ELECTIONS: Lake County commissioners face new challengers in August primary

Voters to decide who will represent their districts

Voters in Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties will have the opportunity to make their voices heard in several elections in 2022.

Voters in Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties will have the opportunity to make their voices heard in several elections in 2022.

Pioneer image/Ronald DeBrock

LAKE COUNTY — The August primary is fast approaching, and Lake County voters will be seeing some familiar names, as well as some new names on the ballot. 

The primary election provides voters the chance to select a candidate to be a political party’s nominee for a given office in the general election.

In the race for county board of commissioners, current commissioners Robert Sanders (R), District 1, Howard Lodholtz, District 2, Dawn Martin, District 4, Don Arquette, District 5 and Christine Balulis, District 6 are running unopposed.

In District 3, incumbent Betty Dermyer will not run for re-election. Three candidates, Kelly Weaver (D), Kristine Raymond (R)and Robert Snedeker (R), will be on the ballot for the seat. 

In District 7, current commissioner Len Todd (R) is being challenged by Clyde Welford (D).

The Star reached out to local candidates on the ballot, however, not all responded prior to publication.

STAR: Why did you decide to run for the county board of commissioners?

WEAVER: The simple answer is some residents in the county asked me to run. It’s something I’ve thought about doing, and I decided this year I would campaign for my district.

RAYMOND: I was asked by community members to consider running.  I am currently the Secretary of the Lake County Planning Commission, the Ellsworth Township representative on the Tax Review Board and I was formerly a Pine River School Board Member/President for 12 years while my daughters were in school.  I would like to continue to be a part of Lake County’s successes. 

TODD: When I watched the previous Commission meetings, I felt like there was a need to improve the questioning of financial matters. I am not shy about asking questions about topics that do not make sense or when I do not have all the information that I need to make the best decision for my constituents.

I have the local experience and a connection between Lake County and the Village of Baldwin. I would like to help improve the economic and environmental conditions in the County. The County Commission is the most-likely organization to impact the community positively.  

STAR: What do you feel are the most pressing issues in the county today?

WEAVER: Jobs providing a living wage are needed. The county still needs broadband internet. Prices continue to rise, and people are concerned about paying higher taxes. The prison is closing again in a couple of months. The county needs to provide services to residents without burdening the taxpayers.  

RAYMOND: My conversations with community members indicate that drugs and high speed internet are priorities.

TODD: Seventy-five percent of Lake County income depends on tourism. I believe that further developing the economy is vital to our community. If we do not grow our businesses, the community will not grow. We also need to take advantage of the resources we have and develop those, much like what has been done with the Baldwin Airport. We have an aging community, and we need to figure out the best ways to support our seniors. Consistent effective communications with our seniors about available services needs to be addressed. 

STAR: How will you tackle those issues if elected?

WEAVER: I will listen to my constituents when they ask for help and connect them with the right people in the county who can assist them. Maintaining the county budget and providing oversight to the county government will ensure residents get the help they need.  

RAYMOND: When faced with a new situation or opportunity, my approach is to listen, observe and learn before making decisions.  I prefer to base my decisions on facts, rather than opinion.  

TODD: To capitalize on the synergy that can occur when various local groups collaborate, we need better coordination and communications between all the local organizations that promote and support local events and group activities. I believe a tourist bureau that serves the entire county, vs. one village, is a key step to making an economic improvement.

I proposed to the County Commission that we allocate some American Rescue Plan Act money to developing a large multiuse building that could house multiple needed services, such as the Lake Co. Tourist Bureau, a general aviation flight school and aviation services, among others. Without such vision, the community will never grow. Without growth, the community will continue to remain stagnant.

I also intend to spread the ideas I have and learn more innovative ideas at the many regional meetings that I currently attend. I am taking on new challenges as they surface. I am always looking for funding and grant opportunities for Lake County. This helps the municipalities and townships identify potential funding opportunities. 

STAR: Why should the people vote for you?

WEAVER: As a career educator, I work as part of a team to recognize issues and find solutions. My work as a freelance writer requires me to maintain my schedule, meet deadlines, and keep track of clients. I have served on executive boards for various organizations, including the Lake County Planning Commission. I am a candidate who understands holding office is about ethics, integrity, and honesty.

RAYMOND: I have a degree in Business Management, was employed in management with a Reed City employer for almost 30 years and on the school board for 12 years. I have a strong financial background, including preparing budgets, profit and loss statements and involvement in contract negotiations. I believe that differences of opinion can be healthy and refreshing and that everyone should be treated with respect.

I have a strong work ethic, am an honest, fair and trustworthy person, and I feel my dedication to our community and Lake County, along with my experience supports that. I was raised in Reed City, have lived in Luther with my husband in our family farmhouse for over 36 years and raised our children here.  I look forward to the opportunity to represent Lake County.

TODD: I have managed projects with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars. I also had to work in a highly regulated environment. The skills related to this occupation have applicability in today’s highly regulated and complex social environment. I have served as a Village of Baldwin Trustee and Village President. This gave me regulatory and leadership experience in a municipal environment. I am a retired Major, US Army and have leadership, infantry, aviation, intelligence, operations, and personnel experience.

I bring critical business and leadership experience to the Lake County Commission’s table. I look out for all my constituents. I am not afraid to address sensitive issues regardless of political consequences. I am on the current commission to make sure the commissioners are asking the right questions, making the best decisions, and looking out for the best interest of the public.

For more information on polling locations or to view a ballot, contact your local clerk's office or visit michigan.gov/elections.