed in District 5.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5687.