Oakland County Executive/Republicans

July 13, 2020

MICHAEL KOWALL


Kowall resides in White Lake and attended Oakland Community College and served a five-year carpenter apprenticeship. He was White Lake Township Supervisor from 2004-2010, State Representative from 1999-2003, State Senator from 2011-2019 and served as Senate Majority Floor Leader from 2015-2019.

STRUCTURE OF THE OFFICE

While the structure is similar to that of L. Brooks Patterson, the assignments are different. I would better align the talents and expertise of each deputy executive, and spread out the responsibilities more equitably.  Economic Development, Finance and IT are separate  disciplines. I would also maintain department directors/managers to run the operations of each department and reserve deputy executives for the larger issues such as overall oversight, developing policy and planning the future direction of the county. Such realignments would be budget neutral.

EXECUTIVE VETO POWER

Yes. Not only is this costly to the taxpayers, they now have another day in November when they can’t access county departments or services.  We already have Veterans’ Day on November 11th and then Thanksgiving Day weekend towards the end of November, and now an “Election Day” holiday.

REGIONAL OUTLOOK

Anyone elected to an Oakland County office – be it countywide or county commissioners – should put the interests of Oakland County people, who they represent, first. I think Brooks had the right philosophy when he stated, “If it benefits the region and it’s good for Oakland County, I’ll support it. If it benefits the region and is neutral for Oakland County, I’ll support it. If it benefits some in the region, but hurts Oakland County, I will oppose it.”  Oakland County takes a bad rap for supposedly not being regional. We launched Automation Alley and the Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information Systems (CLEMIS), we helped to support and grow these initiatives well past our county’s borders to the benefit of the region and beyond.  We came together with the region to establish the Cobo Hall (now FCS) Authority and the SMART/DDOT system. We come to the table as active members of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), and the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA).  We offer our eGovernment services and expertise to many local governments in Oakland County, the region and throughout the state.

MASS TRANSIT

I think you pretty much said it all.  I do support the efforts by local government to establish transportation systems and authorities. These work for the areas they serve and  could be expanded upon as needed. If there is to be any consideration of mass transit in  the future, all parts of the county must be included in the development of a plan, including  meaningful input as to the service and taxation aspects of such a plan. I believe in local  control and no local governments should be forced into a system they don’t want or benefit from.

WHY VOTE FOR YOU

As a state representative and a state senator, I was a cheerleader for Oakland County and always kept the county uppermost in mind during policy and budgetary decisions. During my tenure in the legislature, I served in many leadership roles and came up with creative solutions for complicated problems. I have successfully taken on many difficult legislative issues, such as the autonomous vehicle bills I spearheaded.  I stepped in to help out with controversial scrap metal legislation, bringing all parties together to enact responsible, sensible laws curtailing the problem of metal theft. I currently maintain many relationships within state government that will be beneficial to Oakland County. As White Lake Township Supervisor, I brought $95 million worth of new development to our township during the Great Recession. I worked collaboratively and have developed good relationships with most of Oakland County’s local elected officials and continue to do so, especially when we encounter an issue that unites us.  I believe that in order to make Oakland County strong, we need to recognize and consider the input of each city, village and township in our county.

JEFFREY NUTT

 
Nutt lives in Troy and has an undergraduate degree from Oral Roberts University, was a Fullbright Scholar and obtained his law degree from American University. He has spent time working in the U.S. Supreme Court, in U.S. Senate offices and the U.S. State Department.

STRUCTURE OF THE OFFICE

To say the basic structure remained the same after L. Brooks Patterson defies common sense. The number of top executives increased after Brooks left by 50 percent. That is an increase from two to three C-Level executives. To save time and expense, using the best digital meeting technology across the 10 major departments/units, I will flatten the organizational chart and use two deputy county executives – not four – one over finance and the other over operations. Finally, for the two C-Level executive positions to both be retained, I would expect one to also promote rapid economic growth with high paying jobs and the other, a world class education/ health care system, accessible by the very best transit.

EXECUTIVE VETO POWER

There are already 10 federal/county holidays for most county employees per year in addition to the five personal time off (PTO) days. By executive order, the county executive can encourage supervisors to grant staff one-two hours of modified work hours, resources permitting, on election day. This would obviate the need for the policy granting a day off on election day for all county employees. A veto was needed to assure that the other nearly 1.3 million county residents are not disadvantaged with reduced county services on election day. No-reason absentee voting can be a practical alternative to the policy approved by the narrowest of margins that did nothing to enhance the effectiveness or efficiency of county government but instead shifted the burden of coping with reduced county service to more than a million residents who do not have the luxury of a paid day off for election day.

REGIONAL OUTLOOK

In our world of increasingly interdependent communities, we can retain our independence while actively addressing regional issues through creating and building connections. Oakland County must be a leader, not a follower, promoting regional cooperation through sincere concern with practical support for the common good. Completing the nine-month competitive Regional Chamber Leadership Detroit XIX Training Program with a former Michigan governor engrained in me a deep desire to be sensitive and responsible to regional issues through sincere concern and practical support.

MASS TRANSIT

The question of mass transit is simplified when considering a) a new federal funding option and b) a new economy light rail design as distinguished from the Q-Line/M-1 street level design. I will demand a state law reform enabling Oakland County to draw down nearly $100 million in new transit funds we pay in federal taxes that are spent outside Michigan by using a new entity having no taxing power and no elected officials. We begin with two lines, e.g. north-south and east-west but unlike the M-1 design that takes longer to move a car from a rail than a train took to move a buffalo in in the 1870s, at great cost in time and expense, the best option is elevated or below ground rail. Atlanta started with two lines; Panama City, Panama built nearly 40 miles of elevated light rail in eight years.

WHY VOTE FOR YOU

Now is not the time for a career politician. Republicans question my opponent’s votes. A State Bar Champion of Justice, Trump supporter, Oxford Fulbright Scholar and Troy community activist with vast private, nonprofit, and public sector experience, I never raised your taxes. I led a multi-million dollar legal organization that served 50 local communities and more than 60 schools. I have overseen 100 professionals/ consultants and 20 finance departments. A lawyer, online dean and podcast host, I served individuals and businesses in Oakland County and 30 nations. Earlier, I served in all three branches of the federal government, including Chief Justice Warren Burger, two Senate offices, the U.S. State Department AID Environmental Affairs, and on the state level in Oakland County. A pro-family, pro-worker, pro-growth Republican married to an OB/GYN, I will fight as a voice for every unheard youth, family, senior, worker, business, school, and community.

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