I am running as part of a three-person team of Livingston County residents that call ourselves Fair Vote Livingston. The clerk, prosecutor, and treasurer, along with the county chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties, comprise the committee that will draw new lines for county commission districts early in 2021 after the results of the 2020 census are released.
In Livingston County, 54% of voters backed 2018’s Proposal 2 initiative, which set new rules for drawing districts for congressional and legislative districts rather than allowing politicians to draw the lines for their own districts. But that measure failed to address the unfairness of the county redistricting process. That’s why we must carry on the spirit of Proposal 2 by making sure that the same principles of fairness are applied at the county level and that the unfairness of the districts created a decade ago is not repeated in 2021.
What clearly separates us from our opponents is that we are promising to propose and support the following resolution at the first meeting of the reapportionment committee:
The Livingston County Reapportionment Committee shall abide by MCL 46.404(e), by pledging not to adopt a map that keeps fewer townships whole and has a larger population variance than any other map submitted to the Committee.
Having the Committee pass this resolution before the Census numbers are released will create a fair process so that whatever map best meets the objective criteria shall be the map adopted. Our Fair Vote Livingston team pledges to fight for the County to adopt only a districting plan that follows state law regarding population variance and keeping townships in the same district, regardless of the impact on their own party.
As treasurer, I will be a better watchdog for taxpayers. I will hold quarterly public sessions at which I will show budget and actual figures for major County programs, and answer questions about them. In the past, I’ve had to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to be able to see County data that should be available to everyone.
If I had been Treasurer in 2018, I would have let county commissioners know when my FOIA request revealed that veterans millage funds were not being spent according to the plan promised to voters. The Veterans Millage takes in nearly $1.1 million each year, but only about half of this money is being spent providing services to our veterans. It’s appalling to me that our supposedly anti-tax Republicans have, year after year, taken tax money but failed to provide the services those taxes were supposed to pay for. Even Tea Party anti-tax crusader Commissioner Wes Nakagiri – who proposed to save money by having Meals on Wheels serve jail food to our seniors to save money – hasn’t had a thing to say about the veterans millage scam. (By the way, a member of the Veterans Services Committee is married to the current County Clerk.)
I will also bring better and more transparent oversight of the county’s Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund, which currently has $45 million, some of which could and should be used to accelerate road repairs and to fund other urgent needs, including services for seniors. I’ll push to set up payment plans for taxpayers who are behind on their taxes, as is encouraged by the “Pay as You Stay” program recently signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
I’m an economist with a specialty in the Michigan and Midwest economies and their industries. I got a masters from the University of Michigan in 1972 and a Ph.D from the University of Massachusetts in 1976. Starting late that year, I spent eight years in the UAW Research Department as an analyst and negotiator. From 1984 to 2012, I worked with hundreds of smaller manufacturers as vice president and chief financial officer of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Plymouth.
My family and I have deep roots in our county. I’ve lived in Hamburg Township for 34 years. My children Nick and Anna graduated from Pinckney Community High School. My wife of 35 years, Janet, founded and ran the Livingston Family Center and its Connection Youth Services program. I’m active in my neighborhood home-owners association, and chair its Rules and Bylaws committees
And straight up: I am a Democrat. In fact, I’m currently is vice-chair for strategy of the Livingston County Democratic Party and an elected precinct delegate. There was a time when well-meaning people could align with either party. I hope that will be true again some day. But right now, my sense of right and wrong give me no choice but to run as a Democrat. Indeed, we are asking people to vote straight Democratic in November. Republicans have controlled the County for two generations, and Lansing for a decade. The result: crumbling roads, underfunded schools, poisoned lakes, tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, not enough services for our seniors. Turning that around must start with kicking out the politicians that got us into this mess.
Copyright © 2020 Fair Vote Livingston - All Rights Reserved.
Paid for by Jordan Genso for County Clerk. 1628 Woodlake Cir, Brighton MI 48116
Paid for by Dan Luria for County Treasurer. 6210 Cowell Rd, Brighton MI 48116
Paid for by The Committee to Elect Ragan Lake. 7402 Cowell Rd, Brighton MI 4116
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