Michigan Primary 2022 Candidate Guide: Oakland County Board of Commissioners

Get to know the candidates running for the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.

Michigan Primary Election Candidate Guide 2022

To view the 2022 midterm Oakland County Board of Commissioners race, click here

Editor’s note: WDET distributed candidate surveys to candidates in contested primary races. See a list below of all the candidates for county offices below and read some of the platforms and bios of candidates who responded to our survey requests.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

To see what’s on your ballot, click here.

Last year, Oakland County officials approved a new plan that set new boundaries for county commission districts, reducing the amount of districts from 21 to 19. That means many incumbents are running in new districts. There are also many challengers vying for a seat on the restructured commission, several who cited the commission’s vote to spend $3 million for the establishment of the U.S. Center for Advanced Manufacturing Hub for North America as a motivating factor.

Meet the candidates running for a seat on the commission in the Aug. 2 primary.

County Commissioner – 1st District

Dave Woodward, Democrat

Did Not Respond

Chris Meister, Republican

Oakland County Board of Commissioners candidate Chris MeisterAge: 65

Current job: Retired

Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, Central Michigan University

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I have a diverse background so I can relate to others. Having owned my own business as well as worked in small, family-run companies and large corporations, I appreciate the benefits of varied niches of free-market commerce. I am also a student of history and know the threat posed by a government unrestrained by constitutional limits and free, but secure, elections. I know what it’s like to be an employee and an employer, and I also know what it’s like to be unemployed while overreaching government saps private opportunities from a community. I believe the marketplace, not politicians and bureaucrats, should determine which jobs are essential and which are not. I also understand the liberating nature of individual responsibility and seek to encourage it for others.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? I have lived in my district for 27 years. During most of that time, Oakland County was the envy of the nation for its competent, business-like management. We citizens took it for granted and our leaders were unprepared for the passing of county executive L. Brooks Patterson. In just a few short years we have seen the damage done by a government more concerned with woke virtue-signaling than responsible management of the peoples’ resources, particularly their tax dollars. County government is not supposed to be about power, it’s supposed to be about responsibility.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? First and foremost, we need to restore transparency to county government. Too much work is done behind closed doors and delegated to agencies that are not directly accountable to the people. My vote on the new county commission will join others to open the process to the light of day so the people can watch and judge our actions. We need to take immediate action in reversing county government’s intrusion into peoples’ lives. The people flourish only when they are in control of their own destiny, not when they are serfs of the state. This means reevaluating programs and eliminating those that are unnecessary, inefficient or counter-productive. By returning their tax dollars, the people become free to support the initiatives they — not the politicians — value through the free market. Through those two actions, a new Board of Commissioners will go a long way toward realizing a third priority, which is restoring responsible management to Oakland County’s government. County government needs to return to serving the people of the county, not bullying them or making them dependent. 

County Commissioner – 2nd District

Penny Luebs, Democrat

Age: 68

Current job: Oakland County Commissioner, District 16, Clinical Supervisor, Easter Seals

Education: Master’s Degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: Oakland County Commissioner, Elected in 2018 and 2020, Mayor, City of Clawson, 2007-2017; Council Person, City of Clawson 2003-2007; Clawson Youth Assistance Chair; Clawson Chamber of  Commerce Board Member; Area Agency on Aging 1 B Board Member; Clawson Farmers Market Co-Organizer, 2009 to present; Boy Scout Troop 1627 Secretary; Employed at Easter Seals since 2002.

Why are you running again for the Board of Commissioners and why should voters re-elect you? I enjoy working with and for people. My record of attendance and voting represents positive values, ethics and supporting services for people who live and work in Oakland County.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? Budget, infrastructure, health and human services are three priority issues. Our goals are where we place our money in the budget. We need a balanced budget. Roads, water and sewer systems need to be maintained. Health and human services include our safety and quality of living. Continuing programs that work to  support individuals, families, businesses and local municipalities along with identifying needs that the county is able  to provide assistance. One area of need is to develop a Senior Services office within the county to support people age 65 and older.

What are your accomplishments as commissioner? Sponsored Oakland County Mental Health grant for Oakland Schools, which provides $175,000 to each school district in the county to address students’ mental health needs. Each district is eligible to receive another $175,000 if the district matches the second amount. Sponsored a resolution to amend the county’s non-discrimination policy to include protections for gender identity  and expression, veteran status, familial  status and marital status. Sponsored a resolution approving $1 million in emergency grant assistance for veterans, service members and eligible family members. Supported and promoted our Native Plant Initiative to provide education about cultivating native plants and the effect on the  environment. We also distribute native plants, free of charge, twice a year.  Approved funding through our Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) for repairs and improvements to roads. This includes a matching fund from our communities.

Ken Roberts, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 3rd District

Gary R. McGillivray, Democrat

Did Not Respond

Ronald Dwyer, Republican

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Ronald DwyerAge: 48

Current job: Owner of RCS-JANITORIAL.com, a multi-state janitorial company; Realtor 20-plus years, insurance agent 30-plus years

Education: Associate’s Degree Oakland Community College, Insurance Degree American Institute of Insurance, Licensed Insurance Agent, Licensed Realtor

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a 30-plus year insurance agent, 20-plus year real estate agent and owner of RCS-Janitorial.com, a Michigan-based commercial janitorial company. I have lived in the City of Troy for over 27 years and lived in Oakland County for over 48 years. Oakland County is my home. In my 30-plus years as an insurance agent, I have read complex legal contracts and agreements to make sure my clients’ liability exposures are covered.  As a county commissioner reading and understanding complex agreements and contracts are important to protect the taxpayers of the county both financially and legally. I have crossed the aisle to work on issues, such as when I worked with the late Democrat State Rep. Isaac Robinson on trying to push the right insurance reform into law as we knew the one being pushed through only benefited insurance companies as well as the medical field. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the wrong bill into law. As a real estate agent, I obtained the experience to be a tough negotiator. A tough negotiator is needed to save taxpayers’ money on bid projects. As a business owner, I made tough decisions, including hiring the right people to get the job done and balancing my company books, just like I will for the county.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? I decided to run for Oakland County Commissioner based on the wasteful spending that is taking place by our commission, the non-transparency that is taking place with meetings behind closed doors, and work that is being delegated to agencies that are not directly accountable to the people. Taxpayer funds are being wasted by the commission such as $3 million to the job-killing World Economic Fund, which will likely steal jobs from Oakland County rather than create. $1.5 million of those funds would have helped our Oakland County’s Sheriff’s Department that saw its budget sliced by $1.5 million. We are in a time where police and sheriff departments need additional funding to fight the rise in crime and mass shootings, such as the Oxford High School tragedy in our own county!

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? #1 priority is keeping our tax dollars low to encourage population growth and business growth in our county. #2 Protect our AAA bond rating to keep our financial outlook positive, which will keep both residential and commercial property taxes low, bring business to our county and make it cheaper for us to borrow money, if needed. #3 Provide our Sheriff’s Department with the funds needed to hire and supply tools they need to keep our communities safe. The actions that I will take would be to not spend taxpayer dollars foolishly as what is being done at this time. Such as $3 million to the World Economic Fund and $500,000 to Planned Parenthood. Why are funds going only to “so called crisis centers” as Planned Parenthood when there are other local pregnancy crisis centers based in Oakland County? This another question that needs to be asked.

Al Gui, Republican

Oakland County Board of CommissionersAge: 58

Current job: Educator

Education: Bachelor of Mathematics, Master of Arts (major mathematics), Master of Education Leadership (major administration)

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: Valuing people, taking into account their concerns and contribute as I can if needed. I’m in my third decade now in Oakland County. I taught for a long time at Oakland County Community College in the mathematics department where I enjoyed working with people from different backgrounds. It was self-rewarding to contribute to the county I lived in. I use my spare time reading or watching videos about local, state, national or international issues. Beside my 34-year experience in education, I also have some experience in real estate business.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? There is a need for change in the ways the county commission is using people’s tax dollars and sidelining taxpayers in the decision-making process. Almost all the Oakland County residents I discussed with (whether they are Democrats or Republicans) are concerned about the lack of transparency and the ongoing speeding that put more tax burden on families. Many people see this trend as a wasteful spending. It is about time we stop the fleecing of Oakland County without stopping to be compassionate.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them?

  1. The lack of a responsible government spending policy that entails transparency and accountability in a timely manner. I want to protect taxpayers’ rights to a holistic view and a holistic understanding of the underlying details pertaining to the issues for which their money is being spent. Citizens should not be overruled and cut off, especially when they come to voice their concerns at county commission meetings. I will make sure that the county commission abides by that legitimate (well-founded) need.
  2. Improve public safety, property values and education. Cut taxes and still make policies that will protect Oakland County residents’ safety, their property values, and improve the quality of education and safety in all schools in the county.
  3. Mental health issue, human trafficking and regional transportation issues are equally on my agenda. They must be addressed responsibly without negatively labeling people.

County Commissioner – 4th District

Marilyn Bonucci, Democrat

Did Not Respond

Brendan Johnson, Democrat

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Candidate Brendan JohnsonAge: 28

Current job: Chief of Staff & Legislative Director, State Rep. Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills)

Education: B.A. International Relations, Michigan State University; M.S. Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a lifelong resident of Oakland County and am proud to call the Rochester area home. I live in Rochester Hills, went to high school in Pontiac and got my first real job as the Public Events Coordinator at the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) in Royal Oak. My background and professional training is in diplomacy and national security, and I have previously worked for the U.S. State Department in Madrid and for Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin. I currently work at the Michigan State House of Representatives where I am the Chief of Staff for Rep. Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills). A lover of stories, I love being in plays and musicals almost as much as I love browsing a good bookstore. I am a professional pianist and have been the music director at many Archdiocese of Detroit parishes (most recently Sacred Heart in Auburn Hills!). I also am a strong supporter of Detroit City FC and all species of bees.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? I am running for county commission to represent my hometown with a new generation of progressive, pragmatic politics that puts people first. I love where I grew up, think it’s a great place to live, and I have the experience and know-how to help it continue to be so. I would be the youngest member and only openly LGBT member of the commission: two voices that are sorely needed in elected chambers.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them?

  1. The first is applying lessons learned from COVID-19 into the post-pandemic world. We learned a lot about where our county health vulnerabilities are and where we do a better job administering holistic health care (from mental to physical to reproductive) from Holly to Ferndale to Novi. 
  2. The second is making sure our economy continues to thrive. This means assuring not only that students at Oakland University are prepared for the challenges of the world ahead, but how can the county leverage programs like Michigan Works! to help transition, say, an internal combustion engineer at Stellantis to the world of electric vehicles. 
  3. Third, I am committed to ending the duplicative and patchy-at-best status quo of public transportation in Metro Detroit. With the Auburn Hills City Council voting to opt out of SMART, I am committed especially to finding a county level solution in conjunction with Wayne and Washtenaw. We must end the opt-out model and cumbersome multi-system administrative environment. Having spent significant time in cities with good transportation systems, I know what is possible here, and I am committed to fulfilling it.

Kevin R. McDaniel, Republican

Oakland County Board of Commissioners candidate Kevin McDanielAge: 43

Current job: Biotech Contracts and Reimbursement Lead

Education: Bachelor of Science in Business, Oakland University

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a fourth-generation lifelong resident of Oakland County’s District 4, which serves the communities of Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills. I have served on my City Council for 14 years, the last eight as mayor. I began my service to the community in 2003 as a police officer. I am also a past recipient of Oakland County’s Elite 40 Under 40 Award. My wife, Erika, and I have two children, Addison (12) and Kailer (10). I am a graduate of Avondale High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in business, with a concentration in information technology from Oakland University, which is also located in District 4. In addition to serving the community, I am an executive for a leading global biotech company, where I am responsible for managing cost-saving strategies that increase patient access to life-altering biologics while reducing financial burden.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? I am running to ensure that the county anchors itself in fiscal responsibility, supporting our local businesses and keeping our residents safe.

What are the top 3 priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? As District 4’s commissioner, I will bring my leadership experience of six years as a City Council Member and eight years as mayor to the county commission. As I have achieved with my city council colleagues, I am committed to collaborating with the entire Board of Commissioners on sound fiscal policies and ensuring positive results on the following priorities.

  1. Maintaining our hometown values — common-sense decisions need to be made locally from input from the people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
  2. Resources for our Sheriff’s Department – ensuring our deputies have the tools and training to keep our communities safe and that the safety of our children is paramount.
  3. Fiscally conservative — we need to return the county to responsible spending and good government, prioritizing and refocusing on everyone within our community, and not special interest groups.

Wilbur C. Sims III, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 5th District

Justin Willcock, Democrat

Did Not Respond

Michael Spisz, Republican

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Michael SpiszAge: 51

Current job: Executive Director of Engineering

Education: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Master of Business Administration – Global Specialty

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I have been married to my wife, Michelle, for 22 years and we have two daughters and a dog. We have lived in Oxford for 20 years and both of our daughters attended and played sports for Oxford Schools, graduating in 2020 and 2022. Our summers have been full of travel softball for the last eight years and will soon transition to college sports. I have been in the auto industry for over 30 years and during the day I continue to work for a Tier 1 automotive supplier as an executive global director of engineering where I manage programs and resources in multiple countries around the world. Politics was a growing passion of mine starting in my college years. In 2008 I ran for the Oxford Township Board of Trustees and was elected to a four-year term and then transitioned into the county commissioner role in 2012. I have been appointed to Oxford Township Planning Commission since 2014.

Why are you running again for the Board of Commissioners and why should voters re-elect you? With politics being a passion of mine, I want to continue to serve the community I love. I have lived in Oakland County for most of my life and I want to continue to make sure the county remains one of the best counties in the Country. I bring many different benefits and aspects to the Board of Commissioners from my career as an engineer and management roles. I make decisions based on facts and data, not emotions. I have shown the willingness to work across the aisle and stand up to issues that would not benefit our community. I am a fiscal conservative and will always work to find ways to save the county and our taxpayers’ money. Your money is best to be in your pocket versus the governments. I also work with the communities I serve to make sure they are current on county activities along with ways to support their needs. I support the entire county and will continue to work with communities outside of my district as I represent the entire county.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them?

  1. Budget. We must continue to maintain Oakland County’s financial position and AAA bond rating. With ensuing inflation we must maintain our multiyear balanced budget and continue to find ways to save cost within government.
  2. ARPA funding must be considered and used effectively and efficiently to ensure we are not creating long-term programs that funding will no longer be available. We must also use these funds to support our local businesses and continue to bring employers to Oakland County. I will continue to work to find alternatives and inventive ways to continue to entice employers into our area.
  3. Public safety. We must continue to support our Sheriff’s office and all local law enforcement. With the social climate, mass shootings, threats and overall anger in our communities we cannot afford to reduce funding of our law enforcement agencies. We must work together to find new ways and programs to support them and our citizens, including crisis intervention training (CIT).  

What are your accomplishments as commissioner?

  • Secured $10M in funding for a new sewer project in north west Oakland County that will reduce the need of septic fields.
  • Gained approval from the BOC for $500,000 to support co-pays to Oxford School district for mental health support after the Nov. 30, 2021 incident.
  • Gained approval for additional resources for Prosecutor and Sheriff’s office for ongoing support to investigate threats throughout Oakland County after the Nov. 30 incident.
  • Supported funding for additional mental health support in all of Oakland County Schools.
  • Gun Violence team member in 2013 after Sandy Hook tragedy, and unfortunately is still relevant today.
  • Member of the County team supporting Businesses and distributing of monies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Annual Bi-party and tri-party road improvement programs for all communities in Oakland County.
  • Funding for feasibility study for training and dispatch facility in Oakland County Sheriff and Homeland Security teams.
  • Member of County pandemic response team during initial phase of COVID -19 pandemic.
  • Re-established the Human Trafficking Task Force in 2016 to increase communication of all organizations working to stop these terrible acts. Was invited to the White House to represent Oakland County at the Summit on Human Trafficking in 2020.
  • Board of Commissioners Vice Chairman, 2014-2018.
  • Multiple Committee Chairmanships.
  • Minority Caucus Chair, 2021 to present.

County Commissioner – 6th District

Sarah B. Pounds, Democrat

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Sarah PoundsAge: 39 years old

Current job: I am a Precinct Delegate for Orion Township’s 6th Precinct. As a Precinct Delegate, I get to work closely with voters in my precinct, understand the issues that are most important to them, and keep them updated with important voting and candidate information.  I am also a mom to four young daughters.

Education: I graduated from Clarkston High School here in northern Oakland County. I attended Oakland University, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in history and then my paralegal certificate. For 15 years, I worked as a paralegal, specializing in construction and surety law.

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a lifelong Oakland County resident and live in Orion Township with my husband and four children. I felt the call to serve my community in 2016. Like so many others, I felt that my voice was not being heard in local, state and especially federal government. I committed myself to working to get better candidates elected within my community. In 2020, I was elected as a precinct delegate in Orion Township’s 6th Precinct and that work has reinforced my belief that local government is where it’s at – local government is where one can effect the most change in one’s community. I am committed to be a part of that change. I am committed to ensure Oakland County is prepared for the future, by investing in our small businesses, public education, including school safety, our great colleges and universities, and protecting our beautiful parks and natural spaces.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? I believe that county government is where I can affect the most change in my community. The county commission has a direct impact on our daily lives, from the public schools that our children attend to the roads that we drive on every day. I know that the county would benefit from my experience and perspective of a mom with four children who attend or will attend Lake Orion Community Schools, a precinct delegate who has been on the ground with voters in my community for years and understands the issues that are most important to them.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them?  

We must prioritize public education: Oakland County has some of the best public schools in the nation. I believe that these schools are the heart of our communities and by investing in public education, we are investing in our future. Not only do schools help to build well-educated citizens who are ready to meet the future challenges of our community, but schools are also a source of employment for residents and we know that school performance directly impact property values, making public schools a monetary investment for all residents. But many in our government have forgotten this. For far too long, public education has been defunded, resulting in larger class sizes and teacher shortages. Our students and educators deserve better. It is time to start investing in public education again. I will always support initiatives that focus on hiring and retaining the very best educators, investing in technology, providing our students with the mental health care that they need and deserve and school safety measures that will provide our children with a safe environment in which to learn.

We must protect our parks and natural spaces: Our natural spaces, including parks, trails, inland lakes and recreation areas, have always made Oakland County the best place to live and work. We gained even more appreciation for our parks and recreation areas during the pandemic, when they became a safe place to gather together and experience the sense of community that we all needed. Our natural environment became even more essential for our mental and emotional health. I will always support initiatives that protect and beautify our natural environment, and make parks and recreation areas safer, more accessible and inclusive for all residents.

We must support small businesses: Small businesses are the backbone of our communities. I have personally witnessed the benefits of supporting and investing in small businesses in my own community, specifically in downtown Lake Orion and along the Baldwin Corridor, and the positive effects that investment had on our community at large. When my family moved to Lake Orion 10 years ago, there was not a lot happening in downtown Lake Orion and Baldwin Road was a ghost town. Through years of thoughtful investment and infrastructure, including the massive Baldwin Corridor Revitalization Project, Lake Orion now boasts some of the best restaurants, shops and businesses in Oakland County. People now come from neighboring communities to dine, shop and conduct business. We are proud of our vibrant downtown and know that progressive investment and support of our local small businesses have contributed to the overall success of our community. But supporting small businesses does not end there. Businesses have been further tested in the years since the pandemic and many are still struggling to recover due to global material shortages, supply chain issues and employee shortages. Their future success will depend on detailed recovery plans that address these challenges.

I am committed to providing continued support for Oakland County’s small businesses, especially as they recover from the pandemic, and understand that the success of our small businesses directly impacts the success of our communities.

Michael J. Gingell, Republican

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Michael GingellAge: 50

Current job: Chief Operating Officer – FordDirect

Education: Bachelor of Science, Oakland University; Master of Business Administration, Wayne State University

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a lifelong resident of Oakland County and a direct descendent of the Gingellville founders (Gingellville was founded in 1836 and is part of Orion Township). I live in Orion township with my wife, Jessica, and our six kids.

Why are you running again for the Board of Commissioners and why should voters re-elect you? I am running for re-election in order to continue to serve the community and help others. I bring political relationships and experience that other candidates do not have. I also bring 25 years of experience in the private sector experience in the information business holding various global leadership roles. I know how to work in a bipartisan manner and I know how to get things done.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? My top priority is to embed financial responsibility and accountability in county spending and the voice of  common sense in policy decisions. We need to provide services that are needed with a focus on public safety. We need to support economic development and our business community to maintain our tax base and demand for housing.

What are your accomplishments as commissioner? Throughout my time as commissioner I have accomplished a number of things including: Financial responsibility and accountability by delivering balanced budgets, living within our means and being recognized by Standard and Poor’s as one of the best run counties in the nation. Expanding parks and providing access to more residents through investments in Normandy Oaks, Catalpa Oaks and Independence Oaks. Providing leadership in trying times such as the 2008 great recession and foreclosure crisis, establishing the Great Lakes Water Authority to protect access to water as well as preserving the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Zoo. All while maintaining or lowering the tax rate.

Heather Smiley, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 7th District

Kristin Watt, Democrat

Oakland County Board of Commissioners candidate Kristin WattAge: 40

Current job: Owner of Thoughtful Threads in Holly

Education: Macomb Community College

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am passionate about people with a heart for advocacy work and public service. I have spent most of my career and personal time working with individuals to create productive results in their lives and communities. I am currently an elected precinct delegate, trustee on the Holly Township Library Board, community volunteer,  and co-founder of Holly ACTS, a community action network. I am a wife and mother of two amazing daughters and work within my community on various endeavors to ensure local government works for everyone and that those who are often overlooked have a voice.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? At this time in our country, as families are struggling to recover from the pandemic and costs continue to rise, I believe working families, seniors on fixed incomes, veterans, and those with disabilities require the resources necessary to thrive. Mental health resources are needed more than ever and protecting our beautiful environment in north Oakland County are paramount. Our small businesses are suffering and financial resources are limited. I believe our tax dollars need to work for us first. It has been 24 years since we have had a woman represent this district. We need a fresh voice, fresh perspective, and every day people need a unifying advocate to ensure those who are struggling, despite their best efforts, have their needs boldly heard and addressed.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? 

  1. Economic recovery for families and small businesses — I would find ways to trim waste in the budget and reallocate those funds to programs that assist families in need as they recover. I would look for ways to invest in programs that assist small business startups and further the cause of assisting businesses already in existence.
  2. Mental health resources and easier accessibility — The Board of County Commissioners just passed a huge investment with matching grants for Oakland County Schools to provide grants to increase mental health professionals and increased accessibility in our schools. This is a huge first step, but the funds are not permanent. I would like to speak with industry leaders in the field on how we as a county can build on this investment to ensure every member of our county can access therapies and treatment.
  3. Infrastructure — We continue to need our roads repaired, water and sewer updated, and make sure we are protecting our environment while doing so. I would build upon what has already been done and find ways to trim waste and seek any available grants and federal dollars available to assist in these efforts.

Bob Hoffman, Republican

Did Not Respond

Eileen Kowall, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 8th District

Thomas J. Kurzyniec, Democrat

Did Not Respond

Karen Joliat, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 9th District

Mark E. Holland, Democrat

Did Not Respond

Angela Powell, Democrat

Did Not Respond

Gjyste Nuculaj, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 10th District

Kristen Nelson, Democrat

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Kristen NelsonAge: 39

Current job: Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Education: I earned a Master of Education and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Wayne State University, and I completed board certification (behavior analyst) from Florida Institute of Technology.  

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I’m a lifelong Oakland County resident, born and raised in the District I represent. As a sitting member of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners since 2018, I currently serve as the Majority Caucus Chair, Chair of the Legislative Affairs and Government Operations Committee, Chair of the Healthy Aging Ad Hoc Committee, and I am a member of the Public Health and Safety Committee. After 18 years of working in public education, I currently work full time as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst working with individuals on the autism spectrum.

Why are you running again for county commission and why should voters re-elect you? As an energetic leader, passionate problem solver and forward thinker, I am running for re-election to further pursue my commitment in representing the diverse voices in District 10 while advocating for solutions to the issues they care most about. Working hands-on as a special education teacher and a behavior analyst have instilled the values of persistence, compassion and problem solving, and I will continue to put that spirit to work for constituents. I know first-hand that seemingly insurmountable obstacles can be overcome when individuals have access to the appropriate resources, services and supports.  

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? 

  • Public health and safety. The health and safety of our communities depends on the health of the people who make up our communities. I will continue to support Oakland County’s collaborative efforts in providing equitable access to affordable mental health and behavioral health services and treatment to individuals across Oakland County.
  • Community economic development. Our ability to thrive as a county through changing social and economic times depends on creating good policies that support affordable housing, public transportation, job opportunities and support for small businesses.
  • Environmental justice. Supporting policies that protect our drinking water and recreational waterways, preserving community green spaces, parks, and enhancing outdoor recreational opportunities. Everyone deserves access to clean and safe water, land, air and inclusive outdoor activities.

What are your accomplishments as commissioner?

With the support of my colleagues, I am most proud of the following accomplishments:

  • Established a program to increase marine safety patrols on Oakland County lakes during the 2022 boating season
  • Created a new policy requiring Oakland County restaurant inspection reports to be available in a searchable and easily accessible online database
  • Published Oakland County’s Blueprint for Successful Aging, in partnership with AAA1B, which identifies strategies for creating age-friendly communities while identifying unmet needs and gaps in current services
  • Founded the Native Plant Initiative that provided residents with native plant kits to restore damage caused by invasive and non-native plant species while promoting the benefits of native gardens
  • Created Oakland Together Lifeline Program that provided residents in selected senior living facilities Amazon Echo Show devices (and training) to stay connected with family and friends throughout the pandemic
  • Launched the Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose Program, featuring two solar powered mobile boat cleaning stations to empower water enthusiasts to be active participants in the fight to protect our lakes and waterways from the spread and introduction of aquatic invasive species

Vincent F. Sitto, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 11th District

Marcia Gershenson, Democrat

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Marcia GershensonEducation: Graduate University of Michigan 1971

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a native Michigander, married and graduate of the University of Michigan. I have a teaching credential and am the incumbent county commissioner in the newly formed 11th Commission district. I am an honest, hardworking commissioner that prioritizes the concerns of my constituents. I am very responsive to residents and value our interactions. The recovery of our economy from the pandemic is my priority. During these unprecedented times, experience navigating our local resources has been vitally important. I am a strong advocate for responsible gun ownership and storage, and increasing mental health services throughout the County. I have worked on initiatives to increase the number of childcare workers and offer more affordable housing to our community members. I am extremely supportive of our county’s efforts to grow our region’s talent pipeline through our Oakland80 commitment. This program will embed education navigators in our local secondary intuitions to assist residents to attain post secondary or certification. In addition, I stay in touch with local units of government to try and assist them to help all residents.

Why are you running again for county commission and why should voters re-elect you? I am seeking re-election to continue the projects I have been working on over my last term. The pandemic identified many areas to county officials that needed more attention. Making health care more accessible by establishing a community health care model and partnering with many local health care facilities is a priority. My experience and knowledge of county government has helped me guide residents through the process of receiving benefits during the pandemic. Voters should re-elect me because I am sensitive to all issues that concern the well being of every resident and will fight for our county’s recovery. As vice chair of the commission I am committed to working across party lines to offer the best programs to all our residents.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? My three top priorities for my next term are to continue efforts to help the local economy recover, increase access to mental health services and offer more options to allow seniors to age in place. I have voted to distribute funds to help many of our small businesses and restaurants. I have worked to allocate federal dollars to nonprofits and local businesses to strengthen their budgets. Commissioners have allocated significant resources for mental health resources to students and their parents and all community members. We have worked closely and will continue to work with our mental health agencies to develop new programs that reflect our changing environment. I have been working with many senior-focused nonprofits to better understand the needs of our aging population. Seniors are a critical part of the financial blueprint of our county and I am committed to listen and learn the priorities that are important to strengthen access to programs for this demographic. I have participated in committees to understand and address seniors’ needs and will continue to advocate for those needs.

What are your accomplishments as commissioner? Some of my proudest accomplishments are bringing more money to provide more mental health services to all residents. I have voted to bring breakfast programs to all students. During the pandemic, I actively worked to distribute over $200 million federal dollars to help local businesses recover. I am in the process now of administering assistance through the American recovery funds to schools, nonprofits, residents and businesses. I have a history of woking on bipartisan programs to increase gun safety awareness. As a former school teacher, I am well aware of the challenges our teachers and child care educators face every day. I have introduced programs to help make child care more affordable to everyone. I am currently working on efforts to increase the salaries of child care and home care workers. My greatest accomplishment has been to work with the community and our Executive Branch and staff to implement new programs that are relevant for success in today’s world.

S. Dave Sullivan, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 12th District

Mike Smith, Democrat

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Mike SmithAge: 41

Current job: Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Berkley

Education: Graduated from Walled Lake Central High School (1999), Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Leadership & Diversity from Grand Valley State University (2003), Master of Public Administration from Oakland University (2008), Post-Masters Certificate in Local Government Management from Oakland University (2011)

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a lifelong resident of White Lake Township. Married with two elementary school-aged children. Currently, I am employed in the public sector while also running a small woodworking business. I have been a proud public servant for the past 18 years where I have worked for Oakland County, the City of Clawson, the Village of Wolverine Lake, and currently at the City of Berkley in many roles such as city clerk, city manager and village administrator. I stepped up in the past and served as an elected Walled Lake School Board Member from 2010-2013.  I pride myself on being transparent, honest, dedicated, and leading with integrity and honor. I commit myself to any challenge and will jump in wherever there is a need to get something accomplished. I am forever indebted to the service that others before me have shown and done for these communities and it is my turn to give back and serve all of the residents, business owners, and constituents in this District. I will be steadfast in living up to the duty of an elected official, by being the voice for the voiceless and doing what is right and just for all citizens.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? With my experience as mentioned above, I saw a need for a new voice on the board — bringing my local government management experience in the public sector to the County Commission. I know how to leverage the talents and expertise of subject matter experts and work with them to come up with positive solutions. I am rooted in this District where I have not only lived in but have also worked here and served as the past Village Administrator of Wolverine Lake. I am a volunteer for my kid’s elementary school and on the weekend you can see me hanging out at the local soccer field at Dodge Park or helping with my son’s baseball team at Hickory Glen in Commerce Township. This is my home and I want to give back to my community and fight to be their voice.  I know what it takes to do the work and I will bring a new voice and expertise to this Board for District 12 to serve my community and makes things better for the future.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them?


• Retraining the workforce to respond to emerging job sectors

• Creating incentives to bring new businesses to Michigan

• Protecting business owners who were affected by the pandemic

• Supporting local municipalities with economic development

• Maintaining the AAA bond rating for the county

• Reinvesting in our urban centers

Health and wellness

• Establishing mental health funding for residents and schools

• Fighting for women’s rights and LGBTQ+ members

• Partnerships with businesses, colleges and trade schools

• Helping residents to attain affordable housing

• Educate residents on the resources the county offers

• Better access to health care for veterans and those in need


• Addressing our roads and infrastructure needs

• Addressing our need for safer water for residents

• Developing better practices for maintenance and construction

• Developing a more robust regional transportation system

• Conserving and protecting open spaces, parks, water

Christine A. Long, Republican

Did Not Respond

Monica Yatooma, Republican

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Monica YatoomaAge: 35

Current job: Co-Founder of Metro Detroit Medical Waste

Education: B.A. Psychology

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a wife married to a wonderful man and a mother to three beautiful children. We reside in Commerce Township where I am deeply embedded in the community and I am also an immigrant in this great country. I have had the privilege of experiencing the American dream and thanks to the endless opportunities America has offered me I am a successful small business owner with a company based right here in Michigan. I love living in Michigan but I especially love being in the Lakes area where my children have grown up, go to school and play many different sports. I am a proud supporter of our veterans as I serve on the annual committee for our Wounded Warriors and Fallen Soldiers charity gala.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? I did not take the decision to run for county commissioner lightly, nor the decision of running against an incumbent of my party, but after much thought and encouragement, I committed to running for this office. After talking to many parents in our community, I realized many in our county are unaware of what the commission actually does, and how they spend our money. Like many in my community, I am frustrated and disappointed with how our commissioners choose to ignore the will of the people and do little communicating with their constituents or guard the finances of our county. Many of these same commissioners are more interested in their pet projects or political future than the well-being of the county and their specific districts. This really showed me that we need a new voice on the board. As someone with young children I am extremely dedicated to their future growing up here in Oakland County. As someone who is dedicated to my local community and our county, I believe I can be that strong and sound voice that we need to represent District 12 and honor the will of the people that I would serve. Therefore, after urging from many supporters, I committed to running for a seat on the county commission, and I will be the difference the commission needs to serve the people of our county.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? The first priority issue would be to stop the irresponsible spending. Oakland County was one of the three counties that paid Highland Park’s water bill for years when Highland Park refused to pay its own bill. That is unacceptable and we should be focusing on fixing our own county issues that benefit Oakland County constituents. Second, focus on rebuilding our small businesses and create incentives for entrepreneurs to want to open small businesses in our county. Part of that rebuilding would also include training and funding for individuals who want to enter into skilled trades and other important job sectors that don’t require a college degree. Entrepreneurs and small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and especially our local economy here in Oakland County as they drive employment, pay taxes, increase GDP, and are valued members in any community. Third, focus on supporting our local law enforcement. As I’ve attended the local commission meetings I have watched as Sheriff Bouchard has repeatedly asked for more funding for training facilities for his officers and other basic necessities and the commission has repeatedly declined to approve the sheriff’s department request. Yet they will spend millions on their personal pet projects and that is absolutely unacceptable. Supporting our local law enforcement is essential to making Oakland County a safe place to live, work and raise a family.

County Commissioner – 13th District

Jim Williams, Democrat

Age: 76

Current job: Retiree, active Michigan artist LLC

Education: B.A., WSU

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a native Detroiter and a 50-year Highland resident. I am a retired state youth services caseworker and have been a small business artist for 45 years. Over the years I have also been a substitute teacher, a certified state transporter, a youth art instructor at inner city outreach programs, and a Meals on Wheels driver. Oakland County and the wider area face many issues: climate change, jobs, lake and water concerns, broadband, infrastructure, mental health and quality of life. And now sadly we must to be concerned about the safety of our families. This and the environmental concerns facing us require a creative and progressive vision. I want Oakland County to set the standard for the present and future in all these areas. On a personal note I was raised in a home with many uncertainties yet I knew I was fortunate to be living at a time in America with many possibilities. My work has allowed me to engage people with hard core needs. I hope to be part of the solution to life quality issues in District 13. I am a member of Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, HVCA, and contributor to many charitable needs.

Why are you running for county commission? Mainly to be the environmental candidate in the support of plans to make Oakland County set a standard as a carbon-free community.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? Climate change related issues. I will propose and vote for steps that make us carbon free. Mental health services. I will seek to improve the delivery and availability of these community based services. Water and development. I will review policy and proposals with an environmental benefit perspective including LEED and EGLE standards.

Connie Johnson, Republican

Oakland County Board of Commissioners candidate Connie JohnsonAge: 54

Current job: Freelance Writer, Producer, Researcher

Education: BS Sports Medicine

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I’m Connie Johnson, a Republican and 22-year resident of the beautiful Township of Milford. I am a hometown girl, and I love my community. My husband, David, and I have been married for 28 years and currently homeschool our two teen sons. We attend and are active in our church. I have been a grassroots advocate for over a decade, creating relationships and advocating for families at the local, state, and federal levels on matters that affect my family and my community for more than a decade.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? Over the past 18 months I have witnessed the OCC pass millions of dollars to create “offices” with zero oversight for spending our tax dollars. When the commission voted to appropriate $3 million to create a hub for the World Economic Forum in Oakland County, the decision was solidified to run. As a citizen activist, I have already been doing the job of a commissioner, without the elected title. I owe it to my children, my community and my God to be faithful to this call to serve for such a time as this.

What are the top 3 priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? Transparency, spending, infrastructure. District 13 is made up of suburban and rural areas. The heart of our communities lies in our homes, churches, businesses and schools. The current global initiatives being passed through the Oakland County Commission threaten our community with urbanization, which will kill our small businesses and our schools. We must be good stewards of our communities by first taking care of the infrastructure we have: police, fire, roads, water and schools. We don’t need a sustainability office to show us how to do that, or give a presentation on “ending hunger and poverty” by using the United Nations global agenda. When elected I will work to cut funding to any created or bureaucratic office that does not demonstrate usable services of our district.

Phil Weipert, Republican

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Phil WeipertAge: 62

Current job: Practicing Attorney-Owner Law Office of Philip J. Weipert and Oakland County Commissioner

Education: Juris Doctor 1988 Thomas M. Cooley Law School, BA 1983 University of Michigan-Dearborn, 1983, Detroit Catholic Central 1978

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: Married to Pam and 30-plus year resident South Lyon; Past Chair-SEMCOG and current delegate to SEMCOG. Member Milford, Highland, Wixom & South Lyon Historical Societies, Highland White Lake Business Owners Assoc.; Kensington Valley/S. Lyon, Huron Valley & Lakes Area Chambers. Secretary-Kiwanis; 2016 & 2005 Chamber Citizen of the Year, Finance Council-St. Joseph Catholic Church, Deputy Grand Knight K of C Council 7586 & Past Secretary K of C Assembly 3099 Milford-monthly Flag replacement on Veterans Graves; Member-Lyon (Twp.) Events Org. L.E.O./Kitefest; Operation Injured Soldiers; Huron River Watershed Council; Milford Memories & War Dog Memorial

Why are you running again for the Board of Commissioners and why should voters re-elect you? I have been a commissioner 10-plus years and truly enjoy public service, giving back to the community and I want to keep Oakland County one of the best places to live, work, play and prosper.  I am committed to serving the district, keeping taxes low, improving roads and infrastructure and preserving property values.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? Economy, fiscal responsibility in the aftermath of the pandemic, roads and Infrastructure. As county commissioner, I voted for our local road improvement and our Tri-Party Road Programs making millions of dollars available to improve local roads. I will continue to promote Small Business Stabilization grants & programs to keep small businesses open and continue the work-force development programs that attract and stimulate quality jobs and employment opportunities. I have experience with all aspects of county operations and I have demonstrated the ability to work with all county departments to continue the programs that provide quality services to residents, and will insure that all tax dollars are spent in a fiscally conservative manner.

What are your accomplishments as commissioner? I have worked on and passed a balanced three-year budget, which has ensured that Oakland County has a AAA bond rating saving the residents millions in interest costs. I voted to lower the tax rate every year since 2011 — protecting property values while maintaining quality services. I participated in overseeing the distribution of tens of millions of COVID-19 relief dollars to small businesses, veterans, nonprofits, nursing homes and other groups, helping many of them navigate through and survive the pandemic. I will ensure that all tax dollars — particularly the county’s $247 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds are spent/invested as intended, wisely and costs are contained.

County Commissioner – 14th District

Ajay V. Raman, Democrat

Did Not Respond

Robert Smiley, Republican

Oakland County Board of Commissioners candidate Robert SmileyAge: 53

Current job: Designer/Illustrator and Wixom City Councilman

Education: College for Creative Studies (formerly Center for Creative Studies) Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, 1992 – Graphic Communications

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: Rob is a husband and father of three amazing boys. Family is what ultimately fuels Rob’s passion to maintain and improve his community. He’s been active in the community for many years, providing his abilities as a designer, football coach, and councilman. Rob believes local government should exist to be fiscally responsible, ensure security for its citizens while protecting their rights, and being accessible and transparent.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? City Councilman Robert Smiley is running to be the next county commissioner in the new 14th District, serving portions of Commerce and Novi, as well as all of Walled Lake and Wixom. With the economy and jobs in the delicate state that they are in, it is more important than ever to elect leaders who will serve our community by enacting policies and laws that enable individuals, businesses and communities to prosper.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them?

Priorities — As a two-term city councilman, Rob knows how to keep the county functioning and within budget. He will work with cities, townships and villages to make sure they have the services they require and to ensure policies benefit our residents. Rob successfully worked to lower local tax rates in Wixom as well as for balanced budgets each year. He has been a consistent voice for wise spending of our tax dollars and living within our means.

Public Safety — Oakland Democrats are asking Sheriff Bouchard to cut his budget by $1.5 million after cutting it $1.5 million last year. These dollars were not cut to balance the budget or to provide tax relief to residents, but rather to pay for unnecessary projects. As a city councilman, public safety has always been Rob’s top priority. Rob has learned to maximize funding with limited and fluctuating budgets.

Sustainability — It is important to be good stewards of our planet, but the “Green New Deal” plan for Oakland County is filled with expensive and unproven objectives that will do more harm than good to Oakland County. Our economy can’t afford this overregulation.

County Commissioner – 15th District

Gwen Markham, Democrat

Oakland County Commission Gwen MarkhamAge: 68

Current Job: Oakland County Commissioner

Education: BS Chemistry, Western Michigan University

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a retired manufacturing operations executive with experience in Aerospace and Automotive operations. I have served my community of Novi as a long-time volunteer on the Planning Commission as well as with several local nonprofit groups. In 2013 I became a member of the Novi City Council, and was re-elected in 2017. I was elected to the County Commission in 2018, re-elected in 2020. I serve as Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners Finance Committee. At the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, I currently serve as SEMCOG Vice Chair as well as a member of the Management and Budget subcommittee.

Why are you running again for the Board of Commissioners and why should voters re-elect you? In local government, one has the opportunity to work with people on local issues that affect us all. At the county level, the work we do has real effects right here where we live. I find it satisfying to solve problems for constituents. I believe in regional cooperation among municipalities and counties, because our problems are often the same and overlap across jurisdictions.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? We need to address the affordable housing situation. Young people and others struggle to find affordable homes and apartments. There are several options to address this issue, at the individual level, at the community level, and with local developers.  Public transit needs to become a reality across the region. I hear from people almost every day who need public transit for jobs, education, etc. Transit must include all communities. No local municipality is an island – workers, shoppers, others travel across community boundaries every day. Addressing climate change in our county is key. We are starting by evaluating all county buildings and operations for efficiencies, alternative energy sources, building utilizations, and fleet operations. Support for innovative solutions such as the Pontiac Waste Water Treatment plant where we turn sewage into methane which is captured and turned into energy or sold, is where we should focus our attention.

What are your accomplishments as commissioner? Most of my time on the commission is spent in oversight and planning for Oakland County’s $1 Billion budget each year. Working with the Executive branch, our current budget is structurally balanced, and includes a 25% Rainy Day Fund and a 5% Emergency Fund. It carries a AAA rating from the bonding agencies. My other priority of Environmental stewardship has led me to be part of projects on native plant promotion, invasive species eradication and water quality initiatives.

Ross Barranco, Republican

Did Not Respond

Michelle DiNardo, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 16th District

William Miller, Democrat

Did Not Respond

Michael F. Mrozovich, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 17th District

Yolanda Smith Charles, Democrat

Did Not Respond

Lloyd C. Crews, Democrat

Oakland County Board of Commissioners candidate Lloyd CrewsAge: 47

Current job: Southfield City Councilman for nine years and tenured professor of political science (20 years) at Oakland Community College

Education: Bachelor’s and Master’s in political science from Clark Atlanta University, Doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Wayne State University

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a native Detroiter and grew up on the east side where my parents still reside. I’m a graduate of Cass Technical High School. After completing my undergraduate degree, I returned home and worked as the store manager of Farmer Jack in Southfield. I later went back to school for a graduate degree with hopes going into public service. I have done that as a dean and executive director of academic and student services, and now faculty at Oakland Community College for the past 20 years. During my professional career I have done service in the community by serving on boards of various organizations (Boys and Girls Club of South Oakland County, American Red Cross of Southeastern Michigan, Southfield Rotary Club, Marvin L. Winans School of Performing Arts). Additionally, I developed a male mentoring program for high school students called Man-Up that has been in existence for over 10 years. I have also received the 40 under 40 award from Oakland County and the Michigan Chronicle. My wife, Stacey, and I reside in Southfield and have three adult sons.

Why are you running for the Board of Commissioners? I am running for county commission because we need strong leadership in South Oakland County. For years, the attention to the northern portion of the county has seemed to take priority. We need a commissioner that will work with colleagues to get things done, particularly our infrastructure. I am confident that my eight-plus years on City Council have uniquely prepared me to be able to make a change in the areas of Oak Park, Lathrup Village, Royal Oak Township and Southfield, which I would represent.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them? My overall goal is to move Oakland County into being a more sustainable county. This begins with all communities in the county being brought together and treating them equally. This means using our resources for the integration of environmental health, social equity and economic vitality for all. The three priority issues for a first term would be employment and mentoring programs for youth. Our youth are the future of our communities, and we need to have incentives to retain them in Oakland County. The need for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) leadership is to examine the conditions of the work environment and actively work to remove barriers that hinder residents and employees in the county. And community benefits agreements are private contracts negotiated between a prospective developer and the county. It specifies the benefits that the developer will bring to our community. It is a useful benefit to hold developers accountable when seeking government subsidies or project approvals.

Aaron Tobin, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 18th District

Janet Jackson, Democrat

Did Not Respond

Kat Phillips, Republican

Did Not Respond

County Commissioner – 19th District

Charlie Cavell, Democrat

Age: 31

Current job: Oakland County Commissioner and Habitat for Humanity

Education: BSW, Wayne State University. MSW, University of Michigan

Tell us about yourself in 200 words or less: I am a social worker who has worked in policymaking, municipal finance and community organizing. I became a social worker after interacting with child protective services as a child. When I was 16 I was adopted. Our campaign is focused on expanding racial, social, economic and environmental justice.

Why are you running again for county commission and why should voters re-elect you? I am running to emphasize the need for empathy in our community and to expand racial, social, economic and environmental justice.

What are the top three priority issues that Oakland County faces and what actions would you, as commissioner, take regarding each of them?

As in all places, our community’s issues stem from structural injustice. I say that because the issues I list are not a cure-all, but a starting point.

The focus of our team is to build: Thriving communities, happy and healthy people, and smart business.

Within that the three issues Oakland County faces are:

  1. Accessible physical infrastructure — things like stormwater runoff mitigation, clean water, facility upgrades for people to age in place, housing that is attainable
  2. Accessible human infrastructure — things to improve our quality of life, child care, certifications to enable people to earn high wages, affordable water and other utilities
  3. Enabling long-term competitiveness — things like supports for small businesses, preparing for climate change’s effects on our communities, laying a foundation of government programming to help people thrive

What are your accomplishments as commissioner?

  • Created our child care scholarship program, to help working families
  • Championed creation of Housing Trust Fund, to make our communities more inclusive
  • Sponsored creation of Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center in South Oakland, new Health Clinic in Hazel Park, homeless shelter to be built in south end
  • Passed Critical Home Repair fund to help seniors age in place
  • Led the creation of the Critical Infrastructure Improvement Grant Program to help our communities re: infrastructure
  • Supported the creation of the Office of Sustainability
  • Generally be a voice for the unheard and raise righteous hell in support of racial, social, economic and environmental justice!

Joseph C. Pucci, Republican

Did Not Respond


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  • Dorothy Hernandez
    Dorothy Hernandez is Digital Editor for 101.9 WDET, creating digital editorial content. Her love of radio began when she had a radio show in college when she and her roommate played '80s music in the middle of the night.