5 Orion Township Candidates Focus on Bringing Businesses to Area
Terms for the Orion Township Board of Trustees are up Nov. 20.
A band of residents came together Thursday night at Oscars Bar & Grill in Orion Township, five of them announcing their intentions of running for Orion Township office in this year’s upcoming election.
The get-together was a re-election campaign kick-off for current Orion Township Trustee John Steimel, who announced he has hopes of being elected for his third term this year. Steimel, who views himself as fiscally conservative, thinks there needs to be some changes in township management and hopes to stick around to be a part of the positive changes he sees in the future.
“I really toyed with the idea of whether I wanted to do this again or not … but I started to meet some really good people here in the township and realized our work isn’t done yet and we really need to move forward,” Steimel said.
Steimel hopes to take small steps in the right direction, starting with restoring residents' faith in the township. He said he has a real problem with some of the things the township has committed money to and would like to see the Board of Trustees create better relationships with community organizations such as the Lake Orion Board of Education.
After Steimel’s short speech at the event, Orion Township resident Chris Barnett announced he is running for Orion Township Supervisor. Barnett believes Steimel's aspirations are similar to his own.
“John is a consistent fighter for all the residents of Orion,” Barnett said. “He looks at issues open mindedly; he is a level, clear thinker. He goes in with no personal agenda on every issue and really looks at what’s best for the community and I think that’s the most important thing in an elected official.”
Other residents announce their candidacies
Orion Township residents Donni Steele and Justin Yurgens also announced they hope to be elected as Trustees come November. Mark Thurber, who is running for Township Treasurer, spoke at Steimel’s party as well. All five candidates noted they are business minded and hope to spur business development in Orion Township.
Steele, who is a member of Orion Township’s Safety Path Advisory Committee, said she has a background in real estate and business and hopes her expertise in that area would be valuable in attracting companies to the area.
“I think that that’s what they really need to pay attention to is the business and the real estate of Orion Township and I believe that I can help in that department and that is why I am running – totally unpolitical,” Steele said.
Yurgens, 28, works as sales manager at Milosch's Palace Chrysler Jeep in Lake Orion. He grew up in the area, graduated from Lake Orion High School and after college found himself back in is hometown and is looking forward to getting more involved in the community.
“These guys are business-minded, that’s what got me involved,” Yurgens said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on that really shouldn’t be going on and the group I think is up and coming can play off each other and everybody can work together for one goal … bring the area back to what it was.”
Thurber has lived in Orion Township for eight years and works in the automotive industry. His wife, Carol, is a member of the township’s Planning Commission, but this is his first time he is working to get involved in the township’s government. For Thurber, 47, though he has some of the same aspirations as the other candidates, he said he thinks the country’s political climate is off balance and the best way for him to make a difference is to step in locally.
Furthermore, he noted that his deepest concerns lie with his children, and hopes to improve Orion Township so they will think it’s worthwhile to plant permanent roots in the area.
“We have three little ones and I’m doing it for them,” Thurber said. “I view Orion Township as God’s little acre. We really love this community … I want to make sure that this community turns out to be where my kids want to stay.”
Among the residents who came to support Steimel on Thursday night was Melissa Miller, Orion Township resident and Lake Orion Board of Education member.
“I think there is a lot of very talented, qualified, new people who are looking at what they can do and I am just thrilled to get to know them, understand them and be there to support them,” Miller said.
For more coverage of Steimel's kick-off party see: Chris Barnett Announces Candidacy for Orion Township Supervisor Position.