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Independent Underground News and Talk's - Washtenaw County Candidates Endorsement List - August 2014 Primary

Photo Credit - Heritage Media
Voters in Washtenaw County will visit polls August 5, 2014, deciding on
contested races and state proposal issues.
On August 5th, voters in Washtenaw County and throughout Michigan will visit polls in Tuesday's Primary Election. Candidates vying for Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor City Mayor and City Council, Washtenaw County Commissioner, Probate and 22nd Circuit Court Judgeships, State House and Senate will be on the ballot.

Residents also will vote on a Michigan legislative sponsored initiative, Proposal 1 of 2014. The Proposal seeks to change Michigan's Constitution on how local municipalities governmental units receive taxable revenue from businesses in the state.

Sunday, July 24 in a Op/Ed, Independent Underground News & Talk (IUNT) recommended voters reject Proposal 1 of 2014. Details confirming our position on this issue, can be reviewed here.

As for some of Washtenaw County opposed candidate races on August 5, 2014, IUNT offers endorsements for following candidates:

Ann Arbor City Mayor - Sally Hart Petersen (D)

As a current City Council elected official, Ms. Hart Petersen campaign platform of supporting Ann
Photo Credit-
Candidate Sally Hart Petersen
Arbor small and medium size business with a clear economic development strategy is impressive.

Hart-Petersen on her candidacy website, confirms transformational vision she would use to improve city services, promote strong economic development bringing employment opportunities to Ann Arbor and increase revenue opportunities by crafting sound economic policies.
"My priorities as Mayor (include) responsible growth built upon prudent economic policy to improve neighborhood services," wrote Hart-Petersen on the candidates' website. 
"(An) economic policy development to transform revenue from new growth to better city services. Balancing redevelopment to attract new jobs, new talent and new industries and technology to our city, (along with) spearheading new operating systems in high-speed fiber optic technology to improve access and information flow."
Ann Arbor City Council Ward 2 - Kirk Westphal (D)

Photo Credit -
Candidate Kirk Westphal
Vying for his first term as an elected official in the County, Westphal's focus on neighborhood improvement, common-sense fiscal management and starting a citizens academy for Ann Arbor Residents can expand voices on governmental affairs, meets and exceed the entry test for a first term official if elected.

Westphal is equality committed to efforts for maintaining affordable housing to combat homelessness in the Ann Arbor Community.
"I am encouraged by council’s commitment to affordable housing, which will help many individuals who are emerging from homelessness," Westphal wrote, responding to a recent question about Homelessness from the League of Women Voters.
Ann Arbor City Council Ward 3 - Samuel McMullen (D)

While encouraging millennials to become involved in elected government, University of Michigan biochemistry student Samuel McMullen's campaign provides the spark to bring new voices into municipal affairs.

As a high school student, McMullen's website notes the City Council Ward 3 candidate attended Model United Nations conferences and received awarded highest honors twice, for his representation of Cuba and his leadership in a crisis simulation.

On issues, McCullen's clear understanding on how the roots of poverty connects to housing, employment insecurity and at times discrimination; along with the candidates' plan to place in the forefront these important issues if elected to the City Council, led to IUNT's endorsement.
"Often, unhoused persons who apply for jobs are at a distinct disadvantage: they have no address to put on their application. I support an ordinance preventing employers from discriminating against applicants simply because of their transient status unless they can show that it is necessary to have a home to properly do the job," wrote McMullen.

"Of course, employers have a right to decide who works for them up to a point. But unhoused applicants are no less able to to do a job because they have no house than because of issues like skin color and sexual orientation, discrimination based upon which we do not allow."
Ypsilanti City Mayor - Tyrone Bridges (D)

Richly abreast with the City of Ypsilanti past, present and future, Tyrone Bridges has the unique
Photo Credit - Heritage Media
Candidate Tyrone Bridges
perspective required to blend a host of life experiences, to effectively balance the needs of all of Ypsilanti’s residents despite any economic barriers.

Candidate Bridges willingness to network with Ypsilanti’s rich history of community organizations, religious leaders, political officials, business owners and non-profit sectors led to his appointment on the City of Ypsilanti Human Rights Commission.

With a clear vision of integration of Ypsilanti's Youth, Minority, Business and Faith based Communities and residents; Bridges would use an proven teamwork approach to enact his governmental vision as Mayor.
“I will work with as many people as I can that want to bring the city up together, everybody. Not just a certain class, all people,” Bridges said to Heritage Media on May 5.

“I have no intent to do anything but help this city grow. This city needs a leader that is in touch because everybody’s skills are needed… The downtown and this city cannot be vibrant without its poorest neighborhoods thriving.”
Constance Jones and Tracy Van den Bergh - (Non-Partisan) Washtenaw County Probate Court

Photo Credit
Candidate Tracy Van den Bergh
One Judge for the seat long-term Washtenaw County Probate Judge Honorable Judge Nancy Francis retired, will ultimately be
chosen by Washtenaw County voters.

IUNT endorses Attorneys Constance Jones and Tracy Van den Bergh as the two candidates for continue their candidacies until the upcoming November 4, 2014 General Election.

Van den Bergh currently works as an attorney for Legal Services of South Central Michigan where she provides comprehensive legal representation for low income Washtenaw County residents.

One of the most impressive aspects Attorney's Van den Bergh quest for the Probate Court position, was her clear explanation of the importance of knowing why a judicial candidate seeks to hold a judgeship position.

                                           Video Courtesy: Van den Bergh Committee

Photo Credit - Jones For
Attorney Constance "Connie" Jones experience practicing probate law in Washtenaw County and as a lifetime resident of the area, sets her at near the top of five candidates seeking to win the Probate Court

Jones previous positions include working for United Auto Workers-General Motors Legal Services prior to opening her own practice in 1993. She also worked for Ozone House, a homeless shelter for youth, and volunteers in the LGBTQ community.

Facebook supporter Sally Fink description for Attorney Jones quest to fill retired Judge Nancy Francis former seat speaks volume on why IURL endorses Jones' candidacy.
"Connie will be an outstanding probate court judge," Fink wrote on July 12. "She has the most experience in probate and family court, is knowledgeable, dedicated and has a great deal of compassion and empathy for people with disabilities. She has been a long-standing member of our community."
Veronique Liem (Non-Partisan) Washtenaw County 22nd Circuit Court 

Candidate Veronique Liem
Seeking to fill seat long held by retiring Washtenaw County Circuit Court Donald Shelton, Attorney Veronique Liem receives IUNT's endorsement as candidate for August 5 Primary, and November 4 General election to fill this important judicial role.

As a naturalized American citizen living in the Washtenaw County community for over 40 years, Liem's legal Counselor experience as a family law attorney, commercial and civil case litigator, arbitrator and mediator, as well as in management and finance, Liem holds an Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) and J.D. degrees from the University of Michigan.

IUNT believes Liem's vast experience in the legal arena, prepares her to handle the complexities of cases adjudicated before the Circuit Court.
"Veronique is an outstanding attorney and a dedicated community activist," wrote Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge Carol Kuhnke, who was elected in 2012.  Her (Liem's) relevant experience in family law makes her the ideal candidate for this circuit court seat. I encourage the residents of Washtenaw County to vote for Veronique Liem."
Appearing as a guest on IUNT's, Independent Underground Radio LIVE program April 15, Attorney Liem described in detail the type of jurisprudence she would use if elected to the position.

Candidate Wilma Gold-Jones
Wilma Gold-Jones (D) - Washtenaw County Commissioner - District 5

There are many qualified candidates in this race for this important seat recently held long-term Commissioner for Washtenaw County 5th District, Rolland Sizemore.

While determining which candidate our resource would support, IUNT had the unique opportunity to observe Ms. Gold-Jones speak with resident of Ypsilanti Township's West Willow Community, detailing how she would represent voters in District 5, if elected.

Ms. Gold-Jones explained upon the core values and weighting priniciples she would use to make important decisions, while keeping first in mind the economic challenges the area currently face.

However, Ms. Gold-Jones volunteerism in the areas of minority voter engagement and resignation, spearheading various youth initiatives and along with her willingness to mentor aspiring African-American political leaders was key deciding factors for IUNT strong endorsement for Gold-Jones quest for Washtenaw County Commissioner District 5 position.
"As a County Commissioner, I will work to strengthen and engage county citizens. Work collaboratively with the other elected commissioners and county employees to provide timely and accurate information to the constituents in District 5," Ms. Gold-Jones wrote on the candidates' website.

(Furthermore I will), work to increase knowledge of issues facing this community, such as budget deficit elimination plans, public safety, public health, education support services, transportation and environmental safety."

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