3 compete for GOP 66th state House nomination
By ANDREW LERSTEN
For the Tribune
PAW PAW — There are primary challenges for both Democrat and Republican nominations for the 66th House seat.
Rep. Aric Nesbitt can't seek a new term due to state term limits.
The three GOP candidates are Beth Griffin, Greg Kolich and Matthew Nilson.
The winner will face the Democratic candidate, who will be either Annie Brown or Dylan Kerley.
The district covers all of Van Buren County and a small part of western Kalamazoo County.
This article takes a closer look at the three GOP hopefuls.
Griffin, 49, is vice chair of the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners. She has been on the county board for four years.
Before being elected to the county board, she taught sixth-grade special education and eighth-grade English in Parchment.
She and her husband, Gregory, have two children and live in Mattawan.
"I am running for state representative because I have a passion for serving my community," she said. "I am seeing the concern for the future direction of Michigan. I am confident we can address this concern and together leave for our kids and grandchildren a better Michigan."
She said her top goals if elected will be keeping taxes low, supporting businesses and improving collaborations between local and state government.
"I believe it is very important to speak truths based on sound fiscal principles and family values, and make difficult decisions rooted in American values and common sense.
"I am community minded and service oriented. I'm ready to take that next step: I'm ready to represent the 66th district. I want to focus on common sense ideas."
"I'm not taking anything for granted, but I am encouraged by the positive messages I'm getting in talking to residents. My slogan is 'Together for a Better Michigan.' I chose that because as a teacher I'm used to working with a lot of people and getting the job done."
Kolich, 60, is a machinist with PRAB Inc., Kalamazoo.
He earned a bachelor's degree in vocational and industrial education from Western Michigan University. He is a retired sergeant with the Michigan Army National Guard, and a former Kalamazoo Rod and Gun Cub board member.
He and his wife, Linda, live in Cooper Township, Kalamazoo County.
"I'm 100 percent pro-life. 100 percent pro-family and 100 percent pro-gun," he said. "No other candidates make that claim."
Regarding the right of a person to use a gun for personal defense, Kolich said, "We need to make sure we have legislators that will defend that right 100 percent, unconditionally. It's one of those non-negotiable things. We have so many politicians who think the Constitution is flexible."
Kolich said he has been running a low-profile campaign and the odds are against him winning.
"It's been fascinating, especially all the people I meet. The campaign is an after-work effort. It's going very slowly. But I give the voters a choice."
Nilson, 45, is business development director for Golden Plain Farms in Hartford and a U.S. Army veteran. He had 20 years of active duty in the Army and was lieutenant colonel and a Green Beret. He earned a master of business administration degree from the University of North Carolina.
He had numerous leadership roles in the Army, including counter-terrorism liaison for the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India. He was commander of several detachments in Iraq, and served as a platoon leader and commander in Bosnia.
He and his wife, Jodi, have a boy and a girl and live in Hartford Township.
He is making his first bid for a public office.
"I'm very happy about how well my military career went. I really understand how governments work, and how bureaucracies work. I've worked with foreign governments and I've worked with my own government," he said.
"I have more governmental experience than any of the other candidates. I'm homegrown. I want to help everyone out."
4 square off for GOP nomination for Van Buren sheriff
By ANDREW LERSTEN
For the Tribune
PAW PAW — Four Republican candidates are vying for their party's nomination for Van Buren County Sheriff. Sheriff Dale Gribler is not seeking a new term.
The GOP candidates are Daniel Abbott, Phil Oretsky, David Walker and Jim Worthington. The primary winner will face Democrat Robert Overhuel of South Haven in November.
Here's a closer look at the four Republican candidates:
Abbott, 47, is a sheriff's sergeant with 23 years of service with the sheriff's office. He started as a corrections officer, and became a road deputy in 1995. In 1997, he was named Deputy of the Year.
In 2011, he was promoted to sergeant, putting him in command of all road deputies working on his shifts. He also helped start up the office's Field Training Officer program.
He is a 1987 Bangor High School graduate and earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Ferris State University in 1992.
He and his wife, Tracy, have three children and live in Bangor.
"Over the years I've watched the department. I know it inside and out. I work with the public on a daily basis, and I've lived in the county my whole life," Abbott said.
Abbott said he wants to continue to move the sheriff's office "in a positive direction, with honesty and integrity."
He also said that as sheriff, he would continue good working relationships with other police agencies, emergency service providers, the prosecutor's office, county board of commissioners and the public.
Oretsky, 65, is a retired FBI agent, and teaches criminal justice courses at the College of DuPage and Oakton Community College, both in the Chicago suburbs. He also briefly operated a private detective agency in Chicago after retiring from the FBI in 2006.
As an FBI agent, he worked in a number of places, including Alaska, Chicago and Miami, and helped out on some notorious criminal investigations including the Green River Killer and the Unabomber cases.
As sheriff, he said he would bring several new ideas and approaches to the sheriff's office. He would push for great drug education programs, ensure integrity problems do not occur in the sheriff's office, and strengthen personnel training programs.
"There will be no favoritism in the department if I'm sheriff," he said. "I will restore a full measure of trust and confidence to the sheriff's department through an adherence to a code of honor and integrity. I will also strive to maintain a close working relationship at all times with our county commissioners."
Walker, 48, has 25 years of police experience, mostly with the sheriff's office. He became a sergeant in 2003, and was promoted to operations lieutenant in 2014.
He is a former Bloomingdale village police chief, and also formerly worked for the Paw Paw Police Department. He earned an applied science degree from Kalamazoo Valley Community College 1991.
He has two children and lives in Lawrence.
"Serving as a leader in the police community, I know the importance of community involvement in promoting a healthy relationship between law enforcement and those we serve," Walker said.
"It is my plan to have an open door policy and look forward to working hand in hand with (the citizens)."
Worthington, 55, is a state parole and probation officer, having worked in Van Buren County for 20 years in that position.
Before that, he served 17 years in active duty in the U.S. Army, in military police duties, and his last position was provost marshall - which he describes as the military equivalent of a sheriff, leading regional military police.
He earned an associate degree in general studies from Columbia College in Missouri, and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Western Michigan University.
He and his wife, Becky, raised three children and live in Gobles.
"I have senior leadership experience. I've been a leader in my entire military, and my background is all in law enforcement," he said.
He continued: "I'm a people person. I like the people and the community. I know the law enforcement side of it and the executive side of it. I would put more professionalism into the sheriff's department. Integrity is a big thing for me. I want to be transparent with the community."
South Haven, Bangor resident seek Democratic nomination for 66th House
By ANDREW LERSTEN
For the Tribune
PAW PAW — Democrats in the 66th House District Tuesday will decide which of two candidates will advance to face the Republican nomination in November.
Annie Brown of South Haven and Dylan Kerley of Bangor Township are seeking the party's nomination.
Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, can't seek a new term due to state term limits.
The winner will go on to face one of the three Republican candidates in November: Beth Griffin, Greg Kolich or Matt Nilson.
Brown, 55, ran unsuccessfully against Nesbitt in the November 2014 election. In that election, Nesbitt defeated Brown 15,754-11,646.
She is a long-time South Haven school board member and a former board president.
But she's no stranger to state politics.
In the mid-1980s, Brown was an assistant to U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and later in that decade was a writer for Michigan Speaker of the House Lewis Dodak. She is also a former editor of the South Haven Tribune.
She earned a bachelor's degree in political science, with a minor in English, from Hope College.
She and her husband, Jeff Filbrandt, own Filbrandt Family Funeral Home in South Haven and have raised three children.
She promises that if elected, she will be responsive to the district's citizens and work tirelessly on their behalf - not special interest groups.
"Voters deserve a candidate who listens to them, regardless of their income or background; who works tirelessly for their priorities, and answers to them - not to lobbyists or the DeVos family," she said. "Voters deserve a candidate who shows up, will listen to voters and will do their homework."
Boosting funding for education and veterans' services are among her priorities. Other top priorities include fixing roads, improving schools and creating more good-paying jobs, she said.
"In addition, I will be a fighter for our senior citizens and a strong advocate for better mental health services."
She also pledges to work on a bipartisan basis in Lansing.
"When Republicans and Democrats work together, Michigan thrives. Partisan bickering only divides us," she said.
Kerley, 22, is a former Wendy's restaurant manager. He lives in Bangor Township.
He said he left his job to not only make his first bid for public office, but also to attend college.
He said he plans to enroll with Central Michigan University and take online courses, pursuing a degree in political science, starting in the winter.
"I am an average, everyday guy who is trying to make a difference," he said. "Michigan faces an unemployment crisis and a deteriorating infrastructure.
"I know the struggle of having to find a job in towns where there are constantly places going out of business. I know the struggle of having to live in an apartment and not being able to pay this month's rent, due to making so little income. I know what it is like to decide whether you are going to pay for your car to get to work, or pay for decent food this month. I know what it is like to live on a budget.
"I want to fight for you and your family, not for people who seek to manipulate me for their own private gain."
80th District incumbent faces challenge
By ANDREW LERSTEN
For the Tribune
ALLEGAN — 80th State House Rep. Mary Whiteford faces a Republican primary challenge from Abigail Nobel Tuesday.
The winner will face Democrat John Andrysiak of Martin in the November general election. The district serves most of Allegan County.
Whiteford, 51, has been state representative since March.
She is a former pediatric nurse, with a current license, and earned a bacheler's degree in nursing. She and her husband own a financial planning firm in South Haven, Whiteford Wealth Management Inc. She's vice chairwoman of the Allegan County Republican Party, and founded the Allegan County Republican Women's Club. She is also a former South Haven Downtown Development Authority board member.
She and her husband, Kevin, raised three children and live in Casco Township.
"I believe in lower taxes, less government and more freedom. I know that limited government, individual responsibility and economic freedom results in more jobs, more opportunities and hope for a brighter future. I will also support our right to life and will defend our Constitution and second amendment rights."
Nobel, 48, is a self-employed nurse who is making her first bid for public office.
However, she has been active in the Allegan County Republican Party, and has been a frequent delegate and alternate delegate for the state GOP conventions on behalf of the county party. She has also worked as a poll worker in Salem Township.
She earned a bachelor's degree from Calvin College, and a master's degree in political philosophy from Hillsdale College. She formerly worked at Holland Hospital, Borgess-Pipp Hospital in Plainwell, and Spectrum Health. She is also a former teacher for Grand Valley State University and Davenport University. She is single and lives in Dorr.
Nobel explained why she wants to be the next district representative.
"I will support sound budgets and market oriented reforms, especially in the key areas of energy, health care, roads, welfare and education," Nobel said.
"These will be the most important state issues over the next two years. I believe Reagan was right in saying government does not know how to spend people's money better than they do."
Three hope to become Seventh District Court judge
By ANDREW LERSTEN
For the Tribune
PAW PAW — Van Buren County voters Aug. 2 will whittle down the nonpartisan field of Seventh District Court judge candidates from three to two, who will the proceed to the November general election.
The eventual winning candidate will succeed Judge Robert Hentchel, who decided not to seek a new six-year term.
The three candidates are Nichole Dunfield Hameed, Cirilo Martinez and Mike McKay.
Here's a closer look at the candidates, in alphabetical order:
Dunfield Hameed, 39, is a self-employed lawyer in Paw Paw. She holds a bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University in criminal justice and comparative religion. She earned her law degree from Thomas W. Cooley Law School in Lansing in 2001, with a concentration in trial law. She was a law clerk with the 36th Circuit Court in Van Buren County for two years before starting up her own law office in 2003.
She and her husband, Shafeeq, have two daughters and live in Paw Paw. She is a past president of the Van Buren County Bar Association.
"I have a unique perspective, having worked in this county so long," she said. "I have practiced in every courtroom in the county. I've had numerous trials, from general civil trials all the way up to murder trials. I like helping people and I could be a very good judge because I've seen it (the process) from every angle."
"I believe being successful is seeing my clients' rights being protected and making sure that they feel they are getting a fair chance in the system," she said.
Martinez, 42, is a self-employed lawyer whose office is in Kalamazoo.
He earned a bachelor's degree in American culture and Spanish from the University of Michigan in 1996, and earned his law degree from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in 2000. He started his law practice in 2003, and is a past chairman of the Kalamazoo County Trial Lawyers Association.
He and his wife, Carissa, have two children and live in Antwerp Township.
"Because of my experience in civil and criminal litigation, I would be an asset to the court," Martinez said.
"I do promise that I will provide impartial, equal justice to all who appear before me. All will be treated with civility, respect, dignity and honor. Upholding the integrity of the justice system will be my duty," he said.
He added his philosophy is "working together has the potential to bring out the best in people."
McKay, 44, has been an assistant prosecutor in Van Buren County for four years, and was an assistant Berrien County assistant prosecutor for less than a year before that.
He earned his law degree from Michigan State University's College of Law in 2011. He was previously a state police trooper for 10 years, assigned to the South Haven post.
He and his wife, Tiara, have three children and live in Antwerp Township.
"My experience with both the state police and the prosecutor's office gives me a perspective you can't get from anywhere else," McKay said.
If elected, McKay said he will carry on the same tradition of fairness and knowledge exhibited by Judge Hentchel.
"I've had the benefit of being in front of Judge Hentchel, both as a trooper and a prosecutor," he said. "I've benefited a lot from his opinions."
Meanwhile, county Probate Judge David Distefano faces no challenges in seeking a new term this year.
Covert Twp. voters have many decisions to make in Tuesday's primary election
By ANDREW LERSTEN
For the Tribune
COVERT — Covert Township voters will have many decisions to make in the voting booth Tuesday, where they will settle contested races for supervisor, clerk and trustee seats.
Supervisor Barbara Rose is being challenged by Clerk Dennis Palgen. They are both Democrats.
For clerk, there's a two-way primary race between Democrats Daywi Cook and Isaiah Young, and three Democrats are challenging Democrat Trustee Kenneth Harrington in the primary. They are Dawn Alspaugh, Amy Muenchow and Lonzey Taylor. The top two vote-getters will face incumbent Republican Trustee Gaetano Peter DeRosa in November.
In the supervisor's race, Rose, 68, has been supervisor for eight years. She is a former state economic development specialist. She is also a former board chairwoman of the Covert Museum. She and her husband, Geoffrey, have four children between them and live at 28161 76th St.
"There are projects that aren't finished, and I'm not a quitter,” Rose said. “We need to do some things that are going to be able to create jobs. I'd like to create a business incubator. We need to make opportunities available for residents. Economic development is a priority, but it's not just business - it's the whole community. It's increasing the quality of life. I believe in doing my homework. I feel an obligation to give back. Covert is a priority for me."
Palgen, 74, has been township clerk for 16 years. He is a former Mutual of Omaha general manager, and has lived in the township since 1989. He organized a group that is developing a new veterans memorial in Covert. He and his wife, Pauline, raised seven children and live at 74618 48th Ave.
"My campaign is to work for the people in Covert Township," he said. "I'd like to continue to serve this community, but in the capacity as supervisor. My main goal is, how can we improve the quality of life for the people we serve? For me, the main thing is working with people. Everybody who walks into the office, we treat people as VIPs."
As supervisor, he said he will also work to lower township fees to help attract new businesses.
In the clerk's race, Cook, 31, has been deputy township treasurer since March 2013. She is also chairwoman of the township Park Committee. She and her husband, Jonathon, have one son and live at 35876 M-140.
She said her experience with the township, along with her prior experience in the private sector, will help make her a good clerk.
"I have a reputation for being a creative problem solver and forward thinker, both traits that come in handy when planning and executing a project," she said. "I will continue to try and create a community where I can be proud to raise my children."
Young, 40, lives at 76255 CR 378. Additional information was not available.
In the trustee race, Alspaugh, 51, serves on the township Board of Review. She is a secretary and equipment operator for Jack's Excavating and Trucking, Covert. She is single and lives at 72516 48th Ave.
"I want something better for our township," she said. "I want to make a difference for the people. I can also bring a lot of experience from the construction business."
Harrington, 53, has been a township trustee for eight years. He is a Michigan Department of Corrections fugitive investigator. He is divorced, raised three children and lives at 44153 80th St.
"I enjoy serving the citizens. My experience, dedication and continued leadership make me a great choice. I have very good interpersonal skills. I work well and effectively with others and believe team work enhances overall success," he said.
Muenchow, 41, serves on the township Planning Commission. She is a health care instructor with Lake Michigan College. She is divorced, has one daughter, and lives on 30th Avenue.
"From dealing with the Planning Commission, I have experience in what the people of Covert Township want. I am forward thinking. I want to get involved in my community and try to make Covert the best possible place."
Taylor, 58, serves on the township Planning Commission and Park Committee. He is an mechanical maintenance lead employee at the Palisades nuclear power plant, and also a Michigan Blueberry Growers Association quality inspector. He is also a township firefighter, and has coached football and wrestling at Covert High School.
He and his wife, Pamela, raised three children and live at 75033 30th
"My objective is to bring a fresh set of eyes, and a fresh set of ideas, to help revitalize Covert again. I feel I am attuned to the people, and I know what the needs are."
Treasurer Marilyn Rendell, Democrat, is unopposed.
VB road levy renewal, conservation district proposal on August ballot
By ANDREW LERSTEN
For the Tribune
PAW PAW — Van Buren County voters will consider renewing the county's long-running road levy and approving a new levy for the county Conservation District during the Aug. 2 primary election.
The 0.976-mill road levy would be renewed for five years, and would generate an estimated $3.093 million annually for county Road Commission road work.
The new one-tenth mill levy for the Conservation District would be for 10 years and bring in about $300,000 a year.
Regarding the road levy, Engineer-Manager Larry Hummel said it has been in place for 38 years.
Just under half of the tax money is used by the road commission to maintain and upgrade the county roads, Hummel said. Most of the money is used to leverage much larger state and federal grants, as county matching funds, he explained.
Even with the county levy and the grants, it's an ongoing struggle to maintain and improve the county roads, he said.
"If the millage isn't there, we'd be asking, 'are we going to do any work out there or not?'" he said.
Another $880,000 a year goes to the 18 townships, $610,000 goes to the county's cities and villages, and about $200,000 a year is set aside to help fix or replace bridges, Hummel said.
Hummel said several citizens have asked him why the county levy is still needed, given that the state has approved a package of laws designed to generate $1.2 billion in new road funds.
The answer is that the new laws don't go into effect until next year, and then will be phased in over four years, he said.
A.J. Brucks, executive director of the Conservation District, said the new tax will allow the district to stabilize its annual funding and continue or expand many of its programs, including the water quality monitoring program and recycling program.
Currently the district relies mainly on grants for its funding, in addition to some smaller revenues from fundraisers and farm equipment rentals, Brucks said.
"The problem with grants is that they come to an end," Brucks said. "We really want to continue our current programs and strengthen and grow a handful of them," she said.
Area township board elections set for Tuesday's primary
By ANDREW LERSTEN
For the Tribune
Here's a look at township elections in Van Buren County that will take place during the Aug. 2 primary
Arlington Township voters will decide a 2-mill road renewal Tuesday.
The four-year levy will raise $111,776 in its first year for road repairs and maintenance.
Meanwhile, longtime Trustee Martha Bregger is not seeking a new term, and Jeff Melvin is unopposed in replacing her.
Other unopposed candidates are Supervisor Jacque Phillippe, Clerk William R. Pugsley, Treasurer Phillip Pitts and Trustee Douglas DeLeo. They are all Republicans.
Melvin is a Democrat.
Bangor Township voters Tuesday will settle a three-way race for the two trustee terms.
Treasurer Dave Houdek, Republican, is challenging Republican trustees James Karr and Chad Simpson for the trustee terms.
Houdek, 77, has been treasurer for 21 years. He and his wife, Nila, raised two children and live at 26314 68th St.
Karr, 61, has been a trustee for 16 years. He lives at 36545 69th St.
Simpson, 35, lives at 46300 CR 687. He's been on the board since 2011.
There are no other contested races in the township Tuesday.
Republican Mike Sullins and Democrat Gary Householder are vying for the supervisor's term. They will face each other in November. Supervisor Cindra Bishop is not seeking a new term.
Clerk Linda Poland, Republican, is unopposed in seeking a new term. Republican Sandra Karr is unopposed for treasurer.
Voters will decide a 3.8764-mill road renewal Tuesday.
The four-year levy will raise $339,100 in its first year for road repairs and maintenance.
There will be contested races this year for township supervisor and trustees.
Supervisor James Lisowski has filed for a new term, as an independent candidate. He's being challenged by Republican Richard Stone, but that contest won't be addressed until the November election because Lisowski is not affiliated with a party.
A three-way Republican race for the two available trustee seats will be settled in the August primary election. Trustees William Cain and Bernie Miller are being challenged by Glenn F. Nordbrock.
Clerk Linda Stange and Treasurer Jerry Sommerfeld are unopposed. The are both Republicans.
Columbia Township voters will settle a two-way race for treasurer Tuesday.
Two Republicans are vying for the position. They are Kristen Bus and Karen Gruss, who is the deputy treasurer. Treasurer Kathy Curtis, Republican, is not seeking a new treasurer term. Instead, she will be a trustee candidate in November.
Bus, 25, is a former bookkeeper. She and her husband, Jonathan, have two children and live at 17180 CR 215.
"I'm a lifelong township resident, and I just really wanted to be able to help out in some way and be part of the community," Bus said.
"Certain things need improvement, especially with the budget and the taxpayer money and where it's going. I did some bookkeeping work for a maintenance business, and I do all my finances for myself."
Gruss, 57, has been deputy treasurer since May. She is a retired project manager for Miller-Davis, Kalamazoo. She and her husband, Gary, raised one son and live at 08164 54-1/2 St.
"I have decades of office experience, including accounting and bookkeeping functions," she said. "I am very detail-oriented and civic-minded. I am trustworthy, dedicated, efficient and am willing to listen and research before leaping to a conclusion. I do not approach this with a political agenda, but with a call to serve."
Clerk Stacey Corke, Republican, will be challenged in November by Democrat Ada Lepore.
Supervisor Larry Burgett has chosen not to seek a new term, but in November two candidates not affiliated with a party will vie for that position. They are former supervisor Dean Beckwith and Linda Norton.
Trustee John Huizenga, Republican, and Trustee Rosemary Hurley, Democrat, will be challenged by Curtis in November.
Geneva Township is getting a new treasurer this year.
Treasurer Sandra Capps is not seeking a new term, and Republican Deborah Diekema filed for her position.
Unopposed candidates are Supervisor Nancy Whaley, Clerk Bridgette Gumpert, and Trustees Clare Olney and David Orr. They are all Republicans.
South Haven Township
South Haven Township voters will decide a quarter-mill levy for purchase and maintenance of recreational property.
The four-year levy will raise $36,000 in its first year.
South Haven Township will get a new trustee this year, as Trustee Mel Jessup has decided not to seek a new term. He's running for District 1 county commissioner this year.
Unopposed for new terms are Supervisor Ross Stein, Clerk Brenda Bertorelli, Treasurer Hillary Fisher, and Trustees Mike DeGrandchamp, Paul Kiry and David Wiatrowski. Maureen Lewandowski also filed for the other available trustee seat.
All are Republicans except Bertorelli, who is a Democrat.
Lee Twp. road millage up for renewal, Tuesday
PULLMAN — Lee Township voters will be asked this week to renew a millage to repair local roads.
The three-year, 2-mil renewal will be on the ballot in Tuesday's primary election.
Two other road millage issues have been passed in the township — each for 2 mils for three years — one in 2010 and the other in 2013. The millage raises $100,000 for road improvements, annually.
“Because of the township citizens' support, the township has been able to chip seal 12.75 miles of township paved roads,” said Chuck Pugh, a member of the township's road committee. “There are 10 miles of paved roads left in need of chip seal. With the cost of $28,000 per mile for chip seal, approximately three miles can be done each year. With the citizens support the township will be able to complete the chip-seal project.”
ELECTION ENDORSEMENT LETTERS
Griffin wants your vote
To the editor,
My name is Beth Griffin, and I am running for State Representative in the 66th District. I am asking for your vote in the Republican primary on August 2.
Many years ago when my children were very small, I began to serve families and seniors in need of food assistance through my church. This intentional commitment to being connected and serving in my community has only grown since then, and I continue to lead and serve today as a food pantry volunteer, guest teacher, Mattawan Lion, school volunteer, and elected county commissioner. My motivation was the same then as it is now: I want to contribute positively to my community, and teach my children by example how to do the same.
As an American, in a sometimes crazy world, like you, I ask myself what one person can do to work for “good.” To me, it is simple: everything I can, for as long as I can. I will work tirelessly for this district to fight to keep taxes low, to support our job creators and help them be successful, and to promote better communication between levels of government. Not for me, but for my children, and for you and your families and grandparents too.
In summary, I ask for your vote on August 2 in the Republican primary. I thank you for your support.
Nilson's parents endorse their son's candidacy
To the editor,
As proud parents, we can still make sound judgements based on the evidence.
During election years, and even in-between election cycles we hear these statements. "Why don't we have better candidates running for office?" "Why don't the candidates talk issues instead of giving us sound bites?" "My vote doesn't count because the system is rigged?"
But this year the citizens of the 66th District of the Michigan State House of Representatives do have an answer to these questions. It is Matthew T. Nilson.
Matthew is the best candidate. He is highly educated, and to our knowledge, he is the only candidate with the worldwide experience that is so vital in this age of the global economy. He has no need for a learning curve. He can get straight to work helping Michigan and the district secure new markets for our products. This will result in the creation of jobs for Michigan. Matt is the only candidate who understands and has worked with foreign bureaucies and the largest bureaucracy in the United States o get things done. That bureaucracy is he Department of Defense.
Politicians talk in sound bites, not Matthew. On his Facebook and website pages, Matt presents real proposals to solve real problems. But he'll be the first to admit he doesn't have all the answers. This makes him open to ideas from others. He wants to serve the citizens of the 66th District, not the special interest groups.
Finally, we are not expressing support for any candidate other than our son, but why do people feel the system is rigged? Are we going to continue having the best government money can buy? Ask this question of all the candidates, including local ones. "What did you have to promise to get that special interest endorsement, and will you represent me or the special interests? Remember, politicians will tell you what you want to hear. Leaders tell you what you need to hear. Vote for Matthew T. Nilson, a proven leader, and our son.
Barry and Karen Nilson
Nilson best candidate for 66th District
To the editor,
My wife and I will be supporting Matthew T. Nilson for the 66th District Representative. Matthew is experienced in education, agriculture, military defense, organization and diplomacy.
As a youth Matthew attended Hartford Public Schools, was a guard on a championship football team, ran track, and placed second in his weight class at the state level in wrestling. He also played in the band, performed in plays and graduated in the top en in his class. His record propelled him into West Point, where over 40,000 students apply and only 1,440 were accepted.
Leaving West Point as a second lieutenant, he served our country for 21 years. In Iraq he commanded troops in combat, in the Philippines he would help reduce rebel rebellions, and in India he was a strong leader working with the Indian government and our diplomatic corps to create a positive climate for resolving political issues. Matthew's career has proven he can walk the walk with real positive results.
During high school Matthew worked summers on the Kuenhle Farms, gaining valuable experience about farming. After twenty-one years in the military he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel and returned home to Van Buren County to work in the agriculture business as Director of Market Development for Golden Plains Farm.
Matthew is the real thing. He understands education. As a youth he watched his mother, a teacher, correct student papers in the evening. He listened to his father, a Hartford School Board member, helping to solve financial and educational issues, while remembering that the schools belong to the people of the community. In his military career serving as a leader in the Special Forces (Green Beret), Matthew earned two master degrees. His military career enhanced his leadership skills while working with diverse groups of people. He demonstrated the ability to diagnose problems and recognize people's different viewpoints, and bring them together to solve problems.
Matthew's education, military career, working in agriculture, in diplomacy and organizational skills, qualify him to be the person we need in Lansing representing the people of the 66th District and the State of Michigan.
Matthew is no paper tiger endorsed by lobby groups who will be expecting favors. Instead his endorsements come from his twenty-one years of service to our country, his accountability in the work for his employer, and his dedication to his family and community.
My wife, Betty and I will be voting for Matthew T. Nilson for the 66th District State Representative.
Nilson, Abbott, McKay best candidates
To the editor,
Please vote for Matthew T. Nilson for State Representative, Aug. 2. Nilson graduated from West Point and has served his country and has great leadership experience. He understands the needs for state fiscal responsibilities, the need to restore our infrastructure, and to improve our current educational structure. He is the person that we all would be proud of in Lansing as our state representative.
We have a good Van Buren County Sheriff's department but why not make it even better? We have that opportunity to do that by voting for Dan Abbott. Abbott has experience, integrity, and honesty to move the department forward. Strong leadership will be needed in our future. Abbott is the man to make the needs of the future happen.
A vote for Mike McKay for 7th District Court judge is a vote for a person that will represent all the people of Van Buren County. Mike McKay believes in justice for all. He has represented our county in over 5,000 criminal cases and he is our strong choice.