Primary election results

Joanna VanRaaphorst, husband Paul and children Claire and Max.

Incumbents ousted in Oakland Township

Voters in Oakland Township turned against incumbents on the township’s Board of Trustees in Tuesday’s election. Come fall, five of the seven members of the board will be newcomers.

Only incumbent trustees Michael Bailey and Sharon McKay retained their seats. The new supervisor is Terry Gonser; the clerk is Karen Reilly; treasurer is Jeanne Langlois, and the two new trustees are Maureen Thalmann and Judy Keyes. All are Republicans; no Democratic candidates ran in the primary.

Voters even unseated a couple of incumbents on the parks commission. The winners in that contest were Colleen Barkham, who finished first, followed by Ann Marie Rogers, Alice Tomboulian, David Mackley, Roger Schmidt, Joseph Peruzzi and Andy Zale.

Turnout was 31 percent. Voters approved a renewal of the historic district commission’s operating millage by a wide margin, 2,410-1,233.

Four years ago, the incumbents were challenged by candidates running against further development of the township.  Supervisor Joan Fogler survived a strong challenge to win her second term. This year, things went the other way, and it appears that another development proposal, this one called Blossom Ridge, may have been behind voter discontent. Gonser, Reilly, Langlois, Thalmann and Keyes campaigned on a platform of responsible growth and/or private property rights.

“This was definitely an interesting and hard fought election,” said resident Craig Blust, who had endorsed a mixture of newcomers and incumbents. “I want to congratulate all of those that were elected. Based on the amount of energy and time that the candidates put into this election, I know they must care about our township. It is my hope that all that were elected will truly represent all the residents and land owners of our township as elected public servants and not politicians.

“I was sad to see that two incumbents that ran a clean campaign and have worked hard for the township and the residents, Judy Workings and Kathy Thomas did not get re-elected. Both of these ladies know that I will always be happy to save them a seat in the audience when attending the BOT and township meetings. I am sure their involvement in the township as citizens will certainly continue.”

Gonser is a retired General Motors engineering manager and an entrepreneur who grew up in the township. Reilly is a 12-year resident who has administrative experience. Langlois has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and experience in the banking industry. Thalmann is a historian and writer. Keyes is a business owner and member of her homeowner’s association board.

Rochester Hills voters OK police millage

In Rochester Hills, where turnout was 25 percent, voters approved a reworking of the way the city funds police services. By a nearly 69-30 percent margin, voters renewed two expiring police millages and up to 2.5 mills additional for law enforcement. In doing so, they indicated they understood the unusual proposal and trusted city council to keep a promise to reduce general-fund expenditures by an amount equivalent to whatever new police millage is levied. Council expressed its intention to do so through a resolution.

The vote was 9,047 yes, 3,916 no.

VanRaaphorst leader in Democratic state House race

In the race for the 45th District state House seat, Oakland Township Democrat JoAnne VanRaaphorst won the right to face incumbent Republican Tom McMillin in November.

VanRaaphorst won big in Tuesday’s primary against two other Democrats. Calling herself a moderate, she said she’s up for the challenge and knows it won’t be easy.

“I’m honored, I’m humbled and I’m very encouraged,” she said. “I’m not running against Tom because he’s a Republican. I just don’t think he’s doing a good enough job.”

VanRaaphorst, who co-owns a dental practice with her husband, said she will seek the middle ground and believes most of the district occupies that part of the political spectrum.

“I see within our community critical thinkers,” she said. “Compromise is not a bad word.”

In her first try for elective office, VanRaaphorst said she knocked on a lot of doors, even using her mountain bike to visit neighborhoods in Oakland Township.

“Tom McMillin will outspend me, but it’s out-of-county money,” she said. “I’m going to out-grassroots him.” She said she’ll focus on public education, where she and McMillin have sharply differing views.

Locals like DIA

Voters in Oakland Township, Rochester and Rochester Hills all gave majority ‘yes’ votes to a new tax to support the Detroit Institute of Arts. In Oakland  Township, the vote was 1,874-1,753; in Rochester, 1,336-651; in Rochester Hills, 7,776-5,182.

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