Macomb County Commission District 13

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    Leon Drolet

  • Martha O'Kray

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Biographical Information

What are the most pressing challenges facing the county in the next four years?

What are the county's biggest budgetary concerns, and how would you address them?

How would you propose handling the county jail population and existing and future criminal justice programs?

How would you propose having the county's executive and legislative branches of government work together more cooperatively?

What is your stance on raising elected officials salaries? If you support raises, what kind of raises do you support for the county's non-elected employees?

What programs would you enhance or introduce countywide and why?

What programs would you propose cutting countywide and why?

Which county-provided services need the most improvement, and what suggestions can you offer for making them better?

What is the county’s role in assisting financially struggling cities?

Do you support the proposed millage to fund regional transit in metro Detroit? Why or why not?

What is your position on outfitting the county sheriff’s department with body cameras?

Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?

With reports showing Michigan behind on education, what role if any do you see the county taking to improve education?

Has the county taken appropriate steps to prevent gun violence?

What is the county’s role in assisting financially struggling cities?

Where do you stand on settling refugees in Michigan, and Macomb County in particular?

What will you do to improve the lives of low-income residents in Macomb County?

What would you do to improve the county’s workforce development efforts?

How would your policies help to fix aging infrastructure in Macomb County?

Do you support and will you appear at campaign events with your party’s presidential nominee?

Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy? If so, explain.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor? If so, explain.

City of residence Macomb Township
Age 49
Family Single
Education Bachelor Studies at Oakland University
Vehicles owned 2014 Ford Escape
Professional Experience Former retail sales management, former cabinet maker, nonprofit management
Political Experience Michigan House of Representatives (2000 - 2006; Macomb County Commissioner (1999 - 2000, 2007 - 2008)
Race/ethnicity Human race. Mixed Caucasian ethnicity (French, Polish, Irish, German, Scottish, Dutch, Native American)
Campaign Website
Macomb County is at a crossroad between staying true to its roots as a frugal, limited-government county or evolving into a big, Wayne County style government.

The current Board Of Commissioners is leading us toward the latter by adding new layers of taxes over the past decade to fund extensive growth in mass transit, arts, general fund, etc. There is too much focus on what new things the government can fund and not enough attention to what made Macomb County attractive: lower taxes, lower crime, less bureaucracy, etc.
I'm more concerned about the budgets of individual taxpayers than growing the government's budget. The Board raised the general fund tax rate by 9% in 2009. They facilitated a 40% increase in the SMART mass transit tax in 2014. They have taken core veteran services out of the general fund budget and subject them to new special millages in order to use that general fund revenue for other spending. Other recent tax hikes have included a new millage for the Detroit Institute Of Arts and Detroit Zoo.

As property tax revenues recover from the Great Recession, the county's general fund tax should be gradually rolled back to the pre 2009 tax hike rate.
The county should aggressively offer to contract out county police deputy services to cities and townships. This provides lower rates for taxpayers and excellent public safety for residents. Currently, Macomb Township purchases policing services from the Macomb County Sheriff Department and receives very good service at rates much lower than those paid by neighboring townships like Chesterfield and Clinton who maintain their own, much more expensive departments and overhead.
The Macomb Board Of Commissioners is the branch of county government that oversees the budget of the executive branch and sets broad guidelines. The relationship is meant to be inherently adversarial as each branch serves as a check on the other. This does not mean commissioners and the executive cannot be cordial, professional, and cooperate to work out disputes. But, ultimately, it would be my job as a commissioner to represent the citizens and taxpayers of Macomb Township even if it means having to work through differing priorities with the executive and other commissioners.

A good commissioner cannot win every political disagreement, but knows which ones are most citizens.
I decided to run against incumbent Commissioner Sabatini after he voted to give his own position of county commissioner a 15% pay hike this past April and to increase pay for other county elected officials by up to 35%. If I defeat the incumbent, I will refuse to accept the pay hike.
I would focus on improving the county programs most essential to citizens: roads and public safety.
Eliminate the County Film Office. Sell the Martha T. Berry medical facility to a private owner. Eliminate the Green Schools Program and other nonessential county programs that do not benefit a clear majority of Macomb County residents.
Local roads. The average Macomb Township resident pays $120 annually in SMART bus tax and will pay a hefty $290 per year if the proposed regional transit tax is approved this November. Yet, according to the US Census Bureau, less than 1/2 of 1% of Macomb Township residents use mass transit.

The central planner obsession with people movers, buses, monorails, and the new Q-Line downtown might be fun for attending events downtown, but that is not how people travel 99% of the time.

Simply put, much of the tens of millions of dollars Macomb Township is required to pay for mass transit should be redirected to fixing local roads.

The county should offer struggling cities the opportunity to contract with the County Sheriff Department for policing services. This would save cities money on dispatch services, detective and lab services, and other cost savings.
No. See answer to previous question (two above this question). Unfortunately the Board Of Commissioners did support creation of the new Detroit Area Transit Authority and now Macomb Township residents are forced to be part of a system that is proposing a substantial tax hike on this November ballot. If voters in the overall Detroit region approve the tax hike, then Macomb County and Macomb Township are stuck with that tax even if Macomb County and Macomb Township voters reject it. We'll be stuck paying for a new bureaucracy that Macomb voters will benefit very little from. Our area needs resources for local road maintenance and repair, not more bus funding and that will be my priority.
Excellent idea. Required use of police body cameras protects police officers trying to do their jobs correctly and professionally and also help ensure citizens have protection against those very few police officers who abuse their authority.
Yes - for adults. Money spent arresting and jailing marijuana smokers should instead be spent better investigating and prosecuting those who rape, steal, assault or kill citizens. One third of rapes go unsolved, as do too many murders. Resources are needed to protect citizens from truly dangerous criminals.
The County Board of Commissioners has little (if anything) to do with public education, which is administered and funded by the state and by local elected school boards.
Mostly, yes. Macomb County has, for decades, been a leader in allowing law-abiding citizen to obtain concealed weapons permits.Gun violence in Macomb County has decreased significantly since 1992 now that law abiding citizens have their Second Amendment rights respected.
Hey! You already asked this question up above!
Law abiding immigrants have been welcome in Macomb County since the County's founding. Federal immigration policy is a hot mess.
Take less of their money and resources from them by working to lower the County's tax rates. It is the least well-off that need to prioritize their families' difficult budgets. Yet, we take money from these families and give it to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the zoo, and other less-essential spending.
End the weak economic development bureaucracies that have taken hold at so many levels of government - including Macomb County. These bureaucracies specialize in snappy jargon, corporate welfare, and false promises.
See above answers relating to roads and mass transit. Re-prioritize mass transit taxes toward fixing local roads.
I do not plan on attending campaign events with any presidential nominee. Unless it is to protest against Hillary Clinton.
No. But I was once arrested for failure to pay a parking ticket issued to a giant pink pig statue on a trailer that I own as a campaign prop against big government. The pig statue was cited for being improperly parked in 2010. I forgot to pay the ticket and was later busted for it. Cost me $300 - and I'm still kinda miffed about it. That pig was NOT illegally parked!
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