August 18, 2019

Voters to narrow down the field with Aug. primary


OSCODA COUNTY — Across the state the political pools will narrow as voters cast their ballots in the primary elections Aug. 7, including the residents of Oscoda County as they decide the fate of several millages and those running for county commissioner.

On the statewide side of the ballot voters will begin with their selection for their party’s gubernatorial candidate. Running for the office are Republicans Brian Calley, Patrick Colbeck, Jim Hines and Bill Schuette; Democrats Abdul El-Sayed, Shri Thanedar and Gretchen Whitmer; and Libertarians Bill Gelineau and John J. Tatar.

U.S. Senate candidates for the Republican party are John James and Sandy Pensler and incumbent Debbie Stabenow for the Democratic party.
Republican Jack Bergman is the only candidate running for U.S. Congress in District 1.

Running for state Senate is incumbent Republican Jim Stamas and Democrat Joe Weir.

Incumbent State Rep. Triston Cole, Republican, is challenged by Democrat Melissa Fruge.

At the county level many voters will experience a heavily contested race for the county commissioner positions at the primary election polls.

All of the county commissioner seats across the state are up for election, and in Oscoda County four out of the five districts are contested and District 4 will see a new face with only one person filing for its spot.

In District 1, Commissioner Larry Wilson has filed for re-election. Wilson is challenged by current Oscoda County Sheriff Department Sgt. Chuck Varner, who previously told the Herald he would retire if he is elected.

Two new faces will be on the District 2 ballot with no incumbent because current Commissioner Jack Kischnick chose not to run for the seat.Filing for the position is Greenwood Township residents Tom McCauley and Annette Chalmers.

In District 3, Commissioner Patrick Kelly will be challenged by Big Creek Township resident Jackie Bondar.

Only one person filed by the April 24 deadline in District 4, with Comins Township resident and newcomer Kyle Yoder being the only name on the ballot. Current Commissioner Wayne Nutt did not file for re-election for his seat.

The heaviest contention will be in District 5 with three Mentor Township residents challenging Commissioner and Chairperson LaNita Olsen. Running against incumbent Olsen are Peggy Nietiedt, Libby Marsh and Dale Neff.

George Kerschenheiter is the only person who filed for the Mentor Township trustee position up for election, and Tom Siegler is the only person who filed for the road commission board position.

Five millages will appear on the August ballot countywide, two of which are related to the Oscoda County EMS, one for the sheriff’s department and one veterans affairs millage. One additional millage will appear on the ballots for residents in the West Branch-Rose City Area School District.

The first EMS millage is an operation millage, which is asking for 1.5 mills for four years for the purpose of operational funding. The estimated revenue from the millage, if approved, is $586,816 in the first year. The second EMS millage is an equipment millage, which is asking for 0.25 mill for four years for the purpose of acquiring and maintaining vehicles, equipment and inventory. This millage is estimated to generate approximately $98,000 in its first year, if approved.

The Oscoda County Sheriff Equipment millage is also for .25 mills over four years. The first year the millage is estimated to bring in $97,802. This millage would provide funds for the acquiring and maintaining of vehicles, equipment and inventory for use by the sheriff’s department.

The Oscoda County Veterans Affairs Office is asking the voters to support its millage of 0.3333 mill for four years for the purpose of funding its operational costs and providing support and assistance to the veterans in the county. This millage is estimated to generate $130,390 in its first year, if approved.

The final millage is the West Branch-Rose City Area Schools Sinking Fund Proposal. It asks for 1 mill over five years. The sinking fund could be used to pay for school security improvements, to acquire or upgrade school technology, construct new or repair current school buildings, purchase land to house new school buildings, and any other purpose authorized by law. If approved, the millage would raise an estimated $700,000.

Editor’s Note: The Oscoda County Herald inadvertently omitted the sheriff’s millage from the election preview story. This is an update to the story that ran in print.


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