KENTWOOD, MI — With longtime Kent County Commissioner Harold Mast not looking for reelection, a bunch of recent challengers have entered the fray for the seat masking elements of Kentwood and Wyoming.

4 Democrats will sq. off within the Aug. 7 major to find out who will go on to face the uncontested Republican candidate, Jill Martinez, within the November basic election.

The county’s 12th District was long-held by Mast, a Republican. It covers jap Wyoming and western Kentwood.

The Democratic candidates within the major are Keith Courtade, Monica Sparks, Katy Steele-Barone and Scott Urbanowski.

Sparks, 46, is an entrepreneur and real-estate investor who at the moment serves on the board of the Kentwood Planning Fee. She was named certainly one of “The 50 Most Influential Ladies in West Michigan” in 2018 by the Grand Rapids Enterprise Journal.

Steele-Barone, 36, is a graduate of Grand Rapids Group School, the place she studied prison justice and enterprise administration. She at the moment serves on the board of the Wyoming Housing Fee.

On June 28, Steele-Barone was arrested after she allegedly blocked site visitors on a busy downtown Grand Rapids highway as a part of a protest towards the county’s contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. At arraignment every week later, she and 6 others arrested pleaded not responsible to at least one depend of failing or refusing to obey a police officer’s lawful command, a 93-day misdemeanor. The case is pending, with a subsequent listening to date of July 26.

Courtade, 56, is the one candidate to have beforehand served on the Kent County Board of Commissioners. Courtade held the eighth District seat, which encompasses most of Wyoming, from 2008 till his defeat the next election in 2010. He’s a Normal Motors worker.

Urbanowski, 30, is the president of Humanoid Digital, a digital media advertising agency. He holds a bachelor’s diploma in political science and served a yr because the Grand Knight of the Wyoming-area Knights of Columbus council.

Solutions had been calmly edited for grammar and readability.

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Why are you working for workplace?


“I’m working for the workplace of Kent County Commissioner to advocate for the continued companies for revered seniors, honored veterans, these with particular wants, households, people and youngsters. Residents deserve entry to psychological well being and well being care, truthful inexpensive housing, financial growth for jobs in addition to parks and recreation companies for Kent County residents. The county commissioners should not abandon residents when budgeting for Kent County companies.”


“I’m working for the Kent County Fee as a result of we’d like somebody on the Board with the braveness to face as much as the 1 % and expose their manipulations of our coverage and our funds. For too lengthy the richest and strongest in West Michigan have had free reign to destroy the environment, our well being, our households, and our financial alternatives. By providing favors, funding, and endorsements to candidates of their alternative, they’ve purchased and paid for his or her voice within the press and native authorities, drowning out the folks breaking their backs to make them these earnings.

Sufficient is sufficient.”


“I’ve served on the Kent County Board of Commissioners. As a Kent County Commissioner, I used to be a voice for working households, the center class, the poor and senior residents — all the residents. I introduced a dedication to fiscal accountability, tax equity and open authorities. Well being and security are necessary to observe guard. I assist the senior millage and veteran’s companies and can oppose any diversion of funds. As all the time, I’ll demand open debate on necessary county points and oppose any efforts to make selections behind closed doorways. Elected officers needs to be held accountable for his or her selections. I’ll deal with each particular person with respect and courtesy. I pledge to offer sturdy, efficient management that’s truthful and truthful. I ask in your vote on Aug. 7, 2018, and I look ahead to serving you as soon as once more!”

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“I am working for Kent County Fee for 3 causes:

1. The county does necessary work to serve the much less lucky and our veterans — two teams whom I really feel a selected calling to serve.

2. Belief in authorities may be very low. I need to do my small half to revive folks’s belief of their authorities.

3. Few elected officers at any degree of presidency have confronted the form of monetary hardship that extraordinary folks have confronted. As a youngster and union member who has confronted and overcome poverty, my election would be certain that extraordinary residents have somebody advocating for them on the desk.”

What’s the biggest problem dealing with the workplace you search? How will you tackle it?


“The well being and security of Kent County residents is being jeopardized. Toxic chemical compounds have contaminated water each within the Plainfield Township/Rockford space and close to Gerald R. Ford Worldwide Airport. In the meantime, many older properties nonetheless have poisonous ranges of lead.

Quite than reacting to public well being points after they happen, the county must be proactive in making certain that any threats to public well being are found and addressed earlier than they change into widespread crises. Moreover, the county must observe up with these affected by PFAS and lead poisoning to observe their long-term well being.”


“The problem is to be in contact, to succeed in out constantly to the residents of this Kentwood-Wyoming district. As a Commissioner, I used to be a voice for the folks of my district and served to characterize them. This was executed as a board member of ACSET (Space Group Providers Employment and Coaching Council), the place I labored to seek out good jobs for laid-off staff. Additionally whereas serving at ACSET, I helped households receive support for important payments and residential enhancements, serving to preserve many individuals of their properties via robust instances and serving to preserve their dwelling values in place.

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As a member of the Community 180 Board, I helped households find companies and address the calls for of caring for relations who face psychological and bodily challenges. I additionally participated recurrently with the Wyoming/Kentwood Chamber of Commerce. I’ll use my expertise, confirmed monitor file, good attendance for participation at Board of Commissioners’ conferences and, particularly, outreach to residents to handle the problem to characterize them and their pursuits to the county board.”


“Revenue inequality, for my part, is the best problem for the Kent County Commissioner in District 12. To be able to make change doable it’s crucial that whoever wins this seat will help the opposite 18 Commissioners comprehend the struggles that households within the different districts are dealing with. Mass incarceration. Deportations, and missing driver’s licenses, prevailing wage, well being care, housing, and employment that pays a dwelling wage have all put a pressure on my neighborhood and household {that a} commissioner from Ada or East Grand Rapids is not experiencing.

We’d like somebody in these conferences to talk up for us.”


“I’ve a crowded major with opponents who’re inexperienced and don’t perceive the true position of a Kent County Commissioner. I’m assembly with residents and knocking as many doorways as doable to tell and educate residents on the job description. I’m skilled to serve and inclusive of all Kent County residents.”

This yr, MLive Media Group partnered with the League of Ladies Voters of Michigan to offer candidate data and different voting sources to our readers. Every candidate was requested to reply a sequence of questions on their coverage stances.

Data on all state and federal races and lots of of Michigan’s county and native races shall be obtainable at Vote411.org – the election-information web site run by the League of Ladies Voters.



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