ALPENA - If you ask almost anyone who works for Alpena County or currently sits on the board of commissioners, they will tell you the race for treasurer is the most important issue on the ballot. Republican Keith Maskell is running unopposed in the primary election on Tuesday and is assured a spot on November's general election ballot, but there is a primary race for the Democrats -sort of.
Two Democratic candidates for the treasurer position, which will be vacant due to the retirement of Joelyn McCallum, filed the needed paperwork to run for the office. Kim Ludlow and Chris Corwin were set to see who faces Maskell, but shortly after meeting the deadline Crowin contacted Alpena County Clerk Bonnie Friedrich to see if he could remove his name from contention. Friedrich said the deadline to do so had passed and his name would have to remain on. She said she has not heard from Corwin since and doesn't know where he stands in terms of wanting the position.
"He called and asked if he could withdraw, and I told him he was too late and he would have to remain on the ballot," Friedrich said. "There was really nothing he could have done; at that point it was too late."
Corwin's opponent on the other hand has been using vacation time from work to attend county finance committee meetings as well as board of commissioner meetings. She said she never would have run against McCallum because of the great job she has done for such a long time, but when McCallum announced her retirement at the end of the year, Ludlow said she decided to run for the vacant position.
She said she and her husband Dan have been small business owners for years, and she keeps current on the county's finances. She said more importantly, she understands what challenges lie ahead for the county. She said if elected, she will work hard to show the voters they made the right choice.
"I believe if you're going to do something, don't do it halfway. I believe in putting in the work and educating yourself and moving forward," Ludlow said. "I'm always open to learning more. I don't think we ever stop learning. It is something I want to do, and I know I'll be good at it. It is the type of position I would enjoy, and it's diversified and it's very detailed. You need someone who is going to be dedicated, who will put in the time and effort, and I'm willing to do that."
Ludlow said she has been in contact with McCallum and even spent some time in the office. She said McCallum has been very helpful in answering questions and understands she has big shoes to fill if she wins Tuesday and again in November.
"I spent a couple of hours with her last week, and we have went over details about some of the different duties the treasurer holds. We also went over some of the processes she has in place," Ludlow said. "She has made some good recommendations, and I'll be going to the tax sale in August and just doing things to get a feel for what the position entails. She has been very open to help and answered questions and helping me to get going in the right direction."
Ludlow said there are challenges facing the county, particularly with the changes of personnel taking place. She said she will rely on the experience from senior members on the board of commissioners for guidance and support.
Numerous calls were made and messages left to Corwin to allow him to clarify his position, but he didn't return any calls.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.