ad-visor&chronicle - 2 years,
Oaklawn Hospital - 7.5 years,
Travel Agency Manager & Consultant - Calhoun Travel Agency - 23 years
No prior experience.
Daughters: Amanda Willerick and Caitlyn Willerick
My primary interest in serving Calhoun County is to help people. I am deeply concerned about our residents’ safety on our roads and our ability to keep existing and attract new businesses because of our deteriorating road infrastructure. I am interested in business development and a renewed focus on retaining existing business and attracting a range of new business, both large and small. I am interested in addressing the needs of our county’s senior citizens and veterans, helping eliminate the maze of red tape for services and programs. I want all the residents of District 6 to know their opinions and concerns are heard, respected and considered by myself, the board and county officials.
After years of neglect by the Road Commission, everyone agrees roads are atrocious. We now have a road department that seems to need a series of clear, concise expectations to follow, with consequences if not adhered to. In District 6 I hear rumors/observations by constituents that road workers may only have one truck load of asphalt for the day so road repairs are being done haphazardly, and that repair trucks sit idle for lengthy periods of time with no visible movement or obvious repair work being accomplished. If proven true, these need to be investigated and acted upon by the board. We need to coordinate and adhere to a countywide comprehensive maintenance program for our roads.
Many townships had no choice but to take partial ownership in the costs of road pavement and repair to get repair work started. The current split is 70/30, with the heaviest burden on townships. This split should be reevaluated. The last evaluations of many of the District 6 roads happened between 2010-2013, and at those evaluations most were ranked in the fair to failed stages of disrepair. We also need to be aware of failing or failed bridges. These are a safety concern and hinder transportation on roads due to weight restrictions. At least one bridge in District 6 is completely shut down, and another has weight restrictions that if further reduced may cause fire station response issues.
I haven't heard complaints from the District 6 township boards or constituents regarding county parks. Having beautiful, well-maintained, user-friendly parks with various activities available for county resident use improves our quality of life and enhances our positioning in attracting new business and new residents. I sit on the Marshall Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Board where we oversee and make recommendations to city council, and coordinate efforts with the city to oversee the projects for compatibility with the master plan on the works of three volunteer parks committees – Ketchum, Shearman and Brooks.
We have an aging population, often with family members living far away from their parents. Senior citizens and their families often find the numerous phone calls and red tape to access programs and services difficult to maneuver. Currently the maze is formidable, with many dead ends and repeated requests for assistance that are seemingly unable to be fulfilled. Sometimes I think people give up trying to find help and some seniors don't receive the assistance for which they qualify. In addition, finding quality and trustworthy personal care for seniors that don't qualify for assistance is difficult, especially when phoning from afar. I'm eager to help address these issues.
I have not considered promoting any changes to existing taxes.
I have worked in industry and have owned a small business. I have held a variety of volunteer positions at the local level, including the Marshall Chamber, the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance, and the Calhoun County Fair Board. I have served my community in the Marshall Exchange Club and have served as President three separate times.
I have served at the Township level on the Marshall Township Planning Commission and have served for 14 years on the Marshall School Board and was president of the board for 6 years. I have served at the State level on the Michigan Towing Association.
I am married to Velvet Potter and have two children, Todd and Mariah Potter.
I will bring to the County Board a wealth of experience in both the day to day operation of a small business, making payroll, and making sure that expenses match revenues and broader experience in managing larger public budgets such as the $30M Marshall Public Schools Board budget. My focus has always been on cooperation and collaboration and I will bring my proven skills in those areas to the County Board. My experience in serving on the Marshall School Board during the cooperative agreement with Albion through to annexation has given me experience in dealing with state level legislators and with a variety of local leaders. My focus will be to run the County government like a business,
I fully agree with the decision to eliminate the Road Commission as an unelected and unnecessary level of government. The County Board has proven much more responsive to the specific needs of the people o Calhoun County. I am supportive of efforts to require sealed bids and quality control which has resulted in better prices (and savings) for the County and better material being put on the roads. The County has also collaborated with Jackson County to share personnel and equipment. All of these efforts are resulting in significant change and improvement in our roads.
The County should not put any general fund dollars towards the roads and these funds are absolutely necessary for the other functions of County government, primarily law enforcement and the jail. The County has built positive relationships with the townships over the last two years through standing behind its road work with warranties and with better customer service. The County should continue to work with the Townships to enable them to borrow to fix the roads as has been done in Bedford and Pennfield townships (and as is proposed in Emmett). A County wide millage was examined two years ago and it was determined that the revenue it would generate would not be sufficient.
Yes, the County Board Chair Derek King, who also chairs the Parks and Recreation Commission, has done an excellent job leading the parks commission forward. The parks have minimal funding from the County and the County should continue to seek grant opportunities for improvements. The roads must be fixed before money is spent on the Parks.
I would like to see County law enforcement receive the pay and benefits necessary to retain current employees and encourage the employment of new deputies. My other focus would be the roads which have been neglected for far too long in our County. As the owner of a tow company and repair facility, I have seen the damage that the roads have caused.