Oakland County continues to serve as model for good government and strong fiscal management. That's a tribute to its political leadership and the active engagement of county residents.

Each of the 21 county commission districts in Oakland County is a contested race, with many incumbents seeking re-election. Here are our recommendations for the two-year positions.

Oakland County Commissioners

District 1 (Orion Township, Orion, Lake Angelus, portions of Auburn Hills and Independence Township): Republican incumbent Michael J. Gingell of Clarkston is seeking his fifth term on the board, and he's the current chairman of the commission. His record of public service, in addition to his business experience as a vice president of IHS Automotive, make him our choice. Gingell faces a challenge from Democrat Torri Mathes of Auburn Hills.

District 2 (village of Holly, and the townships of Groveland, Highland, Holly, Springfield and Rose): Republican incumbent Bob Hoffman of Highland wants a third term, and he should get it. His opponent is Mark Danowski of Davisburg, who is not affiliated with a political party.

District 3 (townships of Addison, Brandon, Oakland, and Oxford. It also includes the villages of Ortonville, Leonard, and Oxford): Republican Michael Spisz of Oxford is seeking a second term. He's a solid choice in this district. He has been employed for years in the automotive industry and is currently the director of engineering for an automotive supplier. He is running against Democrat Rick Kelley of Ortonville.

District 4 (Independence Township, Clarkston, and a northwest portion of Waterford Township): Republican Tom Middleton of Clarkston should get a shot at a seventh term. The longtime politician also has a strong background in farming and running a business. Middleton faces Democrat Phillip Reid of Clarkston.

District 5 (Keego Harbor, village of Orchard Lake, Sylvan Lake with a portion of Waterford Township and West Bloomfield Township): Republican John Scott of Waterford is also seeking a seventh term, and he has earned it. Scott has a background as a sales engineer. Democrat Markus Tincher of Waterford is also running.

District 6 (White Lake Township and a portion of Waterford): Republican Eileen Kowall of White Lake is our choice. She has plenty of political experience, with a previous stint on the board prior to three terms in the state House. Democrat Ethyl Rivera of Waterford is also running.

District 7 (Commerce Township, West Bloomfield Township, Walled Lake & the village of Wolverine Lake): Republican incumbent Christine Long of Commerce Township wants a seventh term as a commissioner, and she's our choice. Long owns a family orchard and farm and previously worked as a registered nurse. She's running against Democrat Christopher DuBois of Commerce Township.

District 8 (South Lyon, Wixom, Lyon Charter Township and Milford Township): Republican incumbent Phil Weipert of South Lyon, who owns a law office, should get a third term. Janet Smith of Milford is the Democratic candidate.

District 9 (Novi, Northville and the township of Novi): Republican Hugh Crawford of Novi is our top pick. He is term-limited in the state House, and is trying to swap positions with his wife, incumbent Commissioner Kathy Crawford; she is making a run for his House seat. Democrat Colleen Crossey of Novi is also running.

District 10 (Pontiac): Incumbent Democrat Mattie McKinney Hatchett is not seeking reelection. Republican Katrina Barr of Pontiac is running against Democrat David Bowman of Pontiac. Neither candidate returned our questionnaire. We withhold an endorsement.

District 11 (southern portion of Rochester Hills and a northern portion of Troy with a portion of Auburn Hills): Republican Robert Gosselin of Troy is running for a fifth term, and he should get it. Gosselin is a senior designer of electrical systems engineering for General Motors and also has a background as a builder and realtor. Democrat Martha Black of Rochester Hills is his opponent.

District 12 (Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham): Republican incumbent Shelley Goodman Taub of Bloomfield Hills seeks a fourth term and is our top choice. She has a background in medical management. Democrat Michael Lewis of Birmingham, a lawyer, is her opponent.

District 13 (West Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Township and Farmington Hills): Democrat Marcia Gershenson of Bloomfield Hills is running for her sixth term, and is the best choice. Gershenson, a former teacher, has a solid understanding of the issues affecting the county. The Republican is Gene Yee of Bloomfield Hills.

District 14 (Farmington Hills, Farmington, Southfield Township, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms and Franklin): Republican incumbent Bill Dwyer of Farmington Hills is our choice. The former police commissioner for the Warren Police Department is running for his third term. He faces Democrat Gerald Skinner of Farmington Hills.

District 15 (Rochester and a large portion of Rochester Hills): Republican Jeff Matis of Rochester seeks a third term, and is our choice. Matis, a lawyer, is vice chairman of the board. Democrat Nadine Harvey of Rochester Hills is also running.

District 16 (Clawson, Troy and a portion of Royal Oak): This is an open seat. Republican Wade Fleming of Troy is the best candidate. Fleming has had a long career in corporate management and plenty of political experience, including nine years on the Troy City Council. He faces Democrat Phyllis Noda of Troy.

District 17 (Southfield, Lathrup Village and Oak Park): Democrat Nancy Quarles of Southfield seeks another term, and she should get it. Quarles has a long background in politics, business and education. She owns her own consulting company. Republican Regina Brim of Lathrup Village opposes her.

District 18 (Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Oak Park and the Charter Township of Royal Oak): Democrat Helaine Zack of Huntington Woods is seeking another term, and she has earned it. Zack, a social worker, was first elected in 2002. She faces Republican Michael Bates of Ferndale.

District 19 (Berkley and Royal Oak): Democrat Dave Woodward of Royal Oak seeks a sixth term and he's our choice. Woodward is active on the commission and has an extensive political background. Republican Chris Meister of Royal Oak is also running.

District 20 (Madison Heights, Pleasant Ridge, Troy and Royal Oak): Republican Douglas MacLean of Madison Heights is challenging incumbent Democrat Gary McGillivray of Madison Heights, and we think he should get a chance on the board. MacLean, retired after a long career with the Madison Heights Police Department, seems a true fiscal conservative.

District 21 (Southfield and Farmington Hills): Incumbent Democrat Janet Jackson of Southfield would like a fourth term, and she should get it. She faces Richard Van Camp of Farmington Hills.

Oakland County Circuit Court

In the nonpartisan race for one open seat on the court, the best choice is Lisa Langton of Troy, currently the deputy court administrator for the Oakland County Circuit Court. She has the strongest resume and a good grasp of the legal issues she'd face. Karen Geibel of Addison Township, the judicial staff attorney for Oakland Circuit Judge Rudy Nichols, is also running. This is an eight-year term.

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