Bill Holt won an open seat on the Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education Tuesday, defeating Angela Nasso. The vote was 7,560 for Holt to 6,713 for Nasso.
Both were running for office for the first time. Holt will take the seat being vacated by board President Mary Jo Burchart, who did not run for re-election. Turnout was 73.27 percent.
Holt is president of the Greater Oakland Republican Club. “I’ve been involved in politics since I was in high school,” he said. “There were no surprises in that respect. It’s exciting to have it over. And now we move on to governing.”
Nasso, who has four young children, said the campaign “was a lot of hard work. It’s a lot different than I thought it would be. … But it’s been fun.”
Former school-board trustee Bob Gritzinger, who spent some time at a precinct Tuesday on Nasso’s behalf, said the majority of voters he spoke to had no idea who the school-board candidates were. He blamed that on the switch of the election to November, when it has to compete for attention with many other candidates and issues.
Holt owns Tubular Products Company, an Auburn Hills-based automotive supplier, and C&H Commercial Properties. During the campaign, he said he is not critical of the current board or superintendent, but feels education is severely challenged right now.
“If we’re going to be the best, we need to set some high standards,” he said in an earlier interview. “At the same time we’re going to make schools better, we have some very tough financial choices.”
Despite a last-minute decision by incumbent Oakland Township Supervisor Joan Fogler to run as a write-in candidate against Terry Gonser, who beat her in August, Gonser won handily with 97 percent of the vote.
Gonser said he’s ready to get started on the priorities he outlined during the primary campaign: greater transparency, professionalism and ethics.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I had an excellent reception when I went door to door. …
“Oakland Township government hasn’t changed in decades. I think it got to a point where a lot of people felt it wasn’t responsive to them.”
In other local races, incumbent Republicans ruled the night. State Rep. Brad Jacobsen beat Democratic challenger Daniel Sargent by a 63-36 percent margin. County Commissioner Michael Gingell beat Democrat Jeff Vaught by a similar margin.