Supervisor candidates make final push

Maxine McClelland

Those in Big Rapids and Morton township races prepare for Aug. 7 primary election

MECOSTA COUNTY — With less than a week until voters head to the polls, local township supervisor candidates are making their final campaign efforts to encourage voters to choose them on election day.

Longtime Big Rapids Township Supervisor Maxine McClelland is being challenged by local businessman Bill Stanek to lead the township, while in Morton Township, current County Commissioner Dick Wheeler is challenging incumbent Supervisor Jim Quinlan.

All four candidates are seeking the Republican nominations in their respective townships, with the winners to appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballots. No Democrat challengers are seeking election as supervisor in either township. Both seats are four-year terms.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at locations throughout Mecosta County.

Leading up to Tuesday’s primary election, Stanek plans to continue doing door-to-door campaigning, while McClelland plans to let her reputation speak for her. McClelland’s supporters have done a majority of her campaigning throughout the primary election cycle, including posting political signs and distributing flyers.

“I’ve been pretty busy at the township office. I do have some folks (working for me); they’ve got signs purchased and have been putting those up,” McClelland said. “I’m not doing much, because I have to do my work as supervisor. … If the people want me back in office, I’m going to serve.”

To generate support for his candidacy, Stanek said he has visited more than 1,000 residences within the township. He has attended several small, private meet-and-greet events at supporters’ homes, and those on his campaign also have posted political signs throughout the area.

Bill Stanek

“I’m telling people I can communicate better with the city, the county, other townships and our residents, which is one thing I want to improve upon. If we can communicate with them and get their involvement, we’ll be a stronger township,” Stanek said. “I try to stress to people that Maxine has done us a lot of good over the years, but that it’s time for somebody different to lead the township.”

Supporters for both McClelland and Stanek have conducted letter to the editor campaigns in the Pioneer. Their letters have appeared on the opinion page during the past several weeks.

In Morton Township, both Quinlan and Wheeler have spoken with voters to gain their support. The incumbent supervisor has run a low-key campaign, which has included word-of-mouth referrals and calls to constituents.

“I’m just doing my job (as supervisor), and part of my job is interacting with the public. I don’t have any special activities planned,” Quinlan said. “I’ll be out during Mecosta Days this weekend talking to township residents. … People have had four years to look at my work; I believe they think I have done a good job.”

Wheeler is in the process of mailing campaign flyers, which he expects to reach township residents this week. He has held meet-and-greet events, posted political signs and was in the Mecosta Fourth of July parade. Like Quinlan, he also will be campaigning at Mecosta Days this weekend.

If elected, he plans to work to attract new businesses to the township.

“One thing I’ve found about this township is that there is little to no effort to attract new businesses or situations that would employ more people within the township,” Wheeler said. “We need to sit down and talk with all the businesses. … This is not a campaign promise; it’s a fact. I will be on everybody’s doorstep after my election asking what they would like Morton Township to do for them.”

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Posted by Jonathan Eppley

Jonathan Eppley is news editor for the Pioneer. He designs and copy edits the Pioneer daily, and manages staff in the evening. Eppley joined the Pioneer staff in 2010. He can be reached at (231) 592-8357 or at jeppley@pioneergroup.com.

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