COUNTY COMMISSION - 11TH DISTRICT

September 28, 2018

 

ANN ERIKSON GAULT

Democrat

 

Erikson Gault is an attorney who lives in Troy. She received her bachelor's degree from Manchester College, and her law degree from University of Toledo. She has served on the Women's Commission for Oakland County.

 

REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY

 

After failing in 2016 by only one percent in Oakland County, there is a new regional transit plan proposed for the November ballot. Do you think a regional transit millage proposal should go on the ballot for all Oakland County communities? Why or why not? Should some Oakland County communities be allowed to opt out?

 

The patchwork system of transit in metro Detroit fails the people who need it most. No one should have to sit on a bus for two hours to get to work. We need to unify the existing system so that working people and seniors have safe, reliable transportation. A unified system would bring opportunities for economic expansion and job growth. We should also reconsider whether some communities should be able to opt out of the SMART system or any future transit system. Instead of allowing opt outs, we should build a system that benefits all communities. As for as the regional transit ballot proposal, I am generally in favor of allowing the people to vote and would not oppose putting it on the ballot. As the Michigan Constitution states, all political power is inherent in the people, and our elected officials should not be standing in the way.

 

ROAD IMPROVEMENTS​

 

Oakland County receives a limited amount of money – although increased from previous years – from  the state for road construction. Do you think the county, either by itself or in cooperation with neighboring counties in southeast Michigan, should pursue a millage or a dedicated gas tax strictly for road repairs?

 

A county as prosperous as Oakland should not have crumbling roads. Oakland County has a $900 million budget but spends less than one percent of that on roads and relies solely on the limited funding the Road Commission for Oakland County receives from the state. Before we consider increasing taxes, we should examine whether we can reallocate the existing revenue to road repair and construction. As a county commissioner, I will work to increase funding for roads and other infrastructure.

 

IMPROVEMENTS TO THE COUNTY

 

Oakland County is once again the top-rated county in the state, with AAA-ratings and a 3.6 percent unemployment rate. The county has created a number of focused development efforts, such as Automation Alley. Do you think there are other concerted efforts the county should be launching at this time?

 

The key to sustaining economic growth is an educated, well-trained workforce. If we have workers with the skills that industry needs, new business will locate here. We can create that workforce by two means: maintaining high quality public education and promoting training in skilled trades. For example, trade unions already have apprenticeship programs in place to train people to perform well-paid jobs that are in demand. Oakland County can do more to promote those existing programs and, as county commissioner, I will make this a priority.

 

MENTAL HEALTH​

 

According to experts, teens and young adults are experiencing mental crises, with rising suicide rates. Hospitals are experiencing larger influxes of mental health patients. What should the county mental health division be doing to address this issue? Is there anything the county board of commissioners should be doing to address this issue?

 

This issue is personal to me as I have witnessed friends and family who battled depression. The county has good programs in place to help those who struggle with mental health, but we could be doing more to increase public awareness of the problem and the available services. The Board of Commissioners can shine a light on the issues by creating or expanding public awareness campaigns, especially in the schools, to make sure that all children know they are not alone and where to get help.

 

REGIONAL COOPERATION​

 

Do you feel Oakland County is doing all it can to be a strong partner  in the southeast Michigan region as it applies to the issue of regional cooperation?

 

Oakland County is not an island, despite what some county leaders may think. When the region prospers, we prosper too. Oakland County should work with all of southeast Michigan to invest in our early education systems and preschool, increase access to healthcare in our communities, repair and update our infrastructure, and make sure that everyone, especially woman, have a seat at the table in business and government.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

 

Oakland County is the home to hundreds of inland lakes and sits at the headwaters of six major rivers feeding the state’s waterways. Should the county be taking a stronger role in protecting the environment through a more aggressive approach with ordinances regulating items and activities that threaten our natural resources?

 

We are the stewards of our environment and if we fail to conserve and protect our natural resources, we do so at our own peril. The Board of Commissioners should keep a close rein on activities that threaten our environment such as fracking. While we should not unnecessarily interfere with a property owner’s rights, we have to ensure that activity on private property does not adversely impact public lands and resources. Oakland County should also be investigating the emerging problem of PFAS by identifying any contamination and working with state and federal authorities to remediate pollutants.

 

WHY YOU

 

Why should a voter choose you over an opponent on the ballot?

 

Too many elected officials today lack integrity and the courage to do what is right. I will advocate for my community, as I did when I fought the city of Troy to release information on our former city manager. Transparency and accountability will be keystones of my work as county commissioner. I will also communicate with my constituents so they know what the commissioners are doing and I know what issues matter to them. I have demonstrated my commitment to communication by personally knocking hundreds of doors in the district. A voter I met recently told me that he has never heard from his county commissioner. That will change if I am elected. Last but not least, I will do what the voters are telling me is badly needed: I will bring new leadership and new ideas to county government to move our workforce and economy into the future.

 

 

THOMAS E. KUHN

Republican

 

Kuhn is an attorney who lives in Troy. He received his bachelor’s degree at University of Michigan, masters and PhD from University of Toronto, and JD from Detroit College of Law. He was an Oakland Community College trustee from 2004-2016; Royal Oak City Commissioner, 1989-2001; and served on the Royal Oak Plan Commission and Plan Steering committee.

 

REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY

 

After failing in 2016 by only one percent in Oakland County, there is a new regional transit plan proposed for the November ballot. Do you think a regional transit millage proposal should go on the ballot for all Oakland County communities? Why or why not? Should some Oakland County communities be allowed to opt out?

 

Rochester Hills taxpayers should not be required to pay for the proposed new regional transit tax. If other communities believe that the regional transit plan will benefit them, then, of course, they should have the opportunity to tax themselves if they so choose. As county commissioner, I will work hard to exclude communities such as Rochester Hills from paying for any regional tax proposal which doesn’t benefit them. For me, it’s really just a matter of fairness.  The proposed cost to Rochester Hills taxpayers far exceeds any benefit. 

 

ROAD IMPROVEMENTS

 

Oakland County receives a limited amount of money – although increased from previous years – from  the state for road construction. Do you think the county, either by itself or in cooperation with neighboring counties in southeast Michigan, should pursue a millage or a dedicated gas tax strictly for road repairs?

 

I oppose adding a new county road tax on top of the existing state and federal road taxes. As county commissioner, I will however make sure county participation in joint projects with Rochester Hills to prioritize maintenance and improvement of those county roads which have been neglected, such as Hamlin, Adams and Livernois.  

 

IMPROVEMENTS TO THE COUNTY

 

Oakland County is once again the top-rated county in the state, with AAA-ratings and a 3.6 percent unemployment rate. The county has created a number of focused development efforts, such as Automation Alley. Do you think there are other concerted efforts the county should be launching at this time?

 

As a trustee at Oakland Community College for 12 years, I believe technology and information sharing between Oakland County and local governments and schools is a critical concerted effort needed. The county has significant resources and information which should be shared with our local governments and schools. In addition, the existing programs to encourage training and new economic investments should be expanded. I support funding for the Auburn Road corridor, upon which the city of Rochester Hills has focused attention.

 

MENTAL HEALTH

 

According to experts, teens and young adults are experiencing mental crises, with rising suicide rates. Hospitals are experiencing larger influxes of mental health patients. What should the county mental health division be doing to address this issue? Is there anything the county board of commissioners should be doing to address this issue?

 

The county needs to fix Children’s Village to assure better outcomes for troubled children in our community. The first step should be setting up a task force of community volunteers involved with Youth Assistance and similar volunteer groups, along with business, non-profit and school leaders to look at Childrens Village’s current operations, to evaluate their effectiveness and to propose improvements. We should encourage public-private cooperation to address this serious concern.   

 

REGIONAL COOPERATION

 

Do you feel Oakland County is doing all it can to be a strong partner  in the southeast Michigan region as it applies to the issue of regional cooperation?

 

Did not respond.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

 

Oakland County is the home to hundreds of inland lakes and sits at the headwaters of six major rivers feeding the state’s waterways. Should the county be taking a stronger role in protecting the environment through a more aggressive approach with ordinances regulating items and activities that threaten our natural resources?

 

For the past seven years, I have been lakes chair of our homeowners association, which includes six lakes and one stream. In that capacity, I have experienced repeated issues with the county’s Water Resources Commission, which has failed to step up and cooperate with groups interested in promoting protection and improvement of our waterways. Oakland County needs to assure less bureaucracy, less red tape and more innovation in addressing the needs of our lakes and streams. In particular, the county needs to work with volunteer and community groups to promote increased joint public-private projects. 

 

WHY YOU

 

Why should a voter choose you over an opponent on the ballot?

 

I have extensive experience in local government. I spent 12 years as an elected trustee for Oakland Community College and, before that, 12 years as an elected member of city council. I have also been an appointed member of the City Plan Commission and City Master Plan Steering Committee.  For the past seven years, I have served on my neighborhood homeowners association. I am committed to representing the needs and views of the citizens of Rochester Hills. I will work to assure efficient and fiscally responsible government geared to providing the best services without new taxes. I support our local law enforcement, including improved technology, staffing and infrastructure for the County Sheriff. I also support new and expanded business opportunity in the county. The most important reason a voter should choose me over my opponent, however, is my demonstrated commitment to integrity, service and family.

 

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