Benzie County official announces candidacy for state rep

BENZIE COUNTY — After years spent promoting the natural environment of Northwest Michigan, Beulah resident Edward Hoogterp has set his sights on the political environment in Lansing.

Hoogterp, Benzie County drain commissioner and past president of the Crystal Lake & Watershed Association, will be on the ballot in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary to represent the 101st District in the Michigan House of Representatives. The 101st District encompasses



Manistee, Mason, Benzie and Leelanau counties.

“I’m doing this because I want the State of Michigan to start passing laws that protect the environment and that help people lead decent lives,” Hoogterp said. “That can’t happen as long as elections are based on raising big money and pleasing a few favored interests. And it won’t happen until elected officials understand that we need to stand up for our own principles but also sit down and listen to others.”

Noting that most Michigan residents believe political campaigns are too expensive, too negative and too long, Hoogterp said his primary campaign will accept no funds from political action committees (PACs), will limit individual contributions to a maximum of $100 and will hold off on the “intensive phase” of campaigning until the summer solstice in June.

“I’m not going to say one bad word about anyone who lives in this district,” he said in a press release. “Michigan is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Until we learn to trust and work together, we will never address tough issues like education funding, environmental protection, climate change, roads, health care, mental health services and so forth. We need to move forward on all of that if we’re ever to bring young families and good jobs back to Northern Michigan.”

Hoogterp is an environmental consultant and former journalist who worked on watershed plans for the Betsie and Little Manistee rivers. He was editor of the Manistee News Advocate from 1975-78 and, for 26 years, was a writer and editor in Grand Rapids, Jackson and Lansing for the Booth Newspapers group, now

He is author of the West Michigan Almanac (2006, University of Michigan Press) and of the National Trust for Historic Preservation booklet “Working Assets for Sustainable Farms,” which explored the use of historic barns in organic and sustainable agricultural operations.

He and his wife, Millie, have lived in Benzonia Township, outside the village of Beulah, since 2004. They have three grown children.

Others in the race for the 101st District are Democrat Kathy Wiejaczka, of Empire, and Republican Jack O’Malley, of Lake Ann.

The current officeholder, Republican Curt VanderWall, of Ludington, is not seeking re-election in the district.

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