Batzer, Holmer vie for District 7 County Commissioner seat

MANISTEE COUNTY — Two candidates will be featured on the ballot for the District 7 county commissioner seat.

Margaret Batzer, Democrat, and David Holmer, Libertarian, answered a series of questions for the Manistee News Advocate, with responses under 250 words. Responses are published as is.

The News Advocate sent questionnaires to all candidates in contested races.

MNA: Please introduce yourself and describe your background, professionally, politically or personally.

BATZER

BATZER

BATZER: I’m Margaret Batzer, and I would be honored to continue to serve as your County Commissioner for the 7th District.

I’m a 4th generation Manistee resident and MHS graduate. 16 years ago, I returned to Manistee to start Healing Perspectives Acupuncture, after earning my BA from Kalamazoo College and Master’s from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.

10 years ago, I opened a second office in Ludington. For 5 years, I worked with cancer patients at the West Michigan Regional Cancer and Blood Center in Freesoil as part of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine team. In 2010, the Governor appointed me to the Michigan Board of Acupuncture, where I served for 4 years.

For the last 9 years, I’ve volunteered with the Spirit of the Woods Music Association. We provide a Winter concert series and a free, family-friendly annual music festival in Brethren.

In my practice, my goal is to work with people toward their best quality of life. My priority in my work is to best serve the needs of each individual. As your County Commissioner, I bring the same concern for the well-being of all of our residents.

Since my election to the County Board in 2016, I have kept our Manistee residents from all walks of life in mind with every decision I make.

HOLMER

HOLMER

HOLMER: I was born and raised in Michigan. My family has been a part of Manistee county since the early 1950s. I’m the author and illustrator of 5 published books and a veteran of Gulf War/Desert Storm.

I enjoy working in the community and volunteering for local charities. I’m an active member of the Manistee Choral Society, the Manistee Civic Players and many other local organizations. I am also active in my church choir and men’s fellowship.

My occupational experience varies: truck driving, farming, fruit picking, cooking, retail management and business owner. My degree is in Computer Science with a minor in Accounting.

My educational background also includes: chemistry, quality control; X-ray; German literature; Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Studies. I am also a co-founder of the Manistee Writers’ Group.

MNA: Why are you running for Manistee County Commissioner? What qualities would you bring this seat?

BATZER: Since my election in 2016, I have actively worked to build an environment where our residents and businesses can thrive. I bring collaboration, persistence, and an openness to creative solutions.

I do my best to educate myself on the issues, and listen to diverse viewpoints from you as citizens as well as experts to make informed decisions.

As your County Commissioner, I hope to continue to work for you to improve the quality of life for all of the citizens of Manistee. I’m running to promote quality, high-paying jobs in Manistee while preserving the natural beauty of our region. I do my best to listen to your needs and work to find creative solutions.

I look at the big picture, while considering all of the moving pieces. How can we collaborate with other agencies, organizations, and levels of government? Who is already working on a project so we don’t duplicate efforts?

Decisions aren’t always easy, with many needs in Manistee county and limited funds available. I support seeking additional grant opportunities for equipment and projects. I strive for responsible and transparent use of public money, so you know how your tax dollars are spent locally.

As your Commissioner, my only agenda is to serve you and provide greater opportunities for Manistee County residents at every stage of life.

HOLMER: There are many reasons why I am running. My campaign began because I felt the people were being ignored and unheard by county government. As the campaign grew so did my passion for the community, and I realized that I had even more to offer this community than just an ear and a voice.

30% of the population of Manistee County is living in poverty. And, I have over 10 years experience working with the homeless and low income in California.

Also, over the past three years, I have been blessed with some good relationships with elected officials here in the City of Manistee. I have heard some of their struggles and frustrations. It seemed to echo the same concerns that the people in my district have voiced.

I would like to end this feeling of being at odds with county government by bringing unity, collaboration and open-mindedness to the table.

MNA: Explain how you plan to address specific issues and/or improve Manistee County if elected.

BATZER: While serving on the County Board, I have worked formally and informally on economic development in Manistee. This is a broad topic that includes creating high-paying jobs, an attractive environment for businesses and residents, quality housing, education opportunities, transportation, infrastructure, policy development and many other things.

Economic development involves collaboration with governments at all levels, business leaders, nonprofits, and consideration of the type of community we want to create.

As your representative at the County, I work to ensure that needed services are maintained and public money is spent wisely. You have a right to know what is happening in local government. I search for collaborative solutions that maintain service, improve access, and save money whenever possible.

I support maintaining County ownership of our Medical Care Facility. Our Medical Care provides an essential service, and has touched so many of our lives. Manistee County residents have first right of access in the event of a waiting list, and no one can be denied service due to financial need. Our Medical Care is financially solvent.

I’m Margaret Batzer, and I respectfully ask for your vote for your County Commission seat.

HOLMER: 1) Following the success of the Manistee Writers’ Group’s Book Expo, I would like to continue bringing other industries to the area. Industry jobs will sustain our county infrastructure and grow revenues.

2) I would like to use my background and implement Home Ownership as an option instead of more Low-Income Subsidized Housing. Not only would this help the betterment of those living in poverty, but would greatly benefit our community as well.

3) I would like to work with the City and promote their ideas that would improve the downtown area.

And, 4) I would still like to make some policy changes to the county board meetings that would allow the people to have greater access to their elected officials.

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