Editorial: Our primary picks for Macomb County
The issues facing Macomb County include crumbling infrastructure, burdensome taxes and the desire to bring jobs and families back to Michigan. Voters should support candidates committed to those priorities.
Here are our recommendations for the nine contested districts in Macomb legislative races on the Aug. 2 ballot, as well as the seven contested seats on the Macomb County Commission and the county-wide seats.
District 18 (St. Clair Shores and Eastpointe): Republican and small-businesswoman Renata Polonaise awaits a winner in the Democratic contest between Paul Francis, Kevin Hertel, and Steven Fleck. Hertel, son of former state House Speaker Curtis Hertel, has some useful legislative experience in his blood.
District 22 (Roseville and part of Warren): Republican Jeff Bonnell, a populist, is running unopposed. On the Democratic side, incumbent John Chirkun, D-Roseville, is the preferred choice because of his service on the Roseville City Council and his conservative stance on taxes. His opponent is Nicole Reid of Warren.
District 24 (Harrison Township and parts of Clinton and Macomb townships): Incumbent Anthony Forlini, R-Harrison Township, is seeking a term in Washington for Michigan’s 10th Congressional District, which opened the Republican race to three candidates. Forlini has endorsed rising conservative Steve Marino, who should be the one to face unopposed Democrat Dana Camphous-Peterson of Harrison Township.
District 25 (Sterling Heights and part of Warren): Incumbent Henry Yanez’s Democratic challenge isn’t serious, and there is much to be desired on the Republican side.
District 28 (Center Line and part of Warren): Voters must choose who will serve the remainder of Derek Miller’s vacated seat after being appointed county treasurer, and the two-year term that will begin in January. Republican Antoine Davison will face one of four Democrats. Warren councilman Patrick Green, seems to have the necessary political experience.
District 30 (Utica, parts of Sterling Heights and Shelby Township): All four candidates seeking the Republican nomination don’t have a lot of experience, but Diana Farrington, wife of term-limited Rep. Jeff Farrington, a mortgage auditor, is best suited for the role. The winner will face Michael Notte, Democrat and son of late Sterling Heights Mayor Richard Notte.
District 31 (Fraser, Mt. Clemens and part of Clinton Township): Librarian Lisa Valerio-Nowc of Clinton Township is preferable to Austin Negipe on the Republican side. Clinton Township Treasurer Bill Sowerby is our choice in the Democratic race.
District 32 (Extending from Kenockee to Ira Township): Term-limited Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township, made the right decision to endorse Pamela Hornberger of Chesterfield Township over two other Republicans in the primary. Democrat Paul Manley is running unopposed.
District 33 (Richmond and Macomb townships): Richmond City Council member Jeff Yaroch stands out in a crowded Republican field, including the Armada Township daughter of late State Senator Douglas Carl. Yaroch should face the unopposed Democrat, Yani Warda of Utica.
Macomb County Commission
District 4 (Southern and eastern Sterling Heights): Republican Ron Babin was the only candidate in this commissioner’s race who responded to our questionnaire, and has respectable conservative credentials. But Sterling Heights Mayor Pro Tem Joseph Romano is the only Republican who possesses the required experience to serve the district. He should face Democrat Liz Sierawski of Sterling Heights, who is running unopposed.
District 5 (Northern Sterling Heights): We see no reason to unseat Sterling Heights incumbent Robert Mijac on the Democratic side. Sterling Heights Republican Maria Grot failed to respond to our questionnaire, so Roger Lonsway, who knows Macomb County politics well, gets our endorsement.
District 8 (Lenox and Chesterfield townships, New Haven, and New Baltimore): Republican Phil Kraft of New Baltimore earned our endorsement by answering our questionnaire with a pledge to cut spending. Neither of the Democrats, Paul Esposito and David Lusk, both of Chesterfield Township, responded to our questionnaire.
District 9 (Part of Macomb Township, Mount Clemens, and Clinton Township): Former Michigan Democratic Party chairman Mark Brewer should face Republican Douglas Trost of Clinton Township.
District 10 (St. Clair Shores and Harrison Township): Macomb County Republican Party Chairwoman Linda Burns Torp should face Harrison Township entrepreneur Jimmy Gwizdala.
District 12 (Clinton Township): Not much is known about Republican Jeff Ford of Clinton Township, but he may be a better choice than former Health One Credit Union CEO, James Perna, who was ousted by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services because the credit union was “operating in an unsafe and unsound condition.” Incumbent Democrat Bob Smith is running unopposed.
District 13 (Macomb Township): Incumbent Commissioner Joe Sabatini, a Republican, deserves to be nominated again and should face Martha O’Kray, also of Macomb Township.
Macomb public works commissioner
We were surprised to learn in March that Republican Candice Miller, who represents Michigan’s 10th Congressional District in Washington, D.C., would not be running for governor in 2018. Instead, she announced a challenge to long-time Macomb County Public Works Commissioner incumbent Democrat Anthony Marrocco.
Miller has the endorsement of Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, a Democrat. She served Michiganians well in Washington, and we’re delighted to welcome her home. Candice Miller has our support against Joseph Hunt of Warren.
Macomb County sheriff
Incumbent Anthony Wickersham, a Democrat is running unopposed. Republican Phil Neumeyer, one with 35 years of experience, deserves the nomination over perennial candidate Paul Smith.
Macomb County clerk
We prefer Sylvia Grot, wife of Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot, in the Republican race and Warren Clerk Paul Wojno on the Democratic side.
Macomb County treasurer
Among the Republicans running, including the former Shelby Township treasurer Paul Viar who was once up for recall, we support LarryRocca. Democrat Derek Miller is running unopposed.