ADRIAN — Two members of the Lenawee County Democrats announced late last month that they were challenging two incumbent Republicans for seats on the Lenawee County Board of Commissioners.
Juanita Kelley, chairperson of the Lenawee Democrats, announced that she was going challenge incumbent commissioner Terry Collins, R-Adrian, for the District 6 commission seat. Lenawee Democrats vice chairperson Bill Swift announced a challenge to commission chairman David Stimpson, R-Tecumseh, for the District 1 commission seat.
District 6 covers the west side of Adrian — voting precincts 4, 5 and 6. District 1 covers Tecumseh and Tecumseh Township.
Kelley said the campaigns are part of an effort to get more Democrats in representative positions within the county and to show residents they have Democratic options. Also, with their positions in the Lenawee Democrats where they encourage people to run for office, Kelley and Swift felt it necessary to gain firsthand experience in the process.
“I was looking at election data and I think that District 6 … could be a winnable Democratic district,” Kelley said in a phone interview Monday.
Kelley said that her primary issue is environmental stewardship, specifically recycling.
“That's probably one of my main focuses is trying to get that expanded and get some more bins in there hopefully,” Kelley said. “Every time I go, there's people there. This is obviously a service that people use a lot and that they want. I don't think I've ever been there and there hasn't been at least one other person.
“The environment is very important to me. It's always been important to me. And I think we need to be good stewards of the area in which we live and also the planet as a whole,” she said. “We need to try to reuse and recycle things that can be reused and recycled like glass, plastic and metal.”
Kelley was born in the county and raised in Medina Township. She briefly attended Siena Heights University and Jackson College but did not receive a degree due to finances. She and her husband moved to Adrian in June 2009 after briefly living in Jackson.
“I think I have a good idea of what people in the county care about and what their issues are, whether or not I always agree completely with their views is the other matter,” Kelley said. “I always think that we can be better.”
Swift, a Tecumseh resident since 2005, said in a news release that he is an outspoken critic of the conservative Republican ideology, which he believes is responsible for an “attack on the American bedrock principles of honesty, integrity and justice,” and was motivated to run by the current “crisis” faced by the nation which he wrote, “has been brought about by the unceasing and relentless attack by conservative Republicans on behalf of the powerful and the wealthy.”
“Those left behind by the 1%, the workers and the middle class, expect and deserve honesty, integrity and justice in their representative government,” Swift wrote. “Standing-up for people and principles and fighting for progressive, common sense solutions which embrace our American heritage of shared sacrifice is our duty.”
Swift is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University.
The only other contested race for county commission is to fill the District 7 seat of commissioner Bob Knoblauch, R-Riga Twp., who is not seeking another term. District 7 covers Blissfield, Deerfield, Palmyra, Ogden, Riga and Ridgeway townships. James Goetz of Blissfield, and Ken Lake of Riga are both running for the seat as Republicans and will face each other in a primary Aug. 4.