Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why I have filed for re-election to the Oakland County Commission

Wednesday January 18, 2012

After being a member of the Oakland County Commission from the 25th District for less than 13 months, I have decided to run again for a second term in 2012. I have tried to represent well the 50,000 residents of Ferndale, Hazel Park, and southern Royal Oak, and even though state and county republicans are trying to reduce the number of commissioners and redraw new districts to protect their majority status, I am not giving up the goals for which I was elected in 2010.

When I went into the Board of Elections in Pontiac last week to file for re-election, I was told that we should not do so, and that persons interested in running for county commission were advised to “hold off”. This is because of the late December power grab by the local and state Republican establishment to change our system of government, eliminate seats, and re-write the district lines before this year’s election. I did not heed the request, however, and insisted on filing for re-election to the 25th District, which I did on Wednesday January 11, 2012.

I ran last time around to advocate for regional mass transit, better representation and support for southern and urban sections of our county, stronger environmental policies, opposition to urban sprawl, and inclusion and embracing of diversity. I succeeded in sponsoring resolutions to support “Complete Streets” policies and in issuing the first proclamation from the county recognizing Gay Pride. I joined the public services and human resources committees, and had an attendance record of 97%. I also tried, but was blocked, from getting a “fracking” moratorium considered for our county. During this time, we did learn that a new sports park was coming to Southfield, and more funds were coming to keep alive a nature preserve in Madison Heights.

The Democratic Caucus appointed me Co-Chair of their fundraising efforts, as well as Public Relations and Media Co-Chair.

To be honest, however, my usual optimism and friendly demeanor have been tested time and again. Many of our efforts at support for veteran causes, jobs creation, support for local governments and urban issues, as well as support for diversity, have been stymied by the Republican majority, which has held power in Oakland County for more than 40 years. Almost all of the time, votes taken at the commission have all 15 Republicans voting exactly the same as a solid block.

While I have filed to run in November under the current court-approved and bi-partisan produced redistricted map as a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 25th District, the truth is we don’t know if there will even BE a 25th District. If Republicans succeed in their efforts to redraw and reduce our county commission, I will still attempt in some way to stand for election to better represent the good people of our great county, regardless of any new maps, districts, or gerrymandering they may install.


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