Kalamazoo County Election Candidates

tim-snowTim Snow, Kalamazoo County Clerk and Register of Deeds, Republican Incumbent

Tim Snow is proud to serve as your Kalamazoo County Clerk and Register of Deeds. I am a life-long resident of Kalamazoo County; 57 years old; married to Renee Beck and we currently live in the City of Kalamazoo. We have 2 daughters who are both students at Wayne State University.

I am a graduate of Comstock High School and Central Michigan University. I served as Comstock Township Clerk for 12 years prior to being elected County Clerk and Register of Deeds in 1996. A Certified Municipal Clerk, I am also a Master Certified County Official and Certified Elections Administrator. Leadership is also important to me, as I have served as President of the Michigan Association of County Clerks and am currently serving as President of the United County Officers Association of Michigan. In 2011, I was selected as County Clerk of the Year. Locally, I am a member and past Congregational President of Trinity Lutheran Church in Kalamazoo and have served on a number of governmental boards.

The County Clerk and Register of Deeds is continually placing more information online to aid in transparency. The public can access deed information and print documents at home for a small fee. Vital records information is available online as are campaign finance records for Kalamazoo County candidates. It is important to continue adding more information online and we plan to do so in the next several years. In addition, new election equipment will be selected in early 2017. It is important that someone experienced in elections, who has programmed elections and has served on state committees researching the new equipment lead the process to determine the election equipment vendor for Kalamazoo County. Public information and training regarding the new system will be a priority in 2017.

john-taylorJohn Taylor, Kalamazoo County Clerk/Register of Deeds, Democrat, Challenger

My name is John Taylor and I am running to be your next Kalamazoo County Clerk/Register of Deeds. I live with my wife, Meredith Place, in Kalamazoo’s Knollwood neighborhood.

Kalamazoo is a community that means a great deal to me. I first ran for office as a Western student in 2002, and have dedicated my life to public service ever since. For the past two years, I have had the pleasure of serving as Chair of the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners. During this time, I have guided a politically divided board to create real change. Kalamazoo County is now one of the most fiscally stable public entities in the state of Michigan, with a AA+ credit rating and a 115% funded pension account. We have navigated over $50 million dollars in local county construction projects, all without raising taxes. All of this has been accomplished through long-term planning, steady fiscal oversight, and most importantly, bi-partisan cooperation.

As a County Commissioner for the past fourteen years, I know firsthand how our future depends on elections. The right to self-governance is a vital part of what keeps our country great. The ability for every citizen to vote, the right we all have to shape our future and decide the direction of our government and community is the very reason we have endured as a free society. I am running for office because we need a strong leader who will defend and protect our right to vote as Kalamazoo’s County Clerk. My top priorities include providing equitable access to voting, creating uniformity in the training and reporting process during elections, and improving the efficiency for requesting and obtaining documents. I hope I can count on your support this November.

Incumbent Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting, a Democrat, faces opposition from Republican Don Smith. The four-year post will pay $123,635.20 if Getting is re-elected, $113,339.20 if Smith wins.

jeff-gettingJeffrey Getting, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor, Democrat Incumbent
Name: Jeffrey S. Getting. Age: 52. Family information: Married to Kris Getting, three children. Qualifications: Kalamazoo County Prosecutor, 2013-present, Getting Law Offices, 1998-2012, Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecutor, 1990-1998.

Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan (PAAM), Board of Directors, 2014-present; PAAM Legislative Committee; PAAM Best Practices Initiative; Prevention Works, Board of Directors; Kalamazoo County Elder Abuse Prevention Coalition Member; Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program (KPEP) Board of Directors.

Why I’m running for reelection: I am running for reelection to continue serving the people of Kalamazoo County as the Prosecuting Attorney. Kalamazoo County is a great place to live and we can make it even better for every person. We need a Prosecutor who is both tough and smart on crime. We need a Prosecutor who recognizes that dangerous criminals must be held accountable, while offering access to problem-solving courts for nonviolent offenders to reduce recidivism rates.

Under my leadership, Kalamazoo County has improved the prosecution of dangerous criminals and expanded the reach of problem-solving courts to reduce recidivism rates. We’ve enhanced the prosecution of dangerous criminals through a program of High Impact Prosecutions (HIP), a partnership with local law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for West Michigan that is identifying, prosecuting and incarcerating Kalamazoo County’s most dangerous criminals.

We’ve also expanded problem-solving courts for veterans and young people through the Juvenile Mental Health Treatment and Recovery Court and our new Veterans Court, which will come online in the coming months. The Swift and Sure Sanctions Program is making sure that probationers are held accountable, while giving them opportunities to be rehabilitated.

We must continue the work we’ve started and keep making Kalamazoo County safer and stronger for everyone.

don-smithDon Smith, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor, Republican Challenger

My name is Don Smith. I am 45 years old. I am currently a partner at Willis Law, a full service law firm. I am married to Mindie Smith, the Director of Substance Abuse Services for southwest Michigan. I have two children, ages 14 and 11.

I graduated from Kalamazoo Christian High School and received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology/Sociology from Hope College. I later graduated Magna Cum Laude from Michigan State University School of Law.

I worked for 12 years with Child Protective Services in Kalamazoo. For 6 years after that, I was an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Kalamazoo. For the last 4+ years, I have practiced criminal defense and juvenile law throughout southwestern Michigan. I have also been appointed Special Prosecutor in several cases.

I believe that Kalamazoo needs a Prosecutor that will do everything possible to keep this county safe. This means aggressively prosecuting all criminal laws and local ordinances and developing a reputation for doing so. In the last 4 years, crime has increased and we are now the 39th most dangerous place in the country! Meanwhile our recently expanded jail sits half-full. This is unacceptable.

As a Prosecuting Attorney taking action on behalf of you and all other citizens, it is important to make sure my efforts in each and every case are truly consistent with society’s best interests. Our Prosecutor must use every tool in the arsenal to not only hold offenders responsible, also to deter crime. The statistics clearly show that this has not been happening. I am also particularly concerned with our seniors and the financial crimes that they suffer from. Every effort will be made to not only prosecute those who exploit our senior citizens, but also to get any property stolen from them actually returned or repaid.

Incumbent Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller, a Democrat, faces opposition from Republican Jeff Heppler. Heppler did not provide a biography or statement. The four-year post would pay an annual salary of $133,952 to the incumbent, $113,339.20 if the challenger wins.

Richard C. Fuller III, Kalamazoo County Sheriff, Democrat Incumbent

Age: 52. Married to Lisa, daughter Tamila (Sam), son Scott (Rachel). Bachelors of Science in Organizational Management, Spring Arbor University, Associates in Law Enforcement, Kellogg CC, Marshall High School.

Sheriff of 7 years, veteran of 30 years in law enforcement, graduate of National Sheriff’s Institute and MCOLES certified police officer that has held position of Dispatcher, Deputy, Sergeant and Detective. Also creator/leader of the County Meth Team, Project Lifesaver and Field Training Program. Trained by U.S. Dept. of Justice in Jail Administration.

My passion for this community grows every day. I share that passion as your Sheriff. One of my focuses has been shifting law enforcement from “patrol and incarcerate” to “serve and rehabilitate.” Inside the jail, I’ve established services focused on helping inmates in their pursuit of a better life. I provide Life-Skills, Mental Health and Addiction services. Outside the jail I am focusing on newer threats to our community such as elder abuse, human trafficking and scams that target all citizens. I am running for re-election so that I can continue to focus on these programs and address these threats as your leading law enforcement official.

Republican County Treasurer Mary Balkema is being challenged by Sunny Saura Sahu, Democrat. He did not provide biographical or information about his positions. The four-year post pays an annual salary of $111,030.20 to the incumbent if she wins re-election, $90,438.40 to the challenger if he wins.

mary-balkemaMary Balkema, Kalamazoo County treasurer, Republican Incumbent

Age: 49. Family James R. Balkema, husband; Aaron Balkema, son; Sarah Balkema, daughter; James C. Balkema, son. High school: Kalamazoo Christian High School (1985). Undergraduate education: WMU, B.S. Major: Accounting (1989). Other education: Harvard Kennedy School – Executive Series for Women in Power 2001 Certified Public funds Investment Manager 2012 Housing Finance Development Finance Professional 2012.

Employment: Kalamazoo County Treasurer Kalamazoo County Government May 2007 to Present.

Previous employment Kalamazoo City Commissioner 2001-2007 Old Kent/Fifth Third Securities 2000 – 2003 First of America Securities 1985-1999.

Corporate, civic, community memberships Kalamazoo County Land Bank Authority Chair LISC Local Advisory Committee Board Chair, KNHS board member, County Plat Board, County Apportionment Commission, Election Commission, OPEB Board, Legislative Co-Chair for the Michigan Association of County Treasurers, President – Michigan Association of Land Banks, Greater Kalamazoo United Way Executive Board.

My priorities include: 1. Maintain a strong bond rating, an audit with no material comments and strong investment portfolio. 2. Decrease the number of tax foreclosures 3. Continue the investment in the built environment through blight elimination and tax base growth. As the owner of the Vicksburg Paper Mill, I understand complex projects and the partnerships needed to place tax delinquent parcels back on the tax roll.

I have the experience, educational background in accounting and the technical skill to keep Kalamazoo County financially strong, economically viable and running smoothly.

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