Whitehall District Schools Board Vice-President Christopher Mahoney will be the only name on the Nov. 6 ballot for two, four-year seats on the district’s board of education.
However, two write-in candidates have made known their intention to run by filing with the Muskegon County Clerk. Write-in candidates have until Oct. 26 to register for the Nov. 6 election. The two write-in candidates are Rev. Douglas Milton Ogden and Andrew Fink. Fink has since encouraged voters to write in Ogden’s name.
On the ballot Nov. 6 there will be a blank space for one of the two school board positions. Anyone wishing to vote for a write-in must fill in the name in the square, and must also fill in the circle.
Local school districts have switched their board elections to the Nov. 6 ballot for the first time to comply with a new state elections law. Local districts in the Beacon delivery area - Montague, Whitehall, Reeths-Puffer - previously held elections in May.
Montague has three candidates for two trustee seats, including two incumbents, and Reeths-Puffer’s two incumbents have no ballot opposition.
Following are biographies and statements provided by the candidates.
Christopher Mahoney, age 35, lives in the City of Whitehall. He and his wife have two children who attend Whitehall school. Mahoney is a member of the City of Whitehall Planning Commission and is the current vice president on the Board of Education. He has an associate’s degree in criminal justice and served as a police officer for the City of Whitehall since 2000.
“If given the opportunity to continue to serve my community on the Board of Education, I have the following top two priorities: continue to look for areas of shared services between school districts and advocate for restored funding from the state for the education of our children.”
Douglas Milton Ogden
Rev. Douglas M. Ogden, 567 Holton Whitehall Road, is pastor of Lebanon Lutheran Church in Whitehall. He has an M.Div. in Theology degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary.
Ogden has also taught German and Spanish at Whitehall High School, Montague Middle School and at White Lake Community Library. He is a substitute teacher, youth luge coach, and has been on the Whitehall District Schools Crisis Team and on the Health & Sexuality Review Committee for the district.
He has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, White Lake Community Library board, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans West MI Chapter board, Boy Scouts of America and Chess Club.
“I look forward to the chance of supporting our excellent teachers, coaches and staff here in Whitehall, who continue to make sacrifices to mentor, encourage and challenge, and have given up a great deal for the profession they love.
I also value the relationships I’ve made with parents and students over 18 years in this community, teaching, learning and listening. Budgets are tricky right now, and the field of education is changing rapidly, but a once highly-regarded profession still deserves our deepest respect. Win or lose, I’d like to thank every teacher I ever had, from kindergarten on up.”
Born 1941 in Ypsilanti, Fink served in the US Air Force in Japan and Germany. He graduated from the U of M School of Business, BBA (1967), U of M Law School, JD cum Laude (1969). Fink practiced law in Oregon 1969-1974, Washington, DC (Dept of Interior) 1974-76, Stauffer Chemical Company, Westport CT, 1976-88. Private practice in Westport, CT 1988-2002.
Currently, he helps wife, Helen, operate a bed and breakfast in Whitehall, and is an adjunct teacher of American Government, Muskegon Community College.
Currently, Fink is vice-chair of the Muskegon County Republican Executive Committee, chairman of the City of Whitehall Planning Commission, member of Zoning Board of Appeals Whitehall, member of board of White Lake Fire Authority, secretary and past president Montague-Whitehall Rotary, past chairman of White Lake Senior Center. past president Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Muskegon.
“I became a write-in candidate for the school board to ensure that there was one. I always intended to withdraw if another suitable candidate appeared. Doug Ogden is a fine man and will serve us well on the school board. I urge all who might have voted for me to write in his name, not mine.”
There are two seats up for election on the Montague Area Public School board. Each term is four years and will expire in 2016. Both incumbents, Blair Moreau and Wanda Lee Suits have filed along with new-comer Michael Moore II.
Blair Moreau is married to Amy Moreau and they have three children. He has been employed at Mercy Health Partners for 25 years and is currently the Director of Heart and Vascular Services. He received his master of science degree in administration from Central Michigan University in exercise physiology and is certified with the American College of Sports Medicine as a certified clinical exercise specialist. One of Moreau’s top issues, if elected, is relationship building. He feels that by strengthening the relationship and focusing on people the district will experience greater quality, finances, service and growth. His second issue is communication. Moreau said that as a school board member it is his responsibility to ensure the lines of communication are open to all MAPS community members.
Wanda Lee Suits
Wanda Lee Suits is the current president of the MAPS board. She was fist elected to the board in 1988. Suits completed her education and training to become an RN while her own children were attending Montague High School. She presides over each meeting of the board.
Michael Moore II
Michael Moore II is currently employed by West Shore Community College as director of the recreation department. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education leadership from Central Michigan University. Moore’s top priorities if elected would be to make himself familiar with the school district’s operations and financials and he also plans to make school finances a top priority.
Reeths-Puffer School board has two spots up for re-election. Each term lasts six years. Both incumbents, Mary Schaab and Kathy Zahl, have filed.