Who Will You Be Voting For in the Upcoming Elections?
If your mind is already made up, tell us who should be elected as Orion Township supervisor and treasurer.
If you tuned into the candidates forum last week and heard what candidates running for seats on the Orion Township Board of Trustees had to say, you might already know who you will be voting for in the Aug. 7 primary election.
If so, respond to our polls and let us know who you think should be elected as Orion Township supervisor and treasurer.
Here's a brief recap of the candidates forum:
Thurber vs. Young
Resident Mark Thurber and current Treasurer Alice Young are both vying for the treasurer position and had lots to say about finances at the candidates forum.
At the forum, Thurber noted that his main motivation in running for office is to help preserve the area so that his three children will be able to enjoy Orion for years to come and hopefully raise their families in Orion. He noted he graduated from Oakland University, has a background in business management and currently works in the purchasing and finance department for General Motors. In his opening statement Thurber noted, “I’m not content to stand still and be complacent; improvement and accomplishment are part of my nature."
During the question and answer portion, Thurber noted if elected he would like to diversify resources more and look into other creative investments. He also said he would like to see a positive change in the township’s business district.
“I want to bring the best businesses to our township … I want to optimize our business district footprint,” Thurber said.
Young, who has been serving as treasurer for almost eight years, said she has experience with ‘everything from public accounting to local businesses’. She has a bachelors and masters degree from Wayne State University and is a certified public accountant.
“This job is about two things: experience and results and I have both," she said.
She takes an active role in the community serving on 10 boards including the Polly Ann Trail Commission, Paint Creek Trailways Commission and Senior Advisory Council. While serving the township she said in spite of a downtrodden economy she has earned almost $20 million in dividends and interest.
“With my fiscally conservative approach I have helped preserve and protect Orion’s assets for future generations,” she said.
Van Tassel vs. Barnett
Supervisor JoAnn Van Tassel and Chris Barnett, who is trying to unseat Van Tassel, were flooded with questions at the forum as well.
Barnett noted at the forum that he does not have a political background, but is an active community member. He currently is a member of the Orion Township planning commission, vice president of Lake Orion Optimist Club, is the PTO president at Lake Orion High School and is in active with Kensington Community Church. With 15 years of business management experience, after attending Oakland University, Barnett said he can handle running the township and has a good understanding of budgets.
Businesses development is key, he said, which would be the biggest undertaking on his agenda if he is elected this year. To convey the lack of new developments in Orion, he noted that there have been numerous planning commission meetings cancelled just within the last year. Community engagement and partnering with high school students for a youth and government program are things he would like to see at the township level as well.
“I really think it’s time for innovative leadership. We have an incredible story here to tell in Orion Township,” he said.
On the other hand, Van Tassel described her extensive experience leading both the township and Village of Lake Orion. She has served 13 years as a township supervisor, eight years as village manager and has served on a variety of boards locally. She is a member of the Orion Veterans Memorial, member of the Oakland County Business Finance Corporation, founding member of the Orion Art Center and serves on the Polly Ann Trail Management Council as well. She received a bachelors degree at the University of Alabama and has taken a variety of courses locally since.
Van Tassel noted she is pleased with the township’s current performance and said that there is new residential and business opportunities 'on the horizon'. Likewise, she said she is pleased she had the opportunity to help bring the Orion Center to the community.
“I think the future is bright for Orion and we are in a very sound fiscal state right now and we just need to continue it,” she said.
If re-elected she will continue to focus on ‘getting the maximum value for taxpayers dollars’, she said.
“I’ve enjoyed thoroughly working with people, being with people, helping them address the concerns that are most important to them,” Van Tassel said.
The primary election
Alaina Campbell, executive director of the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce reminded viewers watching the candidates forum that because all of the candidates running for election are Republican, it is imperative to vote in the primary election slated for Aug. 7.
“Because all of these candidates are running as republicans, this election will be decided on Aug. 7 so it’s very important that you vote in the primary and not wait for the general,” Campbell said.
Trustee candidates John Steimel, Neal Porter, Mike Flood and Donni Steele were limited to a two-minute introduction each at the forum because there are only four running for the four available trustee seats. Likewise, current Clerk Penny Shults who is running unopposed in the election was limited to two minutes as well.
Want to watch the candidates forum?
To watch the candidates forum visit www.orionontv.org and watch it on demand, or watch it on the government access channel (Comcast channel 20) at 9:30 p.m. any night this week.